If y’all are like me, the week of Christmas usually coincides with a throng of visitors, a to-do list about a mile long, and a heap of stress to go right along with it. I have always found it incredibly helpful to plan out all of the meals I will prepare during the holidays well in advance, so that is one less thing I have to worry about!
Let’s just say that I am a girl with a wee bit of a sweet tooth. To put it mildly. 😉 So, what better place to start in planning my menu than with what I very often consider to be the most important part:
Christmas is such a festive time to really pull out the stops and prepare something impressive, don’t you think?
Last year, I prepared this Chocolate-Citrus Cake with Candied Oranges, which was the cover recipe of the December 2009 issue of Southern Living. It turned out beautifully, and – most importantly! – it was absolutely delicious. You just can’t go wrong with the Southern tried-and-true tradition of serving a white cake – and especially when the center is filled to the brim with decadent chocolate ganache.
A little diclaimer: you’ll have to excuse the horrible photos of the next two desserts. Any blogger can probably relate to the impossible task of attempting the perfect shot of a project with a throng of hungry guests wondering who on earth would be so crazy as to want to photograph everything she cooks. 😉
In 2008, I made my first Buche de Noel. Also known as a Yule Log, these consist of a genoise, or sponge cake, layer rolled up with a rich cream/ganache layer at the center, and then decorated with frosting to look like an authentic log. It is traditional to garnish with homemade marzipan “mushrooms,” but I wasn’t feeling that ambitious. 🙂 This was such a fun dessert – but be forewarned: do your very best not to overbake your cake! I made the mistake of doing so, and it made rolling mine nearly impossible. At least frosting is able to hide a multitude of errors!
For a lovely history of the Buche de Noel, visit this website here. I am embarrassed to admit that I don’t remember exactly which recipe I used to prepare mine, but this recipe from Food Network seems to ring a bell.
So, what am I thinking about this year? This recipe from this month’s issue of Bon Appetit stole my heart the moment the magazine graced my mailbox. I must make this cake!
Do you plan your menus out in advance? If so, what do you have mind for a festive holiday dessert? I’d love to know!
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