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Holiday Recipe Guest Post and Giveaway with Author Belle Calhoune, author of Reunited at Christmas

 

 

 

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About Reunited at Christmas:  Two years after the avalanche everyone thought had claimed her life, Ruby Prescott returns to the remote Alaskan town of Love. And no one is more ecstatic than her husband, Liam, and their young son. Even if amnesia has robbed Ruby of her memories, she’s soon woven back into the fabric of their lives. As they celebrate the holiday season, Ruby is falling head over heels for the man she’s told was the love of her life. But she can’t escape the feeling that there’s something Liam is keeping a secret. Will the return of her memories tear them apart for good—or will this be a Christmas she’ll never forget?

 

 

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Buche de Noel (French Christmas cake)

A recipe guest post by author Belle Calhoune

 

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.  Beautifully wrapped presents nestled under the Christmas tree.  Holiday music floating through the air.  The spirit of Christmas is everywhere!  It is the most wonderful time of the year.

Buche de Noel—a French Christmas cake—holds a special place in my heart during the holidays.

My Aunt Josephine was a legendary baker.  She grew up with my grandmother on the tiny island of Montserrat in the Caribbean before moving to Boston with the rest of her family.  My four siblings and I loved visiting Aunt Jo in the heart of Boston.  She loved to bake for us and there was always plenty of treats for our family to enjoy.  Cakes.  Cookies.  Fudge.  She could do it all.

When Aunt Jo discovered I was a Francophile and was going to France with my high school class for six weeks, she was thrilled.  She then invited me over to her apartment to make a French Christmas cake.  She called it Buche de Noel.  Aunt Jo had traveled to France herself and knew how to speak French.  I’ll admit it, I had no idea what French holiday cake she was talking about, and most likely I didn’t really care.  After all, I loved eating her treats, not making them.

But, what I learned that day and can’t ever forget, is that baking for the people in your life is an act of love.  Baking side by side with someone during the most joyful time of the year is a bonding experience.  It is the art of creating memories you won’t ever forget.

Although Aunt Jo has been gone for a long time now, I make Buche de Noel almost every Christmas as a tribute to her love and generosity.  It doesn’t hurt that I absolutely adore chocolate!

Buche de Noel is a Christmas favorite of mine.  It reminds me of my great Aunt Jo, who instilled in me a love of baking and the spirit of giving.  She loved her family unconditionally and supported all of our dreams.  She wasn’t just teaching me how to bake.  She was sharing with me a beloved recipe and bonding with me over our shared love of all things French.  Whenever I make Buche de Noel I enlist the help of my two daughters and I try to instill in them the same feeling of wonder my Aunt Jo gave me in the days leading up to Christmas.  And perhaps they too will make Buche de Noel for their children and make it a family holiday tradition.

Wishing everyone the happiest of holidays in the presence of your loved ones.

 

Buche de Noel recipe  

Ingredients:

For pan:

Butter and small amount of flour

 

For sponge cake:

1/4th cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons of cornstarch

⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs

3 large egg yolks

2 large egg whites

 

Additional 1 Tablespoon of sugar for egg white mixture

 

Filling Ingredients:

½ teaspoon vanilla

1cup heavy cream (cold)

3 Tablespoons of sugar

1tablespoon sour cream

 

Chocolate shavings and powdered sugar for top of cake

 

Heat oven to 425° F.

Butter a 17 X 12  jelly roll pan or baking pan and line with parchment paper.

Butter the parchment paper liberally so it doesn’t stick.  Sprinkle with flour to  avoid sticking when sponge cake cooks.

 

Whisk together the flour, cornstarch cocoa, cinnamon and salt  in a small bowl.

Beat the egg yolks, and two of the eggs, vanilla, and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a bowl

with an electric mixer on medium for several minutes.

Beat on high until the mixture is fluffy and light in color.

Fold in half of the flour mixture, then continue to beat.  Gradually fold in the remainder of the flour mixture and continue to beat the mixture.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites on medium-high until whipped, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 Tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes more.  Pour this egg white mixture into the larger bowl of ingredients.

Once the contents of the bowl are stirred, pour the mixture into your pan, smoothing the surface so it’s even.

Place pan in oven and cook for approximately 8 to 9 minutes.  Check to see if  it’s done and if the cake springs back it should be ready.  You can also insert a  toothpick in the center.  If it comes out clean it’s ready.

(Filling) Whip the heavy cream, sour cream, vanilla and 3 tablespoons of sugar in a medium bowl for three minutes.  Then place mixture in fridge.

Once the cake has been taken out of the oven take a knife and slide it along all sides to loosen.  Place a clean kitchen towel on top of the pan.  Then flip the pan over and pat bottom of pan until cake comes out.

Now peel the parchment paper away from the bottom of the cake.  It should easily peel away.  Now sprinkle powdered sugar with a sifter over cake.  Using the end of the kitchen towel, begin to roll the cake up in the towel so it is in the shape of a log.

Leave the cake in the towel for about 45 minutes until it cools.

Unroll the cake from the towel so it lies flat.  Then spread out the cream filling in an even manner.  Spread lightly toward the edges to prevent mixture oozes from the ends.  Then roll the cake back up tightly and place on a serving dish, seam side down.Frost cake with desired chocolate icing and place chocolate shavings and powdered sugar on top if desired.

 

Thanks so much for stopping by with this great recipe, Belle! ~Jillian 

 

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About author Belle Calhoune: Belle Calhoune was born and raised in Massachusetts, one of five children. The daughter of a Physician and a Biologist, Belle found herself entranced by the literary world. Growing up across the street from a public library fed her hunger for books, particularly romance novels and mysteries. After graduating from Syracuse University, Belle worked as a Federal Investigator in Boston. After the birth of her youngest child, she and her college sweetheart husband moved to Connecticut, where they now reside with their two daughters, a loveable chocolate lab and a very spoiled poodle. Being an author is her dream job.

 

 

Comments

  1. kathy valentine says:

    great giveaway!! shared on all my socials

  2. Thanks so much for allowing me to share a Christmas memory and recipe. Blessings.

  3. What a pretty centerpiece that would make!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  4. That looks truly amazing!

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