A straight forward Christmas dessert and one that can be made ahead and popped into the freezer. Thaw at room temperature in about 3 hours. You will need a lipped baking tray – mine measures 26cm x 36cm x 2cm deep greased and lined with non stick baking parchment.
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees c (fan)
To make the sponge
In a large roomy mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, vanilla and sugar until the mixture has doubled in size, is thick and mousse like and when you lift out your whisks a trail is left in the mixture.
Stir together the plain flour and cocoa powder then sift the whole lot over the whisked up egg mix. Using a large metal spoon then take your time to fold the two mixes together. Don’t be tempted to rush or use your whisk for this. The flour has to be folded in slowly and thoroughly so that all the valuable air is retained in the mix.
Once the mixture is dark brown in colour without any streaks or lumps then it can be transferred to the prepared tin. Use an angled palette knife or back of a spoon to spread the mixture to the corners of the tray. Pop into the preheated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes only until the sponge is risen and firm to the touch.
Remove from the oven and whilst still warm run a knife around the edge of the sponge then sprinkle over a dusting of caster sugar and cocoa. Lay over a clean piece of paper, followed by a cooling tray and carefully flip the whole lot over. Remove the cooling tray, then the baking tray (which is still hot) and then gently remove the baking paper.
The warm baked sponge is now laying on the clean piece of paper. Using the paper as an aid start to roll up the sponge enclosing the paper as you go. Transfer to a cooling tray and leave to go completely cold. Rolling the sponge whilst still warm will prevent any cracks.
To prepare the filling simply whisk together the double cream, sugar and vanilla until thick and standing in soft peaks. Add the finely grated zest of an orange if desired. I used a few tablespoons of spiced freezer jam but cranberry sauce works well too.
To make the ganache: Break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a medium sized heat proof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until barely simmering then pour this into the bowl and over the chocolate. Leave for a few minutes then stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Allow to cool down to a consistency of soft butter.
When ready to assemble unroll the cold sponge and spread with the cream and any fruit filling. Re roll then when the ganache has cooled to a soft spreadable consistency spread it over, covering the sides first. I used a fork to decorate simply,
Once cool and set this chocolate log will freeze perfectly.
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