Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.
Madeline and the Christmas Yule Log Cake
Children love the Madeline series by Ludwig Bemelmans, and there are many books about her adventures available. She celebrates Christmas in the book Madeline's Christmas, and this season is the perfect time to share a good book and combine reading with Christmas baking. Many families bake the traditional Yule log cake, or buche de Noel, but children do not know where the cake comes from.
Baking the Yule log cake after reading Madeline's Christmas provides the opportunity to share a cultural and cooking experience with children. Take your children on a tour of Paris with the story's heroine, and enjoy the preparation of the Christmas Yule log cake.
A Quick Summary of Madeline's Christmas
It's the night before Christmas, and all but Madeline are sick in bed. Madeline is busy with Miss Clavel taking care of all the girls in the boarding school. Christmas magic takes over, and Madeline meets a French merchant with a magic carpet. Madeline gathers all of her friends for a magic carpet journey to celebrate Christmas. Everyone forgets about their sniffles and enjoys this magical Christmas event.
Preparation and Recipe for Buche de Noel
The ingredients for this cake are simple, and the recipe is child-friendly. Children enjoy participating in cooking activities, and baking for the holidays is a favorite activity. Reading a favorite book that children can relate to a cooking activity creates added interest in reading and cooking.
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup sifted cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons light rum (optional)
- Prepare a 15 1/2x10 1/2x-1-inch baking pan by greasing and flouring, then lining with wax paper.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Combine and beat egg yolks until thick and lemon colored. Add 1/2 cup of sugar gradually and beating continuously. Stir in the vanilla.
- Beat egg whites in a larger bowl until soft peaks appear, adding 1/2 cup of sugar and beating until stiff peaks appear. Fold in the yolk mixture.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt and fold into the egg mixture. Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared baking pan and bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.
- Prepare a kitchen towel by spreading it on the counter and sprinkle lightly with flour or powdered sugar.
- When the cake is done, loosen the edges, and turn it out onto the towel.
- Roll up the cake inside the towel, starting with the long edge, creating the log. Leave to cool.
Preparation of Yule Log Cake
Icing the Cake
The filling is everyone's favorite and also child-friendly when prepared with appropriate supervision. Here is how to make the filling and frosting:
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 2/3 cup water
- 4 egg yolks
- 3 squares (3 ounces) unsweetened melted chocolate
- 1 cup butter
- 2 teaspoons instant coffee dissolved in (optional) 2 tablespoons rum
- Heat water and sugar to boiling in a small saucepan. Cook to soft ball stage at 240 degrees.
- Beat egg yolks until thick and gradually add to hot syrup, beating constantly.
- Continue beating until the mixture is cool. Beat in butter 1 T. at a time.
- Add melted chocolate and coffee and beat until smooth.
- Refrigerate for awhile and then beat until thick and smooth.
- The cake is now ready to assemble. Unroll the cake and spread with half of the filling. Roll up the cake.
- Cut a 4-inch piece from the end of the roll, cutting on the diagonal.
- Place the log and the "branch" alongside with the edges down.
- Frost the log cake with the remaining filling. Mark the log cake with tines of a fork to resemble bark. Garnish with your favorite small holiday decorations.
Ready to Frost the Yule Log Cake
Combining Great Books with Cooking Benefits Children
Reading a fun read-aloud book for the holidays will spark young chefs in the kitchen. You might consider other books that children enjoy for the holidays and allow them to create a recipe for the character.
Reading a recipe creates the opportunity for children to learn that reading skills are needed for other activities. Young children who are not yet reading will enjoy a rebus recipe with both pictures of the needed ingredients and words printed under the ingredients to help with reading.
Family Holiday Reading and Cooking
Cindy Hewitt (author) from Sarasota on December 02, 2016:
Thanks so much for reading. Hope you share it around to your friends.
RTalloni on December 01, 2016:
What neat hub! Thank you for reminding me of Madeline! Your cake baked up beautifully and you've inspired me to just go ahead and do it. Too bad I have to wait till the weekend. Merry Christmas to you and yours!