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A Quick and Painless Christmas Cake Log

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2012-12-17-xmascakelog.jpgThe Holidays are a perfect time to start thinking about new traditions; things that you want to do differently. So often we're caught up in sticking with our traditions from years past that we don't allow ourselves to try anything new, whether it's what we eat, who we see, or how we decorate. I am one-hundred percent guilty of being a stickler for tradition, but this year I'm trying to allow myself to welcome new experiences and convincing myself that those new experiences aren't as bad as I once thought.

I've been stuck in a rut, baking the same thing year after year. It got kind of boring. I'm an avid baker, which means I bake constantly. A few days ago I found myself in the kitchen working on one of my favourite desserts - mini cakes. It usually involves baking a large round cake and using a cookie cutter to cut out small pieces that I then stack on top of one another with buttercream frosting between each layer. It's a fun treat, but this time was different. Something wasn't working for me. I didn't know what it was. The cakes weren't exciting me the way they had before. I resolved to turn each cake on its side and connect the three I had already made. The simpler Christmas Cake Log was born.

Normally, the traditional Yule Log Cake is made by rolling the cake to create a swirl that's visible when you cut into it. This is a very simple way to create a festive cake when you have a lot less time.

Christmas Cake Log

Vanilla Cake recipe via Joy of Baking
This recipe is incredibly simple and moist. Pour the prepared batter into a 9-inch or 10-inch round cake pan and bake as directed. When you're done, and the cake has cooled, use a small, 2-inch or 3-inch round cookie cutter to cut out small circles.

Chocolate Chip Mint Frosting:
- 1 1/2 cup butter
- 4 cups icing sugar
- 1 tsp. mint extract
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Beat the butter until creamy and smooth. Add in the icing sugar, about 1 cup at a time, until well incorporated. Add the mint extract. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips.

Assembly:
Use a spatula to spread a small amount of frosting on to the top of each cut out circle of cake and build a tower about three cake pieces high. Carefully tip that tower over onto the serving platter and repeat the stacking process with the remaining cake circles. Remember that you don't have to use the entire cake for one log. Mix it up and make a few logs with different frosting flavours, if you'd like!

Once the cake is assembled, use your spatula to spread the remaining frosting over the log until it is completely covered.

Optional:
You can melt 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and drizzle or pour over the log. I added some delicious crushed candy cane to mine, as well.