Chocolate and Salted Praline Log #TheCakeSliceBakers

It’s the end of the year, and what a year it’s been.  My family added a sweet new baby, we moved to a new house (our teensy 750 square foot home had gotten a little too cozy for a family of six!), and faced the challenges that everyone else has faced as well. We laughed, we cried, and baked. Check out other fancy bakes of 2021

In January, the Cake Slice Bakers will be baking out of a new cookbook, and it looks like a great one. Bring on 2021!

It is tradition with the Cake Slice Bakers to have free choice on the last bake of the year.  Last year, I chose a swiss roll that I made into a Yule Log.  This year…I chose another Yule Log.

This version is a delicate chocolate sponge, filled with a salted praline whipped cream, covered in ganache and topped with dark chocolate shards.

A winning combo, no?

The version in the cookbook featured a hazelnut praline, but I made mine with pecans.  We have a pecan tree in our new backyard, and I had several very willing little pecan-gatherers and crackers to help me get the required cup.

And also, pecans are better than hazelnuts.  Fight me.

The praline was made from toasted pecans, caramelized sugar, and salt that I blitzed in a food processor.  I took out a couple tablespoons to sprinkle on the cream, and continued blending the rest until it formed a paste.  That was then folded into some lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Rather than making one big Yule Log, I decided to bake the sponge in a thinner layer to make two Yule…Sticks.  So that I can share one with a friend. If I were to do it again, I would just double the recipe.  It became way too fiddly with such a thin sponge layer.

My sponge was spread thin, like my nerves and sanity this year.  So I guess it was fitting.

What’s a Yule Log without mushrooms? Last year I went the classic route with meringue ‘shrooms.

Since this bake is all about chocolate, I made some mushrooms out of candy melts.

I melted some red wafers and poured them into a quail egg carton that I’d washed very well. (Yes, I’m lucky enough to have a friend who has quail!)  But you could use any kind of container with small indentations.  Or even make little cups out of aluminum foil.  Mushrooms come in all shapes and sizes! 

For the stems, I cut open a straw and filled it with white candy melts. I heated a skillet and melted the ends of the stems to join them to the red tops.  I also crunched up a graham cracker with a couple drops of green food coloring to look like moss, and sprinkled a little powdered sugar on the top.

They turned out pretty cute, I think!

I have had a verse from the Bible on our living room felt board since about March. This has been a reminder for me through this tumultuous year, and is my prayer for 2021 as well--that my family and I can face whatever the next year brings with a confident hope and without fear.  

Not because there is nothing that's scary or there won't be bad news, but because we are defiantly refusing to be overcome by either and are choosing to trust God.

Looks like we lost the "i" from "in." Oops. 


Merry Christmas, best wishes, hope and JOY for the New Year!

Chocolate and Salted Praline Log

from The New Way to Cake by Benjamina Ebuehi

Salted Praline Paste:
1 cup nuts (the book recommends hazelnuts, I used pecans)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons flaky sea salt

1. Heat the oven to 350.
2. Place the nuts on a lined baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5-7 minutes, being careful not to burn them. Remove from the oven and put aside.
3. Heat the sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat.  The sugar on the edges will begin to melt first, so stir it with a spatula and it will all eventually melt. Once it is all liquified and is a deep caramel color, carefully pour it over the toasted nuts.  Try to cover as many of the nuts as possible, and don't touch the sugar.  It's hot.  Let it set until it is hot no longer.
4. When cool, break the praline into large chunks, and place it and the salt in a food processor.  Blitz until it looks like crumbs, and remove 2 tablespoons.  Continue to process the rest until it forms a paste.  If it is not getting pasty, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and it will come together. Put the paste aside.

Chocolate Sponge:
3/4 cup flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
1/2 plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Grease and line with parchment a 9x13 cookie sheet.  Sift together the flour, cocoa, and baking powder and set aside.  In  a stand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together until they are tripled in size, light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Sift half of the dry mix into the eggs and fold gently until incorporated.  Fold in the rest, making sure that you don't have pockets of dry flour remaining.  Gently pour the batter onto the prepared cookie sheet and spread to the corners. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until the sides shrink from the pan.  Cool for a few minutes.
2. Place a piece of parchment paper that is larger than the cake on the table.  Dust liberally with powdered sugar, and turn the cake onto the parchment.  Gently remove the parchment that the cake was baked on, and score one of the shorter edges about 1/2 inch in and 1/3 through the sponge (don't cut all the way through).  Gently roll the cake, starting with the scored edge, inside the parchment.  Allow to cool.

1 1/4 cup finely chopped dark chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream

1. Heat the cream until steaming hot.  Pour over the chocolate and let sit for 1 minute. Stir until it is glossy, and allow to set until it is a spreadable consistency.

Chocolate Shards:
1 1/2 70% dark chocolate (use a bar, not chips)

1. Take 3/4 of the chocolate, and heat it in a plastic bowl in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each increment. When it is melted, add in the remainder of the chocolate and stir.  This is a "cheater's way" of tempering chocolate so that it will set hard at room temperature.  Pour the melted chocolate on a large piece of parchment smooth into a thin layer.  Top with another piece of parchment, and smooth out any air bubbles.  Roll the parchment and chocolate up into a log.  When it is set, unroll and it will break into random shards that resemble bark.

3/4 heavy cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 tsp sugar
4 tablespoons salted praline paste from earlier

1. In a mixer, whip the sugar and cream to stiff peaks.  Fold in the praline paste.

3 tablespoons hazelnut liqueur (I just used simple syrup)
Reserved crumbled praline

1. Unroll the sponge.  Brush with liqueur or syrup.  Spread the filling over the sponge, and sprinkle with reserved praline.  Reroll as tightly as possible and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.  Using a spatula, frost the log with ganache, and arrange chocolate shards over the surface, overlapping to look like bark.  Decorate as desired.


    Each month The Cake Slice Bakers are offered a selection of cakes from the current book we are baking through. This year it is The New Way To Cake by Benjamina Ebuehi. We each choose one cake to bake, and then on the 20th - never before - we all post about our cake on our blogs. There are a few rules that we follow, but the most important ones are to have fun and enjoy baking & eating cakes!

    Follow our Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest pages where you can find all of our cakes, as well as inspiration for many other cakes. You can also click on the thumbnail pictures below to take you to each of our cakes. If you have a blog and are interested in joining The Cake Slice Bakers and baking along with us, please send an email to thecakeslicebakers at gmail dot com for more details.

    The Cake Slice Bakers also have a new Facebook group called The Cake Slice Bakers and Friends. This group is perfect for those who do not have a blog but want to join in the fun and bake through this book.

    It is a new year and a new book - The New Way To Cake - traditionally our last bake for the year is free choice, so our choices for December 2020 were ~ 


      1. How ambitious! I love the mushrooms, and I like pecans better than hazelnuts too, so no fight here.

        1. Thanks! Pecans are the king of the nuts, imho.

      2. It was very delicious! Did not taste like an old log with mushrooms at all.

      3. I loved your idea on how to make candy mushrooms. Your filling sounds delicious, too.

      4. I agree on the hazelnuts - pecans all the way! So nice and a fun cake!

      5. This is such a pretty dessert and I love the candy mushrooms. Great presentation and here's to another delicious year of baking.


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