Thursday, December 24, 2009

Bucka's Cocoa Log

I've been talking about it for years. Wondrous, just sweet enough miracle out of my grandmother's kitchen. Maybe it was the way my mom and aunt sighed in reverence when it was presented, but Bucka's cocoa log has always seemed like pinnacle Christmas treat in my rather eccentric head. I searched every speciality bakery in Denver looking for its like, with delicious result but never quite finding its equal. Mom repeatedly told me making it isn't that hard, I could do it. I finally decided to make it the attempt. With help. I did my best to recruit my coworker Julia-- wondrous expert armature baker that she is. Julia had family obligations (two days before Christmas? imagine that!) so I was on my own.

As you know, my dad faxed me a copy of the recipe card which my grandmother clearly typed in a manual. Grandma, who we called Bucka for reasons nobody remembers left a whole box of incredible recipes from a time when nobody cared about carbs and the A1c didn't exist. Kinda hope nothing critical is lost under that particularly large black splotch on the second page.

As I shopped for the supplies yesterday, I kept hoping maybe Bucka's good spirit would stand at my shoulder as I mixed, whisked and folded, encouraging me. More likely, her real spirit would stand at my shoulder telling me "you know what's the matter with YOU?" That was really more her style. Let's face it, the lady didn't really get pleasant until her dementia was so bad she couldn't remember who we were. But.. I digress.

Yesterday, after the three lasagnas were put bed, I ran out of excuses and knuckled down.

Separate eggs? Ooooh dear. I use Egg Beaters, for Pete's sake. After one failure, I managed to separate all five. Beat whites into stiff peaks? I live in Colorado, high altitude and stiff egg whites don't mix. The only stiff peaks here have ski runs on them (oh STOP, get your minds out of the gutter!). I bravely pressed on. Kitchen Aid on high and whaddya know? Peaks are stiff!

Wait, what? Grease a pan, press wax paper into it and grease the wax paper? This seems excessive. Surely Pam will do, right? My 'this seems like enough' cooking/baking attitude kicked in.

Soon, I had a beautiful beige bowl of fluffy stuff ready to spread on the wax paper. Popped into the oven, fifteen nervous minutes and two phone calls to my mom and.....!


The directions said to turn the cake out onto a towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. 1) The cake wasn't fully cooked (as I should have noticed from the absence of browned edges) and 2) I tried to actually turn the unsupported pan over, like a jackass. A gooey chocolaty mess slid, sort of 'glopped' out onto the towel. Cheryl declared it a delicious gooey mess but you can't spread fudge frosting on a gooey... oh whatever! I started over.

More separating, peaking and folding. Beautiful beigy fluffiness ready for the pan. The properly prepared pan. I took no chances: GREASE, not Pam! After more consultation with mom, I cut a piece of cardboard, covered it with a towel, sprinkled that with powered sugar annnnnd! Successful flipping! Nervous but successful rolling followed, whipping the cream, more rolling and finally...

Bucka's Fudge Butter cream Frosting

Personally, if there were no other foods but this stuff, that'd be ok. Amanda says that instead of a wedding cake, she wants a cake made entirely of Bucka's Fudge Butter cream Frosting. Three tiers, please. It's orgasmic, seriously. If you're sitting on your couch eating Betty Crocker frosting from the tub, shame on you. Not because you're eating frosting, because you're eating crap frosting. This is a ridiculously easy recipe; I'm embarrassed to have used packaged frosting up to now. For the size of cake, it spreads a little thin so just to be careful (and to account for the mysterious disappearance of at least half the first batch, possibly related to all the fingers being sucked in my household), I made two batches.

I'm a great cook, but my presentation generally needs a little something (read as, my food is often ugly but delightful). I knew -- I hope-- that you'd want a picture anyway so.. TADAH! my rather messy but INCREDIBLY delicious Bucka's Cocoa Log

You know you want the recipe. What follows is as near a Bucka-to-English translation as I can manage. There are some things that don't come across easily. For instance, the recipe calls for a 'moderate' oven. No idea what the hell that means. Also, the word 'carefully'' is used A LOT when actually combining the cake ingredients so... yeah. Be careful.

Merry Christmas!

Bucka's Cocoa Log (Bunche Noel, Yule Log, Damn Awesome cake)


  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 3 tablespoons cake floor
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Pre-heat 'moderate' oven to 375F. Grease a 10"x15" jelly roll pan. Line pan with wax paper, grease the wax. DO THIS, do not use Pam.

Mix sifted cocoa, flour and 1/4 cup sugar into a small bowl. Set aside.

In a small bowl, beat egg yolks until they are thick and lemon colored. Add vanilla and 1/4 cup sugar gradually. In a mixer bowl, using the whisk attachment, beat egg whites to stiff peaks. Beat one cup of sugar into egg white mixture. Fold egg yolk mixture carefully into white. Fold sifted cocoa, flour and sugar mixture gradually in with the other ingredients.

Spread cake mixture into jelly roll pan. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until the edges brown very lightly. (Christy's note: avoid the urge to check on the cake, even closing the oven door can cause this thing to fall)

Cut a piece of cardboard slightly larger than the jelly roll pan. Cover with a large tea towel. Sprinkle tea towel with powdered sugar.

Once the cake is out of the over, loosen the edges, then place towel covered cardboard sugar-side down on top of the pan, gently turn over. Cut off crisp edges, then roll cake up with the towel. Allow it to cool at least 30 - 45 minutes rolled up inside the towel.

While cake is cooling, in a chilled bowl, whisk whipped cream until frothy and make the frosting.

Fudge Butter cream Frosting

  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • dash of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons light cream (you can use whipping cream from the cake ingredients if you like)

Cream softened butter and 1 cup sifted confectioner's sugar thoroughly. Sift remaining cup sugar, cocoa and dash of salt together. Work these ingredients into creamed mixture alternating with cream and vanilla. If frosting is too stiff to spread, you may add a small amount of cream.

Unroll cooled cake and gently spread cake with whipped cream. Lightly re roll and chill for 30 minutes. Transfer cooled cake to your platter, spread with fudge frosting. For authentic 'log look' it's best not to smooth the frosting. Tool marks are a good thing. If desired, garnish with chocolate candies, maraschino cherries or mint leaves. Keep well chilled and covered.

Serves 8


qustboo said...

You did well, darling. Now, you are about to find out one is never enough. What fun to continue the tradition!! Next-- Bucka's Beans

Heidi said...

Mmmmmmm.... you're making me so very hungry!

sparksr25 said...

I enjoyed your blog very much. I actually found my self smiling. I will be back The Princess Bride quote was icing on the cake.