I made a Yule Log Cake (in French, Bûche de Noël) this year for dessert on Christmas! It was a yellow cake with custard inside and chocolate ganache icing on the outside. You can make one too!
The Yule Log Cake (Bûche de Noël) is a traditional dessert that’s served for Christmas in France and Quebec. Recently, people also make it in the U.S. and Britain. It’s traditionally a rolled up cake with a filling inside and icing on the outside. The rolled up cake gives it the shape of a log.
The Yule Log Cake is meant to resemble an actual Yule Log. The Yule Log is a specially chosen log that’s traditionally burned on the hearth on Christmas in many countries in Europe.
Decorating Yule Log Cakes
Yule Log Cakes are often made to resemble an actual log. For instance, mine had "mushrooms" made of marzipan on top. Other people make mushrooms out of meringue. I saw one that had green matcha powder sprinkled on top to look like moss!
If you’d prefer your log to look more Christmassy you can skip the "bark" and "mushrooms" and decorate it with whatever you like. You can add little Santa figurines or trees. One idea is to put some raspberries on top. You can also sprinkle confectioner’s sugar on top to look like snow. It looks pretty!
Yule Log Cakes take some time to prepare. I recommend making the custard filling and the ganache icing two days beforehand and refrigerate them. Then the cake can be made the day before and you can put it all together and decorate it. Refrigerate the cake until serving.
Recipe for Yule Log Cake (Bûche de Noël)
3/4 cup Cake Flour
1/8 cup Confectioner’s Sugar (+ a little extra)
1/2 t. Baking Powder
5 Eggs Separated
1/2 cup + 1/3 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3 Tablespoons Butter (melted and cooled)
1/4 t. Salt
1/4 t. Cream of Tartar
1 1/2 cups 2% Milk
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/4 cup + 1/3 cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla
3 T. Cornstarch
2 T. Butter (melted)
2 Egg Yolks
12 oz. Semi-sweet Chocolate (chips or chocolate chopped up)
1 cup Whipping Cream
Chocolate Bark (Optional)
8 ounces Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
Marzipan Mushrooms (Optional)
A tube of Marzipan
Some Cocoa Powder for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
1. Butter a 15 x 10 x 1" baking sheet. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan (it’s okay if it’s a little short on the edges). Then butter the top of the parchment paper while it’s in the pan.
2. In a bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder and confectioner’s sugar and mix. Set aside.
3. Beat together the egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar and the vanilla on medium high speed until thick. Mix in cooled, melted butter. Set aside.
5. Fold the egg white mixture (from step 4) into the egg yolk mixture (from step 3).
6. Fold sifted flour mixture (from step 2) into egg mixture (from step 5).
8. Cook for 12 – 15 minutes until the middle is springy to the touch.
9. Get a very clean kitchen towel that’s bigger than your cake. Sprinkle confectioner’s sugar on it.
11. Turn the pan upside down on the towel. Peel off the wax paper.
12. Roll the cake with the towel until it’s fully rolled up. Place on a rack to cool. This makes the cake more pliable later so you can roll it up with a filling without it breaking.
To Make the Custard Filling…
1. Slowly bring the milk, heavy cream and 1/4 cup of sugar to a boil over medium heat in a small saucepan.
3. Whisk in the cornstarch and 1/3 cup sugar.
4. Slowly add the milk/cream mixture (from step1) into the egg mixture. Then pour it all back into the saucepan.
5. Bring to a low boil, stirring the mixture continuously. Once it thickens, remove from heat.
6. Then mix in the melted butter.
7. Set aside to cool and refrigerate the custard if you’re making it in advance.
To Make the Chocolate Ganache…
1. Heat up the heavy cream in a small saucepan.
3. Mix until the chocolate is smooth and melted.
4. Put in a bowl and set aside to cool.
5. If you’re making it with the bark, let it cool enough so that it stays on the cake. If you’re skipping the bark and using the ganache like icing, let it cook longer until thicker. Once it’s thicker, beat with a mixer for a minute or two until fluffy.
If you make the ganache a day ahead of time, you should refrigerate it. Then take it out in advance to warm up. You can warm it in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time. If it gets too soft, let it sit until it hardens a bit.
[Read more about Ganache here.]
1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
2. Place the chocolate chips in a bowl over hot water until melted.
3. Spread the melted chocolate on the parchment paper until it’s about 1/8" thin.
4. Refrigerate until set. You can put it in the freezer for about 10 – 15 minutes to speed up the process.
5. Once it’s set, tear off 1" wide strips of chocolate. They can be different lengths to make the bark look more natural.
6. Set aside.
To Make the Marzipan Mushrooms (Optional)…
2. Make 1" balls (corresponding to the number of mushrooms you want to make). Roll the same number of mushroom stems.
3. Make hole in the ball with your finger and shape the ball to look like a mushroom. Push a stem into the indentation of the ball.
4. Roll in a little cocoa powder to give it a natural look.
To Assemble the Yule Log Cake
1. Unroll the cake. Take about 1 3/4 cups of the custard and spread it on the unrolled cake. (Don’t put too much custard or it will come out the sides of the cake when you roll it up.)
3. If desired, cut off a slice from the end of the cake that’s about 11/2" thick. Spread ganache on the cake where you’re going to place the slice (off-center is better). Place the slice on top of the cake. This will make it look like a branch was cut off the log.
4. Spread the ganache over the cake, covering the whole thing.
6. If desired, sprinkle a little cocoa powder over the chocolate bark to make it look more natural.
7. If desired, place mushrooms on the cake.
Photo of Yule Log with Raspberries: "Bûche de Noël facile" by Mathieu MD – Own work, c.c.
Photo of Yule Log with Elf/Sled Decorations: "Bûche de Noël chocolat framboise maison" by Jebulon c.c.
All other photos by Lisa Yannucci.
This article was posted on Thursday, December 31st, 2015 at 8:27 pm and is filed under Canada, Christmas, Christmas Cakes, Christmas Recipes, Countries & Cultures, Desserts, France, Holiday Recipes, Holidays Around the World, Recipes of the World, Yule Log Cake. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
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