Buche Noel

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This is the dessert my students often want to make for the holidays. It gives them practice in cake baking, buttercream making, fondant and marzipan work, and building a flavor profile.

I like to give them choices for cake: chocolate, almond, vanilla. Choices for buttercream are chocolate, mocha, espresso, and vanilla. Fillings can either be a buttercream of flavored whipped cream. We then make mushrooms, leaves, berries, flowers, birds, out of fondant or marzipan.

It is always interesting to see what colors they use for decor. We use paste colors, a small amount goes a long way. I like the non traditional colors like juniper green, and mixing reds and oranges. It is sometimes tricky to get a warm blue. Most blues straight out of the jar are too cool for my taste.

I have some concerns about food dyes. I try to keep my usage to just a couple of times a year and the winter holidays are definitely the time to bring out the color. It’s important to talk about that with students, balancing our celebratory needs and health concerns appropriately.

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