Saturday, December 1, 2007

Gingerbread Yule Log

When I was home for Thanksgiving, I took the opportunity to flip through my mother-in-law's extensive cookbook collection. I could spend days looking at cookbooks, but I only had the chance to look through a few. This was one of the recipes that caught my eye. It looked tasty, but not too complicated... it looked like a pumpkin roll, but with a twist -- gingerbread cake rolled up in and surrounded by a spiced whipped cream.

Like most gingerbread recipes, this one calls for molasses. Molasses is a thick syrup produced from processed sugar cane. When sugarcane juice is boiled, part of it crystallizes, giving us white sugar. What does not crystallize is a thick syrup called molasses. There are three different types of molasses: light, dark, and blackstrap. Light molasses has only been boiled once - it is very thin and sweet. Dark molasses has been boiled twice, making it darker, thicker, and less sweet. Blackstrap molasses has been boiled at least three times and is very thick and actually bitter. You can substitute light and dark molasses for each other in any recipe, depending on whether you want a light or deep molasses flavor imparted to the dish. A few interesting tidbits:

* You can place a rusty object in 1 part molasses and 9 parts water and after 2 weeks it will lose its rust because the molasses chelates (binds) the rust.
* Blackstrap molasses is not normally eaten, but is used in cattle feed instead.
* Brown sugar is just white sugar mixed with molasses.
* There are various substitutions for molasses (but the flavor will be affected):
  • Substitute 1 cup honey, dark corn syrup or maple syrup for 1 cup molasses.
  • Substitute 3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar with 1 tsp cream of tartar for 1 cup molasses.
  • Substitute 3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water (or liquid in recipe) for 1 cup molasses.

The nice thing about this log is that you can slice off a piece, taste it, and then re-frost it and no one will know the difference ;) To be honest, I wasn't too impressed with the recipe. The spiced whipped cream was delicious, but I thought that the cake wasn't very moist. It was actually a little tough... I'm not sure if that was because I beat the eggs too long? My husband thought it was good but not great... but thought it was good enough to take to work with him. I'm not sure if his friends have less discerning palates, or if the cake soaks up some of the moisture from the whipped topping overnight, but everyone who tried it enjoyed it and even came back for seconds. So, I'm not sure if I will be making this recipe again, but decided to blog about it since everyone who tried it told my husband that it was 'blog-worthy' here it is :)

Gingerbread Yule Log
from Bernadette Colvin, Taste of Home's Holiday Get-Togethers 2006

3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup molasses
1 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp each baking powder and baking soda
1/2 tsp each ground cinnamon, ginger and cloves
1/8 tsp salt

Spiced Cream Filling:
1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Additional ground cinnamon, optional

In a mixing bowl, beat yolks on high until thickened, about 3 minutes. Beat in molasses and butter. In another bowl, beat whites until foamy; gradually add sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Fold into yolk mixture. Combine dry ingredients; gently fold into egg mixture until well mixed. Spread in a greased and floured waxed paper-lined 15x10x1" baking pan. Bake at 375F for 9-12 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.

Turn onto a linen towel dusted with confectioner's sugar. Peel off paper and roll cake up in towel, starting with a short side. Cool on a wire rack. Meanwhile, beat the first five filling ingredients in a mixing bowl until soft peaks form. Unroll cake; spread with half the filling. Roll up. Place on serving plate. Spread remaining filling over cake. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired.

Yield: 10 servings.


  1. you're such a brave ROLLER! I have to try it someday...I love the info on molasses- who knew!?!

  2. Mmm, this looks delicious. I love gingerbread so much, but I dunno about the rolling...I am not so good in the baking realm :)