Ingredients (for a medium sized cake)
For the cake
85 caster sugar (golden if you can)
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp. vanilla extract
For the filling and icing
50 gr. butter
140 gr. dark chocolate, broken into squares
1 tbsp maple syrup
300 ml double cream
200 gr. icing sugar, sifted
For the decoration
Icing sugar, fresh cranberries and holly springs.
Heat oven to 200C in fan mode. Grease and line a 23 x 32cm tray with baking parchment. Beat the eggs and sugar together with an electric whisk for about 8 mins until thick and creamy. Mix the flour, cocoa, baking powder and vanilla extract together, then sift onto the egg mixture. Fold the mixture in very carefully, then pour into the tray, and spread it into the corners. Bake for 10 mins.
Lay a sheet of baking parchment on the work surface. When the cake is ready, tip it onto the parchment, peel off the lining paper, then roll the cake up from its longest edge with the paper inside. Leave to cool.
To make the icing, melt the butter and chocolate together in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Take from the heat and stir in the maple syrup and 5 tbsp double cream. Beat in the icing sugar until smooth. Whisk the remaining cream until it holds its shape. Unravel the cake, spread the cream over the top, then carefully roll up again into a log.
Cut a thick diagonal slice from one end of the log. Lift the log on to a plate, then arrange the slice on the side with the diagonal cut against the cake to make a branch.
Spread the icing over the log and branch (don’t cover the ends), then use a fork to mark the icing to give the effect of tree bark. Scatter with icing sugar to resemble snow, and decorate with holly sprig and fresh cranberries.