Prue Leith's Christmas Dessert Idea For Beginner Bakers - Exclusive

It's a scenario many of us have been in at some point in our lives: Someone asks us to attend a Christmas party. "Great," we say, "what should we bring?" The response? "Dessert." Oh no, clearly the person hosting the party has no idea that you've never baked anything in your life. Never fear, because Prue Leith is here to help.

Leith is well-known for her reassuring presence and fair judging on "The Great British Bake Off." She is certainly well-qualified as a culinary expert and educator, having founded culinary schools in the U.K. and in her native South Africa. If anyone can help a novice baker create a sugary showstopper for a holiday, it's Leith.

In an exclusive interview with Tasting Table, Leith said that even beginner bakers should be able to produce good results if they can follow directions. "If you can read the recipe and do what you're told, you'll get on all right." The chef and author got to experience that firsthand as a judge for "The Great American Baking Show: Celebrity Holiday Special." Several of the celebrity bakers were able to produce beautiful cream puffs and cakes despite having little to no prior baking experience.

Getting back to our Christmas baking conundrum, Leith recommends a dessert that will be sure to wow the guests at any party. It seems a little complicated at first, but as long as you follow Prue's advice, it can't fail.

A Christmas Yule log can't miss

When you think of Christmas cake, fruitcake might be the first thing that comes to mind, but it's actually quite difficult to make, and many people don't like fruitcake anyway. As Prue said, "To make a proper Christmas cake, it takes ages — lots of fruit, you need marzipan and decoration and icing, and it's a whole performance." Instead, she recommended a very different style of cake: a Yule log. It comes together much more quickly, and it ends up looking quite impressive.

To make it, bake a chocolate sponge cake "in a Swiss roll tin like a flat sheet, then roll it up with lots of whipped cream inside. Then you put chocolate butter icing all over it and mark it with a fork to make it look like the bark of a log." Leith reassured us that "It's very easy to do" and, if you make it from scratch, it "might take an hour altogether, and another 10 minutes to decorate it."

If baking, rolling, and decorating a sponge cake doesn't meet your definition of easy, there is, of course, another option. Leith told us, "If you can buy a good log-shaped rolled chocolate cake, why not? As long as the product is good, I have no problem with people buying stuff — although I would rather you baked it, and I'd rather you use my recipe."

You can watch "The Great American Baking Show: Celebrity Holiday Special" now on The Roku Channel.