The battle is back and very much on! Yes, the moment is upon us for another 2 of the supermarket Yule Logs to fight it out - Sponge vs sponge, chocolate vs chocolate.. Which will reign almighty? Only time will tell.. It's M&S vs Waitrose!
M&S Christmas Hand Decorated Chocolate Yule Log
I shall start with the Bûche De Noël that I found first and coincidently, the most expensive of this Yuletides duo at an exceptionally pricey, £6. In all of it's 595g, festively red packaged glory, the log which is designed to feed 12, is also suitable for the Veggies and can be frozen, as long as used within a month and defrosted fully in the fridge before consumption - Would one ever really go to such effort? I get that the shops are manic come "Christmas Week" but surely, it's worth risking it all and going out for the good of a "fresh" Yule Log?
A light chocolate swiss roll filled with indulgent chocolate buttercream and generously covered in milk chocolate and a chocolate fudge frosting & delicately sparking sugar snow dusting.
I had a bit of a meltdown over choosing which Yule Log to buy from the selection stacking M&S's shelves. They all looked completely different in both shape and size with a noticeable weight discrepancy between the lot (As an avid baker, I am a bit nifty when it comes to guesstimating the mass of things so do pick me as a date on a trip to your local Fête - I will win the "Guess the cake weight" comp for you, no problem!). I ended up picking what I thought was the best of a bad bunch but even then, I can't say it was the prettiest thing in the world.. Or remotely centered on the silver cake board!
Smelling extremely chocolate-y, the Log cut into well into slices, with minimal mess thanks to being quite a bit firmer than the usual overly soft, no substance types, I've had previously - This helped when eating as for once, it didn't go everywhere! Cocoa rich and almost fudge like, the super thick, ganache like icing had a good bite to it yet was squishy enough to contrast against the set layer of chocolate before hitting the sponge. Fine, light and moist was that of the cake itself, with a good swirl from being rolled tightly and a slightly sweeter tasting buttercream spiralled throughout. Both of the elements brought different tones of chocolate-y flavour into the mix whilst preventing things from becoming overly sickly or cloying. Expensive.. But oh so good! A 4.5 of 5 from me.
Waitrose Christmas Chocolate Yule Log
Our second contender, coming with a delightful snowy box scene, this unbeknownst freezable Yule Log which is also available on Ocado, costs a whole £1 less at a fiver and once again has the nod of approval for vegetarians to consume.. Only 8 of them though given that it's approximate 480g is to feed an octet!
Chocolate sponge filled with chocolate buttercream, finished with a chocolate frosting and sweet dusting.
I tell you what, I don't know who's been looking after all these Yule Logs this year but they aren't half doing a shoddy job! My Waitrose had boxes and boxes of the things, all with generous sell by dates but no word of a lie, they all looked like they had been thrown down the stairs a fair few times, with bashed in cardboard and frosting everywhere but on the actual Chocolate branches, to match! Thankfully, I found one which was quite neat but the struggle was very much real - You'd think they would take more care, no?
Lobbing off the end of the Log, purely for the joy of excess of icing, I can't say it smelt as good as the above and was much "sloppier" with the chocolate going all over the place. Sadly, things didn't approve upon first bite with an immediate cheap/artificial taste being all to apparent - Nothing indulgent, buttery or something one would want to continue eating. Texture wise, things weren't all bad - The sponge was on the dry, claggy side but the buttercream itself was smooth and silky.. Even if totally one dimensional and lack lustre in taste. A 2 out of 5 from me.
We have a winner.. Standing out by a merry mile, the M&S Christmas Hand Decorated Chocolate Yule Log! It really is a case of chalk and cheese with the scrumptious aforementioned and the frankly, abysmal Waitrose offering - I am not even sure how the so called "top class" store is justifying the price tag when it lacks any sort of quality. Save up your pennies, stop being a freezer happy hermit and splurge on the real deal - Well done M&S!
Reaching for Reflection
Having also bought the winner of 2015's battle, The Tesco Finest Belgian Chocolate Log again this year, I have come to the realisation that it is a hell of a lot sweeter and overall, much more "ooey gooey, overkill of frosting, cake" than what perhaps a Yule Log should be. This isn't a bad thing by any means and it is as indulgent and delicious as ever.. But something to bear in mind if you are looking for a more traditional, richer option. Best bet is to go with M&S, I reckon, even if it is less attractive - Sometimes you do get what you pay for in terms of calibre, I'm afraid! ..Unless you're Waitrose, then naturally, you just take all kinds of liberties.