This recipe is NOT for the faint of heart. At all. BUT. If you have the mental fortitude...and a lot of time on your hands...it is completely worth the anxiety and stress that you will spend on it. Completely.
Let me start by saying: I am not an expert on chocolate. Nor have I ever made a rolled cake. Of any kind. So. Double risk for me.
Concerning the first issue, I didn't let the chocolate cool enough before adding the espresso to it and ended up with seized chocolate. Mr. kindly ran to the store for more chocolate. On the second try, I kept the two separate, added them separately to the cake mixture, and all was well. I'll know better for next time.
On the rolling issue, I just don't know what to say. Sometimes it turns out to be more like folding. If you saw Tyler Florence on the holiday Iron Chef America episode, you'll know kind of how it went for me. I may be a victim of my altitude yet again. Next time, I may mess with the cooking time. I think it just may have been *finger pinch* this much too dry.
Luckily, this cake has more layers to roll. So by the outside layers, I was actually rolling (not folding), with only some occasional cracks.
I kind of liked the way it turned out looking particularly stump-like with the flared out part on the bottom. The way a real stump flares out to its root structure.
And also, thank goodness for frosting.
I don't think you're ideally supposed to frost the top. You see, ideally, you should have a perfectly rolled cake with concentric circles visible from the top like a real stump. Obviously that didn't happen for me, so I frosted the whole darn thing. And did some "artistic" work in the frosting itself to make it look like bark.
Then I put the whole thing in the refrigerator for a couple of days while I did the rest of my Christmas baking.
I made a veritable field of meringue mushrooms as per Martha's instructions.
And put every last one of them on/around the cake because they were too cute to leave any off.
And gave the whole thing a final dusting of "snow".
I was prepared, given my difficulties with the rolling, for the cake to look terrible and possibly even collapse when I cut into it. Imagine my surprise, when I got these near perfect slices.
The chilling of the cake clearly helped it to really hold together.
And the taste...was delicious. The malt powder adds such a unique flavor. I don't know that the Malted Buttercream is something I would want to eat by the spoonful, but combined with the deliciously dark chocolate cake and the rich chocolate frosting, it was surprisingly light tasting. And complex. And I loved it.
No, I did not have sugared cranberries as part of my decorations. Next time. Because...
TGIP Rating--Chocolate-Malt Stump de Noël--KEEPER. I'm making it every year. And eventually my roll will be a real roll that I can show from the top with pride.
Next up: My baking year in review. A full year of baking and blogging gives me a lot to think (and blog again) about. Maybe I'll even choose a "Best of".