There is a forest of pines I love to visit. It reminds me of home. It practically picks me up and takes me there. It’s an old growth forest; one you can walk through – through deer trails and human trails. And throughout that forest is a bush with flavors as lovely as her berries. – American Beautyberry–
Beautyberries are almost never ending. We picked gallon bag after gallon bag, and I never felt like we were depleting the stash for the deer. They are prolific and I am so glad we found a place with hundreds of bushes so we know where to return. Luna had a blast picking them, they are so fun to look at and be surrounded by. They are a happy berry. And they have made us happy people.
We made beauty berry jam. Lots of it. But, we knew there had to be more to these berries besides practically the best jam ever and a mosquito repellent made out of her leaves. So, after much thinking we had the “aha” moment of dehydrating them and grinding into flour.
So, hmmm, that’s why they taste so good in jam: the sugars mature, they lose their astringent flavor, and evolve into the most delicate, spiced, apple, chocolate tasting…. that’s about the best description I can come up with.
We made a really great spice cake/muffin recipe that was perfect for Fall. Literally tasted like Autumn, and now for the holidays we decided we should try it as a Yule log. It turned out great, and the flavor was perfect with the mocha/espresso filling we used.
Beauty berry yule log
Very similar to blackberry cake.
2/3 c beauty berry flour – ground as fine as you can get it. Will add texture to cake no matter how fine.
1/3 C. unsweetened cocoa
6 large eggs – separated, at room temp.
¾ c. sugar – or sweetener of your choice.
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
1 C. heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. all spice (or some cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg – just go easy on the last two ingredients)
Pinch of salt
1 ½ c heavy cream
¼ c sugar (sweeten to taste with sweetener of your choice)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. coffee/espresso extract
Icing – we didn’t ice ours, just filled with flavored whipped cream, but you can dust with powdered sugar, or make a simple ganache and cover, or ganache and cover with sugar, or leave it plain the way we did, or ice with mocha chocolate buttercream, or just about whatever you want!
Parchment paper – a must. Your cake with tear/fall apart without it, it’s an egg-based cake folks.
In large bowl whisk your egg whites at high speed with ¼ tsp. cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Begin adding in ¼ c (4 tbsp ) sugar while whisking until stiff peaks form. They shouldn’t move if you take the bowl and turn it sideways.
Transfer to separate bowl if you need the same one for your mixer, but don’t worry about cleaning the bowl or your whisk attachment.
Now, take your egg yolks and whisk at medium speed until combined and smooth. Add in 1 -2 tsp vanilla depending on preference, remaining ½ c sugar and a pinch of salt, allspice or alternate , turn up speed to high and let whisk for 3-4 minutes until you products resembles a rich, thick cake batter.
Turn your mixer down to low speed and add your beautyberry flour. Fold the beautyberry mixture into the egg whites. Be careful not to break down the egg whites, and just gently fold until combined into a mixture.
Spread evenly onto parchment lined pan and place into the over for 20 – 25 minutes until cooked through. It’s a darker, chocolate cake, so it may be difficult to tell. The top should spring back when touched, and if you insert a fork it should be clean.
Whisk 1 C. heavy whipping cream with 2 tsp. vanilla, and add the coffee extract – add sugar to taste if desired. Whisk at high speed in mixer until you have a thick whipped cream topping.
Take pan out of oven and flip onto a long tea towel topped with parchment paper. Very carefully peel off your layer of parchment that you baked on. VERY carefully.
Your cake is tough, but still be careful! Roll it up and let it cool in a rolled position. After it cools layer whipped topping evenly and then roll back up and immediately set on display platter. Cut two angled ends off, and reattach with icing to create the log. Decorate how you wish. You can ice and then run a fork down the sides to create a barked look. This is a spiced yule log, it will taste like chocolate and spice, and is a great addition to the holidays!