SFoodie Advent Calendar, Day 9: Buche de Noel from Les Elements

The SFoodie Advent Calendar counts down the days before Christmas/Nondenominationalwinterholiday, one treat at a time.

Former Absinthe/Arlequin pastry chef Luis Villavelazquez is all about taking an innovative approach to dessert making. Owner of the new Les Éléments Pâtisserie stall at the Ferry Plaza Thursday and Saturday farmers' markets, Villavelazquez combines striking flavors and applies them to familiar desserts, thereby managing to make the familiar new. His profiteroles filled with blood cedarwood ganache are luscious little clouds with chocolate and roasted fruit flavors.

For the holidays, Villavelazquez is taking the European tradition of the bûche de Noël (Yule log), the classic filled cake rolled to look like, well, a log, and adding his own twists. He's offering two versions, each designed to serve 10: a chestnut mousseline wrapped with candy cap mushroom cake with caramel meringue frosting, and a cocoa cake with cara cara orange mousseline filling, iced with olive oil buttercream.

Les Éléments' impressive chestnut-candy cap bûche takes moist cake sweet with candy caps, then complements the flavor with earthy chestnut filling reminiscent of cinnamon and maple, both heightened by lightly torched caramel meringue. Subtle, delicate, and lightly sweet, it's a lovely change from the heavy bûches of Christmases past.

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