Raspberry and Lychee Chocolate Log

chocolate raspberry log

I’ve been threatening to translate this recipe from the original French for a while now, and so here it is. This is the third year I’ve made this delicious dessert for Christmas, although let it be known that it can be done for any special occasion and no one will think ‘why is there a Christmas dessert on the table?’ even if it’s in the middle of summer.

This recipe may look impressive but it is in fact very easy to make. The cake itself only takes 10 minutes to bake and is then filled and covered with chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate.

Raspberry and Lychee Chocolate Log

  • Serves 10 people
  • Preparation: 25 mins
  • Cooking time: 15 mins
  • Resting time: 1 hour for the chocolate ganache to set

Ingredients

cake ingredients

For the cake:

  • 4 eggs
  • 100 g sugar
  • 100 g flour, sifted
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the chocolate ganache:

  • 200 g dark chocolate (ideally around 70%)
  • 100 mls double cream
  • a handful of raspberries, chopped (I used frozen raspberries from the supermarket) plus four whole raspberries for decoration
  • a handful of lychees, chopped (most supermarkets have them in tins)

For the chocolate icing:

  • 100 g dark chocolate (again, 70% is preferable)
  • 50 mls double cream
  • 25 g glucose (for the shine)

or if you don’t have glucose (like me)

  • 100 g dark chocolate
  • 100 mls double cream

Method

1. Prepare the chocolate ganache:

  • Bring the double cream to the boil then take off the heat and incorporate the chocolate broken into pieces. Leave it to melt for about 5 minutes and mix well.
  • Once it has completely melted, add pieces of raspberry and lychee to the mixture, gently mix together, and keep aside in the fridge.

chocolate ganache

2. Make the cake:

  • Pre-heat the oven at 200°C.
  • Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Beat the yolks with the sugar until the mixture whitens, then slowly add the flour.
  • Beat the egg whites until they stiffen, then gently add them to the batter.
  • On a baking tray, lay some baking paper and spread the batter over it. Lay some raspberry pieces on top of the batter.
  • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes at 200°C (keep an eye on it as you don’t want it to burn).

Making the cake

3. As soon as the cake is out of the oven, lay the biscuit out on a damp towel and roll it to help it take shape.

Messy but effective

Messy but effective

4. Unroll the cake and spread the chocolate ganache.  Sprinkle lychee pieces on top before rolling the log.

2014-12-24 the messy stage

tastes better than it looks I promise!

5. The icing:

Melt the chocolate and cream together in a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water (also known as a bain-marie) and mix well. If you are using glucose, add it at the end away from the heat. Ice the log and decorate as you wish.

chocolate and raspberry log

Also worth a mention:
  • Lychees are not to everyone’s taste but they are actually non-essential to the success of this recipe. No one will be the wiser if you don’t put them in and you don’t need to adjust any quantities.
  • In summer, it also works very well with strawberries instead of raspberries.

I hope you like it!

A Year In The Life of Little Girl

I cannot believe that yesterday was Little Girl’s first birthday. Everybody tells you that years fly by when you have kids and they are not wrong!

The baby months have been incredibly precious and I have loved almost every minute of it. This, watching a baby turn into a little person in a matter of months, has at times felt like a momentous scientific experiment in which I was a mere spectator. The truth is, there is a part of me that let out a huge sigh of relief when I realised that she was going to learn new things and grow up without needing as much direction from me as I first thought. As a parent, you either really don’t have a clue what you’re doing, or have vague ideas of what you would like to do with your child, and I personally found it reassuring to know that she would learn to crawl, walk, talk, etc with only a bit of encouragement from me; that most babies instinctively learn these things.

And so here we are. I give you 12 months of Little Girl:

What a difference 12 months make!

To celebrate her birthday, we decided to have a picnic in the garden and invite friends and family rather than focus it on the children. So Saturday was as much about us having survived the first year as it was about her turning a milestone, and it was a relaxed (but heaving) affair. I figured that we would have plenty more opportunities for kids’ parties in the future and that she wouldn’t remember any of it anyway… I know, I’m a terrible parent!

In Britain, children’s parties are pretty full on: halls are hired, clowns and bouncy castles are bought in and party bags are given to each child; these bags tend to contain a piece of cake and a present. And here I was thinking the cake was going to be the highlight! Whilst I want my daughter to enjoy her parties, I feel intimidated by the cost and the work-intensive quality of English parties and I am reluctant to bow down to pressure to conform. I can always do it differently and blame it on being French! I do recall it being more easy-going in France, although it was such a long time ago it may well have changed since then. I went to a number of parties where the afternoon consisted of cake, face painting and playing hide-and-seek whilst the parents sat in the garden enjoying a cold glass of wine, and that sounds more like my kind of party if I’m honest!

In any case, it was a fantastic day. For one thing, it was the first day of good weather since May so we could sit in the garden, which was just as well because I had done a general invite on Facebook and loads of people came! Kids played in the garden and were given a small bag of Haribo sweets. We ate jacket potatoes with lots of fillings and more cake than is healthy. We had briefly toyed with the idea of a barbecue, but had the weather been bad, it would have been a disaster.

Then there was the cake. My plan was to make a chocolate cake filled with cherry jam and buttercream. This is the first attempt:

Cake Fail

On the list of cooking failures, this one had: a foolish attempt to double the recipe, a tin with no bottom and cheap chocolate. The result was a horrible goo swimming in butter and splattered at the bottom of the oven.

The second attempt used this amazing chocolate cake recipe and the buttercream from this one, swapping the vanilla essence with light cherry juice. At 11pm, the cake was finally cooked and the end result on the day was pretty good considering my lack of skills in the icing department.

Chocolate Birthday Cake

Need to practice handwriting a bit more

girl and chocolate cake

More cake! Now!

 

 

And so it was that Little Girl was one year old.