A Christmas Tea: Yule Log

3 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee granules or crystals
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons hot water
Meringue Mushrooms

Heat oven to 375°. Line 15x10x1-inch pan with foil or waxed paper; grease with shortening or cooking spray. In small bowl, beat eggs with electric mixer on high speed about 5 minutes or until very thick and lemon colored. Pour eggs into large bowl; gradually beat in 1 cup granulated sugar. Beat in 1/3 cup water and the vanilla on low speed. Gradually add flour, baking powder and salt, beating just until batter is smooth. Pour into pan, spreading batter to corners.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately loosen cake from edges of pan; invert onto towel generously sprinkled with powdered sugar. Carefully remove foil. Trim off stiff edges of cake if necessary. While hot, carefully roll cake and towel from narrow end. Cool on cooling rack at least 30 minutes.

In chilled medium bowl, beat all filling ingredients on high speed until stiff. Unroll cake; remove towel. Spread filling over cake. Roll up cake.

In medium bowl, beat cocoa and butter on low speed until thoroughly mixed. Beat in powdered sugar until mixed. Beat in vanilla and enough of the hot water until frosting is smooth and spreadable.

For tree stump, cut off a 2-inch diagonal slice from one end of cake. Attach stump to one long side using 1 tablespoon frosting. Frost cake with remaining frosting. With a palette knife or the tines of fork, make strokes in frosting to look like tree bark. Garnish with mushrooms (below.)

Meringue Mushrooms

1/2 cup egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
4 ounces chocolate confectioners' coating

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
In a large glass or metal bowl, use an electric mixer to whip egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla. Continue whipping until the whites hold soft peaks. Gradually sprinkle in the sugar so that it does not sink to the bottom, and continue whipping until the mixture holds stiff shiny peaks.

Place a round tip into a pastry bag, and fill the bag half way with the meringue. To pipe the mushroom caps, squeeze out round mounds of meringue onto one of the prepared cookie sheets. Pull the bag off to the side to avoid making peaks on the top. For the stems, press out a tiny bit of meringue onto the other sheet, then pull the bag straight up. They should resemble candy kisses. Do not worry about making all of the pieces exactly the same. The mushrooms will look more natural if the pieces are different sizes. Dust the mushroom caps lightly with cocoa using a small sifter or strainer.

Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until the caps are dry enough to easily remove from the cookie sheets. Set aside to cool completely. Melt the coating chocolate in a metal bowl over simmering water, or in a glass bowl in the microwave, stirring occasionally until smooth.
Poke a small hole in the bottom of a mushroom cap. Spread chocolate over the bottom of the cap. Dip the tip of a stem in chocolate, and press lightly into the hole. When the chocolate sets, they will hold together. Repeat with remaining pieces. Store at room temperature in a dry place or tin.