This is step-by-step recipe for meringue mushrooms made from scratch that you need to take your classic buche de Noel yule log cake to the next level this holiday season. These delicate and light mushrooms are the perfect cake decoration along with berries and pine needles to complete your winter cake log.
Merry holidays to you! I hope you’re ready to take your Christmas cakes to the next level with this recipe for how to make meringue mushrooms from scratch. As promised, I’m back today with the final piece you’ll need to complete your holiday buche de Noel yule log cakes for a festive Christmas season season.
I should mention that these meringue mushrooms are also perfect throughout the year for woodsy and nature inspired cake decorations. I just immediately think yule log and Christmas when I think of these mushrooms, but, yes, you can definitely bookmark this recipe and use it for your camping themed cakes or any nature lover you’re baking a cake for.
No yule log cake it complete with out these festive little sweet mushrooms that really make the cake look like it’s a log in nature. (Except my mushrooms are made with a sweet meringue, because who wants to eat real mushrooms with their cake??)
In today’s post I’m going to share with you my tried-and-true recipe for making classic meringue mushrooms as well as some tips for how to add the other wintery festive decorations to the cake.
This step-by-step meringue mushroom how-to post is divided into 5 sections:
- Why Meringue For Mushrooms?
- Make Your Mushrooms
- Other Ways To Decorate Your Yule Log Cakes
- Pro Tip For Dusting Cake With Snow
- Don’t Forget The Red & Green
Yes, an entire post on cake decorations! After all, the decorations are the whole point of a yule log. It’s meant to look like it is a log or branch laying in nature. The decor on this cake is where you’re really able to drive home on the point of nature.
One of my favorite parts of my wedding cake design career is the cake’s decor. I always begin a wedding cake or client dessert consultation with a vision sketched out. I have made dozens of sugar flowers for cakes (because weddings!), but I also love making little nodes to nature, like acorns, crabs, apples, peaches, and these adorable meringue mushrooms for a classic buche de Noel, or yule log, cake.
Why Meringue For Mushrooms?
As I said above, there is no way that I’m using real mushrooms for my yule log cake. You might be wondering why I chose meringue to make the mushrooms for the cake instead of fondant or royal icing.
First off, you know I’m a classic, purist when it comes to my cakes and my decorations. I love the classics, done right. Whether is my perfect chocolate cake recipe or the only Southern cheese straw recipe you’ll need, I love a classic through and through. Perfect classics are my thing. So, meringue for the mushroom decor it is. Plus, the soft, pliable meringue is perfect to make the mushrooms. It was meant to be!
Meringue is a type of dessert made from whipping egg whites and sugar together. If you whip the egg whites and sugar long enough and hard enough, air will get inside and turn it from a liquid into a fluffy cloud or soft marshmallow like texture. I like to put cream of tartar in my meringue to help stabilize it and give some structure to the mixture. This let lets the whipped mixture form peaks or stand up, otherwise it would fall flat once you stopped whipping. For the mushrooms, we aren’t forming peaks, we are forming the stems and the mushroom caps or tops.
Make Your Mushrooms
Here’s my recipe for how to make meringue mushrooms from scratch for your buche de Noel yule log cakes. I hope you love it for your festive holiday table just like I have for years!
Nothing says Christmas is near like one of these cakes on the counter, ready for guests and that big, Christmas eve meal in my house!Print
- Preheat oven to 200° and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Do not substitute wax paper for parchment paper.
- Place oven racks in the upper and lower position.
- Prepare a grease free piping bag by inserting an Ateco tip # 803 or 804 or a Wilton tip #12. Set a side.
- Separate egg whites and yolks. (Place yolks in a container and set aside. We will not use them for this recipe.) Place the room temperature egg whites and the cream of tartar into the bowl of an electric mixer. Use the whisk attachment.
- Whisk on low speed until soft peaks form. Turn mixer to high speed and gradually add the sugar. Continue to whisk until stiff, shiny peaks have formed. Sugar should be dissolved, if not, continue beating until smooth.
- Use a spatula to fill the pastry bag with meringue.
- Pipe mushroom caps on one pan and mushroom stems on the other pan.
- Bake the meringues for 1 ½ – 2 hours. When done, the meringues will release easily from the parchment.
- Turn the oven off and crack the door. Allow to cool.
- Once cooled, melt chocolate at 15 second intervals in the microwave. Be sure to stir after each 15 seconds.
- To attach the mushroom stems to the caps, use a toothpick or the end of a sharp knife to make a slight hole in the middle of the bottom of the mushroom cap. Spread melted chocolate on the bottom of the cap and gently insert the pointed end of the stem into the hole of the mushroom cap. Allow to dry.
- Once dry, lightly dust the mushrooms with unsweetened cocoa powder.
- Store in an airtight container. Can be made ahead and frozen.
Make sure your bowl and utensils are grease free
Don’t forget the cream of tartar. It really makes a difference in this recipe
Try to pipe the mushrooms caps and stems a consistent size for best baking
Test the meringues at 1 ½ hours. If they lift easily from the parchment paper they are done. If not, continue baking
Store in an airtight container or freeze.
Other Ways To Decorate Your Yule Log Cakes
In addition to the mushroom meringues, you’ll need to add a few more decorations to make your buche de Noel cakes look festive for the Christmas season. After all, my passion is in cake decorating and if what kind of cake designer would be if I didn’t give you a few more tips for taking your yule logs to the next level. The best part is that after you make the mushroom meringues, you don’t have to bake or make a thing to decorate your cakes. You can use what you have!
First things first with a buche de Noel cake is the snow. You have to dust your cake with powdered sugar to give it that snowy, woods effect, like it is a real log laying on the forest floor with mushrooms growing all around it and a dusting of snow on the top.
I like to sprinkle the top of the cake and the platter (and sometimes the table) to really pile on the snow. In the South, the only snow we get at the holidays is from the top of my buche de Noel cake!
Pro Tip For Dusting Cake With Snow
To dust the cake, put your powdered sugar in a fine mesh strainer, hold it over your cake and gently tap the strainer against your hand so that the sugar floats out of the strainer and gently falls on top of the cake. (Did I say gentle taps!?) Move the strainer around your cake and platter, tapping as you go to spread the snow out evenly across your cake. You can put as much or as little of the powdered sugar as you like.
Don’t Forget The Red & Green
In addition to snow and mushrooms on your cake, you’ll need that pop of red for the berries and the green from the pine needles or leaves. For the berries and leaves, you can use red and green royal icing and pipe on your decorations. But, I like to make it easy on my self (after all, I’ve just made the cake and the mushrooms from scratch) and use red, circular candies for the berries and sprigs of rosemary for the pine needles.
The cake decorations might be the most fun part of making a cake for me! After you’ve made this classic buche de Noel cake for your holiday table, I hope that you’ll come back and make these adorable and delicious little meringue mushrooms for your yule log decorations.
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Did You Make Minette’s Recipe?
Were you able to make these festive meringue mushrooms for your yule log cake decorations? Leave a recipe rating and comment to let me know.
I’d love to hear from you and answer any baking questions that you have.