Charleston Wine + Food

‘Tis the season for cheer + treats! Enjoy a holiday classic with this Chocolate Caramel Yule Log recipe from Pastry Chefs Anne White and Elizabeth Skelton of Mercantile and Mash.



Meringue Mushrooms


4oz/120g whites, room temperature

2 Tbs cocoa powder + more for dusting

Pinch cream of tartar

3/4 cup/140g granulated sugar

1 cup/140g powdered sugar, sifted

1/4 cup Ghiradelli semi sweet or dark chocolate chips (this is the “glue”)


Preheat the oven to 200°F.


Put the whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment and whip on high speed until frothy. Add the cream of tartar. Gradually add the granulated sugar and whip until stiff peaks. Fold in the sifted powdered sugar.


Pipe the meringue mushrooms onto a Silpat using a piping bag fitted with a medium round piping tip. Pipe “kisses” for the stems, pulling the bag up sharply at the end to make a sharp pointy tip. For the caps, keep the tip 1/4” up and make filled circles.


Bake immediately in the oven for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and allow meringues to sit overnight in closed oven. Do not open the oven at all once the meringues are in it.


Assembly: Poke holes in bottom of the mushroom caps with a toothpick or a paring knife. Dab a bit of melted chocolate into the hole. Take the stem of the mushroom and place the pointed end into the chocolate and hold still until chocolate is firm enough to stay into place.



Caramel Sauce


1 cup heavy cream

1 cup + 2 Tbs granulated sugar

3 Tbs light corn syrup

1 tsp sea salt

Water as needed

1½ Tbs unsalted butter


Heat the cream to until steaming. Set aside.


Place the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and enough water to make a wet sand texture in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until combined. Without any further stirring, cook the mixture to a medium amber color. Watch carefully as it can burn quickly. Turn off the heat and add the hot heavy cream in a slow, steady stream, while whisking constantly. Be careful as it will bubble up. Add the butter and whisk until all is combined. Set aside.



Chocolate Sponge Cake


Cocoa power

4 oz/120g 64% chocolate

6 eggs, separated, room temperature

6 Tbs./80g granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

¾ tsp. cream of tartar

1/8 tsp. kosher salt


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 18 inch x 13inch rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray, line it with parchment paper, and spray the parchment. Lightly sift cocoa powder over the parchment.


Melt the chocolate and set aside to cool.


Combine the yolks and 1/4 cup/50g of the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment and whip it on high speed until the mixture turns a light yellow and thickens enough that when you lift the whisk over the mixture, the mixture forms a ribbon as it slowly falls back onto itself, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla extract. Add melted chocolate in a steady stream, whipping until just combined. Set aside.


In a new, absolutely clean bowl, use a clean whisk to whip the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and whip the whites to soft peaks. Gradually add the remaining 2½ tablespoons/30g sugar and whip the whites on high speed until medium/stiff peaks form. Gently fold 1/3 of the whites into the chocolate mixture. Repeat twice more. Don’t over mix.


Spread the batter into baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the cake springs back when touched. Take the cake out of the oven and cover it with a slightly damp kitchen towel.


Caramel Mousse


3 *silver strength gelatin sheets

1 Tbs/15g cold water

1 cup/235g caramel sauce

3 egg yolks/55g yolks

6 Tbs/75g granulated sugar

1½ /45g egg whites

Pinch sea salt

1cup/205g heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks


Combine the gelatin and water in a double boiler and heat until the gelatin melts. Heat the caramel to 100°F, add the gelatin mixture, and stir. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.


Make a double boiler with the bowl of a stand mixer and a saucepan. Combine the yolks and 1 heaping Tbs/15g of the sugar in the bowl and whisk them over barely simmering water until the mixture reaches 145°F, about 7 minutes. Transfer the bowl to a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment and whip them on high speed until the mixture is cool. Set aside.


In a new, absolutely clean bowl, combine the egg whites, salt, and remaining 5 Tbs/60g of sugar, place it over the saucepan of barely simmering water and use a clean whisk to whip the mixture until it reaches 160°F, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bowl to a stand mixer fitted with a clean whip attachment and whip on high speed until cool, about 5 minutes.


Fold the egg yolk mixture into the caramel mixture. Gently fold in the whites in thirds. Fold in whipped cream in thirds. Cover and refrigerate until set and ready for use.

*Professional chefs use gelatin sheets instead of granular gelatin. They are available online.


Chocolate Icing


1 cups/4.5 oz cocoa powder

4 1/3 cups/20 oz powdered sugar

16 oz unsalted butter, softened

¼ cup whole milk


Sift the dry ingredients together.


Put the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat it on high speed until light yellow, about 8 minutes. Beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients. Set aside.




Remove the towel from the cake


Spread the mousse over the cake, leaving the cake bare for the last 1½ inches the short end of the baking sheet. Pick the cake up by the opposite end of the bare cake and use the parchment to help you roll it evenly, peeling back parchment as you roll. Place the cake seam-side down.


With a serrated knife, cut ¼ inch off of the end of the cake on a bias. Pick up this piece and place it on the side of the “log” to resemble a tree branch. Refrigerate for 1 hour.


Use the chocolate icing to ice the log and use a fork to make it textured.


Dust the meringue mushrooms with cocoa powder and place around/on the yule log.


For a pop of color, roll cranberries in sugar and place around the yule log.

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