DB Challenge: French Yule Log

This month's challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux.

They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand.

"SO, what is a French Yule Log and how is it different from a Buche de Noel that most people are familiar with?

In France you can buy two kinds of Yule log, either the Genoise and Buttercream type that most people are familiar with as Buche de Noel, or, what is more commonly purchased, which is a frozen Yule Log very reminiscent of an ice cream cake, only often it’s not made of ice cream but rather frozen mousse of some sort. In French this is called an entremets which is sometimes loosely translated in English as simply a cream dessert. This also means that this recipe is not holiday-specific, it is also just a scrumptious dessert recipe."

This challenge was supposed to be done as a log, but I did not have the pan and so I did mine as a round cake. The picture above, though, illustrates all the different elements that were required in this cake. I chose to make mine with a vanilla mousse to cut down on the chocolate overload and I made the dacquoise layer with coconut, which I am really glad about because it really gave it extra umph.

I took the cake to my BFF's. They were having a combo birthday for her father (70) and brother-in-law (40), thus the 'Happy Birthday'. It was also my first time playing with gold leaf. Since I wasn't too happy with the gold leaf I kinda wished I had left it off. But people commented on the extra touch. The chocolate cookies I used to ring the outside were some wafer cookies that I had received from a gift exchange. Because my sides were uneven they seemed the perfect solution to tidy up the whole cake and embellish it at the same time.

Here I show you my coconut dacquoise layer which is made with almond flour and egg whites. It's like a meringue.

This is the praline feuillette. Basically you bake a gavotte which is a crispy, flaky pastry. You crush this up. Then I grated up some of my leftover hazelnut praline from a few months ago. Take both these and mix them with melted chocolate and then press into a wafer.

Here you can see the interior of my dessert.

The good and the bad of this recipe? First, I don't think I will make it again. It wasn't hard overall, but it still took two days with all the different elements. Plus, I wasn't all that impressed with it. It was just OK. I chose a vanilla mousse to cut down on the chocolate, but the recipe given to us was really thick and clumpy and not my idea of 'mousse'. My praline feuillete was too thick and difficult to cut through. I had never used gelatin before and the instructions in the recipes were very unclear on just how much water to use to soften it. And I would just make a ganache as the final icing instead of the icing recipes that were given to us.

Still, everyone oo'ed and ahh'ed over it when it came out and were excited to try it. Compliments were nice enough as well, but it boils down to how did I feel about it... Just OK.