Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas Log Cake - Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet Say Hi !

Yesterday, 6th December was a very important day for kids in Belgium (and Netherlands). Yesterday was the day that Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) would come from Spain on a steamboat with his black assistant Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) and climb through the chimney with a bag of presents, and they would leave (maybe also by steamboat?) after they have deposited their presents for the kids. Only "brave kindjes" (not brave as in English, but well-behaved as in Dutch) will get a "cadeautje" (present) from De Sint.

So yesterday was a day of great excitement for my son at his kindergarden. Apparently, 4 Zwarte Pieten arrived in school and he got a packet of sweets and chocolates from them. We had already, oops sorry, I meant Sinterklaas had already come and left behind presents for my son at the fireplace in our house, earlier on 1st December. We told him Sinterklaas was very busy and would have to come earlier, otherwise he would not be able to return to Spain in time. Traditionally, Sinterklaas would come on the morning of 6th December to deliver presents to households with kids. But the truth is, we didn't want him to be overwhelmed with excitement and get too late for school or worst still, refusing to go to school at all, so we "asked" Sinterklaas to come earlier.

Last night, I specially baked and decorated a Christmas Log Cake with Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet (unfortunately he is white instead of black since I bought white chocolate!) so that my boy can bring to school this morning on 7 Dec, since today is his last day in school before he goes on long vacation with mama. And I also bought some smurf speculaas for all the kids in his class. Smurfs, by the way, originate from Belgium, and speculaas/speculoos is a typical gingerbread type of spice biscuit in Belgium and Netherlands.

But the weather forecast has already warned yesterday that there will definitely be a major snowstorm today starting from early morning, in fact the whole country will be greeted by inches of snow the moment we wake up. So it will be quite a humongous task for my hubby who has to conquer slippery, snow-covered, bumpy roads in order to bring an excited boy plus a delicate cake to school. I wonder if the cake will be well-received by the kids? Can't wait to hear the story from my son... :)

[Updated on 29 Dec 2012]
Finally I can afford to set aside half an hour of my tightly-packed schedule in Singapore to update the christmas log recipe, I am afraid that if I happen to forget updating the recipe, it will remain a mystery, and this won't do justice to the blogger who so kindly shared the recipe with the rest of us. ;p

Anyway, here it is. This christmas log cake recipe was adapted from Grace Kitchen Corner. I happen to have a copy of the same recipe book 孟老师的美味蛋糕卷 so I also referred to the original recipe in that book for reference. I made 2 sponge cakes, based on the sponge cake recipe and I cut them into 3 portions each, so that I got 6 sheets of sponge cakes. Then I spread some apricot marmalade jam onto the sponge cakes and rolled them up one by one just like a tree log. The white chocolate figurines were bought from ALDI supermarket in Belgium, they cost only 1.99 euro for 1 big bag! The Swiss Meringue Chocolate Buttercream was adapted from Baking Library, and the tree bark effect was achieved by using a fork to make imprints on the frosting. Just a small note, I realised that the chocolate buttercream melted too quickly even under (winter) room temperature of 20 degrees celsius, so I am doubtful if it is suitable for tropical weather like Singapore. In fact, I had to put the chocolate frosting and the cake outside in the cold (freezing zero!) a couple of times to harden it.

I am submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #26 - Creative Christmas Motive Bakes hosted by Alan of Travellingfoodies.


  1. hi,
    your post reminds me of my childhood while I was still living in Indonesia
    Indonesia is very much Dutch influenced, so yes, Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet was a part of my many Christmases
    I was so scared of Zwarte Piet, the black face man holding a big sack to put naughty kids inside LOL

    your log cake is really good! :)

    1. Hi Alice,
      I know that Indonesia was a Dutch colony but I didn't know that even Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet were "imported" into Indonesia! So were there really people dressed up as Zwarte Piet, with their faces painted black?

      If I were a kid, I would be scared too! hehe.

      For my log cake, I got the inspiration from Grace (Kitchen corner). Will update with the adapted recipe soon!

  2. We lived in Zuid Holland as expats for 6 years and really miss this special time of year. I love the addition of chocolates on the cake and must search for those molds. Hope I can find some.

  3. Miss B, I know nuts about them but this log cake is so cute...!!! Unique:))

    1. Thank you Charmaine for your compliments, will post the recipe up soon! :)

  4. Ms B,
    This a very interesting post.
    I love to get to know more about the place you stay.
    Is Netherlands near to Belguim? Holland is Netherlands right?
    Sorry my geography is lousy :p

    I guess you are on holidays back in Singapire now!
    Hope you have a great holiday!!

    1. Yes, Netherlands is just north of Belgium, it is within short driving distance from where we stay. The north part of Belgium speaks the same language (Dutch) as Netherlands. But Holland is strictly speaking not equal to Netherlands, although people in Asia often refer to Netherlands as Holland. In fact, Holland is just a region on the west coast of Netherlands.

      Yes, I am on holidays now in SG.

    2. Hi Ms B,
      Thanks for the info.
      My hubby n I almost go to Holland for our honey moon trip few years back. At that time we travelling in London n Ireland. My brother in law is an Irish.

      We had bought the air tickets, booked accomodations to Holland and have booked a friend who is a Malaysia who stay in The Hague to visit her n her family. But something turn up we just had to cancel the trip. All my expense spent ...burnt :(

      I hope one day I can go visit Holland. I dream of the famous Holland garden Keukenhof. I love tulips n the holland wooden shoe..haha
      Hope I day I can go and I wanna go visit you:)


    3. Hi Mui Mui,
      Do drop me a mail when that day comes true, I dun know Netherlands that well though, but u can come to Belgium if you have time :)

  5. i miss sinterklaas and the holiday that came along with it when I was studying in Belgium! The log cake you made is really nice though - love how rustic it looks on the outside!

  6. Merry Christmas, Miss B. Love your Christmas Log Cake, it looks beautiful!

    By the way, Congratulations! You have been nominated for the Liebster Award -
    You really deserve it!

    1. Hi Veronica,
      Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you too!
      Thank you very much for the Liebster award. I am happy and thrilled, I have never received a blogger award. Thank you for the encouragement! :p


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