A classic Yule Log was something that was on my baking list for Christmas this year. Since we are at home for the holiday season, we have a lot of free time in hand. If baking something new excites you, then you should definitely make a Yule Log for Christmas.
I’m so glad to have accomplished this and I have a wonderful recipe to share with you. This recipe, though tricky, is very close to my heart because the process is so fulfilling! I hope you guys will make it and share this amazing accomplishment with me. If you do, I’d love to see your pictures, please tag me on Instagram, and don’t forget to use #Bakewithshivesh.
What is Yule Log?
A Yule Log (or bûche de Noël) is a traditional dessert served near Christmas, especially in Belgium, France as well as throughout the world. Made of sponge cake to resemble a miniature actual Yule Log, it is a form of sweet roulade.
The original Yule log recipe emerged during the 19th century. It is traditionally made from a genoise, generally baked in a large, shallow Swiss Roll pan. It is then iced, rolled to form a cylinder, and iced again on the outside. The most common combination is a basic yellow sponge cake and chocolate buttercream, though many variations that include chocolate cake, ganache, and icings flavored with espresso or liquors exist.
Yule logs are often served with one end cut off and set atop the cake or protruding from its side to resemble a chopped off branch. A bark-like texture is often produced by dragging a fork through the icing, and powdered sugar sprinkled to resemble snow. Other cake decorations may include actual tree branches, fresh berries, and mushrooms made of meringue or marzipan.
The name bûche de Noël originally referred to the Yule log itself and was transferred to the dessert only after the custom had fallen out of use, presumably during the first half of the 20th century. By 1945, it referred to the cake.
Main ingredients for Yule Log
- For the cake – Eggs are the most important ingredient that is needed for making this grand Yule Log. The recipe involves a spongy, airy cake that is made by beating eggs with sugar and then folding in egg whites. So imagine the importance of eggs and how it totally changes the game in this recipe! We make a chocolate cake for this recipe since it’s a chocolate yule log and perfectly complements the ganache filling that goes inside. However, if you don’t want to make a chocolate yule log, you can make a vanilla cake by substituting the amount of cocoa with the same amount of flour or the strawberry swiss roll from my new book. It’s also strawberry season so it’s the best alternative to this version of the chocolate yule log. If you don’t have a copy of my new book, you can order it here on Amazon.
- For the filling – We use a rich and creamy ganache for the filling because it’s a chocolate Yule Log and there’s no denying the fact that I love chocolate. We also use the same ganache to cover our swiss roll. I recommend using the best quality chocolate you can get your hands on because it totally elevates the taste of this Yule Log.
Sponge cake vs Genoise cake vs Chiffon Cake
A sponge cake contains absolutely no fat other than the one in the egg yolks, and the egg yolks and whites are usually beaten separately. I’ve made a chocolate sponge cake for this recipe.
The chiffon cake is a combination of a sponge and a genoise. It uses oil to give it a moist texture. The yolks are beaten with sugar and flour and other ingredients. The whites are beaten separately and then folded in.
Tips for making Yule Log
- Making the cake as light and airy as possible is necessary to ensure beautiful swirls in the Yule log. So make sure that you follow the recipe to the T and fold in the egg whites as gently as possible.
- The sponge cake needs to be warm while rolling the first time. It can be neither too hot nor too cold, or you’ll end up with cracks on the cake.
- The chocolate ganache filling needs to be stiff for the rolling to happen smoothly. So make sure you let your ganache stabilize for a few hours before you spread it on the cake.
- Don’t rush through the process. The making of Yule Log takes about 3-4 hours and if you rush through it, you might end up ruining your beautiful swiss roll. Enjoy the creative, slow process and trust me, the end results will be rewarding!
Assembling the Yule Log
The trickiest part of the recipe is assembling this Yule Log. There are high chances of the cake cracking so here’s a step by step to make the process easier for you-
- When the cake is out of the oven, let it cool for a few minutes. We don’t want it to be too hot or too cold while rolling. When it’s slightly warm, invert the cake onto a clean dish towel sprinkled with icing sugar.
- Remove the parchment paper from the top and sprinkle some more icing sugar. With a very gentle motion, roll the cake using the towel.
- Place on a wire rack to cool completely. Make the filling during this time.
- Once the cake has cooled, unroll it gently. Spread the filling evenly and reroll the cake. Chill in the refrigerator and you’re done!
During the rolling process, if your cake cracks slightly on the top, don’t fret because we’ll cover the top with ganache and your cracks won’t be seen! I decorate this beautiful log with swirls of ganache and some meringue mushrooms.
If you’re looking for more Christmas recipes, do make my Gingerbread Cookies which are eggless and easy to make!
Christmas Yule Log recipe
- 3 tablespoon flour
- 2 tablespoon cocoa
- 3 tablespoon cornflour
- 5 eggs
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoon caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Icing sugar to dust
- 1 + ½ cup heavy cream
- ¾ cup melted chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 230 degrees celsius. Butter a 17x12 inch baking pan, line it with parchment paper, and then butter and flour the paper.
- To make the cake, sift the flour, cocoa and cornflour into a bowl and set aside.
- Separate two eggs, and set aside the egg whites in a clean dry bowl. In another bowl, beat the two egg yolks, the three whole eggs and ½ cup sugar on high speed until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract.
- Fold the sifted flour into the egg mixture in two batches. Mix until just combined.
- Beat the egg whites until foamy. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and continue beating until the egg white forms stiff peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the flour and egg mixture in three batches. Do not overmix or you'll knock out all the air. Transfer the batter into a prepared baking pan and spread evenly.
- Bake for about 6-8 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the cake from the oven and immediately sprinkle confectioners' sugar over it. Invert the cake onto a clean dish towel, remove the parchment paper and sprinkle confectioners' sugar. Roll up the sponge with the towel. Place on a wire rack to cool.
- To make the filling, add the melted chocolate to heavy cream and mix well. Set aside to thicken slightly.
- Unroll the sponge. Spread with the filling and reroll the cake. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for a few hours. Just before serving, dust with confectioners' sugar, more ganache and some meringue mushrooms.