Christmas log cake

log cake

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 50g caster sugar

Ingredients for the icing:

  • 175g dark chocolate (chopped)
  • 200g Icing sugar
  • 225g butter (soft)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract/ 1tsp is sufficient


1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a 30x20cm swiss roll tin (or I just used a shallow and wide baking tin) and line the base with greaseproof paper.

2. Whisk the egg yolks until fuffly. Sprinkle over the soft brown sugar, breaking up any lumps, and whisk until you have a thick mixture. Meanwhile, sift together the cooca powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg, then whisk them into the egg yolk mixture.

3. In a clean bowl, whip up the egg whites to soft peaks, then fold 1/3 into the rest of the mixture to lighten it. Then fold the rest of of the egg whites in. Pour this into the tin, spread out evenly, and bake for about 30 minutes until cooked and bouncy.

4. When the roll is cooked, run a knife around the edges, then shake it out onto greaseproof paper. Peel off the lining paper, and then roll it up tightly and leave to cool on the rack. Note: It is important to roll it when the cake is still warm. Otherwise the cake will crack.

5. To make the icing, melt the chocolate – either in a heatproof bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water or in a microwave following the manufacturer’s guidelines – and let it cool.

6. Sift the icing sugar in a bowl. Add the butter and cream until smooth. Add the cooled, melted chocolate and the tablespoon of vanilla extract and pulse again to make a smooth icing.

7. Sit the flat chocolate cake on a large piece of baking parchment. Trim the edges of the Swiss roll. Spread some of the icing thinly over the sponge, going right out to the edges. Start rolling from the long side facing you, taking care to get a tight roll from the beginning, and roll up to the other side.

8. Cut one or both ends slightly at a gentle angle, reserving the remnants, and place the Swiss roll on a board or long dish. The remnants, along with the trimmed-off bits earlier, are to make a branch or two; you get the effect by placing a piece of cake at an angle to look like a branch coming off the big log.

9. Spread the log with the remaining icing, covering the cut-off ends as well as any branches. Create a wood-like texture by marking along the length of the log with a skewer or somesuch, remembering to do wibbly circles, as in tree rings, on each end.

10. Dust with icing sugar for the fallen snow effect and add any decorations you wish.

Note: The cake could do with slightly more icing.

Recipe adapted from and


Cantonese egg tarts

Egg tarts

Ingredients of crust:

  • 225 gm plain flour
  • 125 gm butter
  • 55 gm icing sugar
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • a dash vanilla extract

Ingredients of custard::

  • 3 eggs
  • 110 gm caster sugar
  • 225 gm hot water
  • 85 gm evaporated milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Method (making crust):

  • Place butter at room temperature until softened. Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer over medium speed until the mixture is smooth, fluffy and light in color.
  • Add in whisked egg, half at a time, beat over low speed. Add vanilla extract, mix well.
  • Sift in flour in two batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions with a spatula, and make sure all ingredients combine well. Knead into dough. (see picture)
  • Roll out the dough to a 1/2 cm thickness. Cut dough with a cookie cutter that is just a bit smaller than your tart tin in size. Line dough in the middle of tart tins, one by one. Lightly press the dough with your thumbs, starting from the bottom then up to the sides. While pressing the dough, turn the tart tin clockwise/anti-clockwise in order to make an even tart shell. Trim away any excess dough.
Method (making custard):

  • Add sugar into hot water, mix until completely dissolved.
  • Whisk egg with evaporated milk. Pour in sugar water. Mix well.
  • Sift egg mixture to get rid of any foam into a tea pot. Carefully pour egg mixture into each tart shell.

Method (baking tarts):

  • Preheat oven to 200C. Position rack in lower third of oven. Bake tarts for 10 to 15 minutes until the edges are lightly brown.
  • Lower the heat to 180C. Keep an eye on them. Once you see the custard being puffed up a bit, pull the oven door open about 2 to 3 inches. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or longer until the custard is cooked through. Just insert a toothpick into the custard to taste for doneness. Check also that the bottom of the crust is hard and cooked.
  • This recipe gives slightly more custard (~1.5 tarts more) than required for 12 egg tarts baked in a 12-hole muffin tray. I will try reducing the amount of custard next time.