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.