Yule Log (Bûche de Noël)

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This is truly one of the most stunning holiday desserts of all time. And it’s easier to make than you might think.

When you bring this out at your holiday party, you will be amazed at the response. The steps for making this incredible cake take a little time and tender-loving care, but we show you the foolproof steps (in detail) to get it right every single time. And the taste is as good as the presentation!

A straight-on view of a yule log that is sitting on a rectangular white platter and is topped with sugared cranberries and sprigs of rosemary all topped with sprinkled powdered sugar.

How To Make a Yule Log (Bûche de Noël)

 

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The Tools and the Ingredients You Will Need

Here are the tools you’ll need to have on hand to make this amazing dessert:

  • 10×15″ pan (or 12×17″ for thinner cake)
  • Parchment paper
  • Large smooth kitchen towel
  • Small sieve (for dusting)

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to have on hand:

For the Cake:
Flour – All-purpose is great. Cake flour works well, too.
Cocoa powder – Unsweetened.
Baking powder – Check the date, and make sure it isn’t past its prime.
Salt – Kosher is great.
Eggs – Room temperature. Don’t separate them until ready to start baking.
Sugar – Granulated.
Butter – Unsalted. Melted and slightly cooled.
Vanilla extract – Go with a good-quality brand, if possible.

For the Filling:
Heavy cream – Or double cream, or heavy whipping cream.
Powdered sugar – Also known as “confectioner’s sugar” or “icing sugar.”
Vanilla extract

For the Icing:
Butter – Unsalted.
Chocolate – Semi-sweet chips.
Sour cream – Make sure it’s fresh.
Powdered sugar

EXPERT TIP: As you fold the egg whites and flour mixture into the egg yolk mixture, be gentle. Gently stir the batter until fully combined. If you over-mix the batter, you will deflate the air out of the egg whites, and won’t get as fluffy (or spongy) of a cake. Be sure to spray your pan and parchment paper with cooking spray before adding the batter.

A person using a white spatula to transfer a chocolate cake batter from a mixing bowl onto a baking sheet that is lined with oiled parchment paper.

Use a Smooth Towel When RollingA smooth kitchen towel that has been liberally dusted with cocoa powder is your best tool for easily (and carefully) rolling the warm sponge cake. Terrycloth tends to stick to the cake. Wax paper or parchment paper will work, too.

Chill the Yule Log Before Icing – Allow the filled Yule Log to chill in the refrigerator for a short time before applying the chocolate icing to ensure the filling sets and the cake is firm for easy handling. Also, make sure the icing has completely cooled and thickened before applying it to the rolled cake.

Decorate with Finesse – Don’t forget to garnish the Yule Log. Use a fork and a very light touch to create a rustic, wood-like texture in the icing. The addition of sugared cranberries and sugared fresh rosemary adds a wonderfully festive appearance.

EXPERT TIP: Don’t over-bake the cake. Just as the sides start to pull away from the pan, and when you lightly touch the top of the cake and it doesn’t deflate, the cake is ready. Let it rest for no more than 5 minutes, and then turn the pan on its side and use your free hand to help guide the cake out of the pan. Then roll with care. Rolling the cake while it is still warm is critical. 

Two photos with the first being a person guiding a chocolate sponge cake out of the baking pan and then that person rolling the cake with a kitchen towel.

How To Serve

This dessert is without a doubt a true show-stopper.

You can make it a day in advance of serving, but you’ll want to carefully cover the log in plastic wrap to keep it from drying out and keep it refrigerated. Take it out of the fridge 1 to 2 hours before serving.

Be sure to place the log on the platter you intend to serve it on before icing it. The rosemary and cranberries are for garnish and are not intended for guests to consume.

EXPERT TIP: Don’t overfill with the cream filling. You’ll want to spread about a ¼ to ½-inch layer of the cream with a ½-inch border along the edges. As you are rolling up the log, try not to press down too much as this will push the filling out of the roll. If after you’ve rolled up the cake there is excess filling at the seam or the edges, simply use a knife to gently scrape it away from the log.

Two images with the first being a person using a spatula to spread whipped cream over an unrolled chocolate sponge cake and then the cake being rolled up.

How To Decorate

A super cute garnish for a Yule Log (Bûche de Noël) is meringue mushrooms. Click here for a good recipe for them.

We love the simple garnishes of sugared cranberries and rosemary with a simple dusting of powdered sugar over the top.

Soak the berries and rosemary in simple syrup (recipe in directions), let dry, and then roll around in sugar on a plate. Place them on the top of the log and along the edge of the base.

Before adding any garnishes, use a fork to create log-like indentions in the icing. Gently pull it along the top and sides of the icing. It’s okay if the indentions aren’t in a perfectly straight line. When they are a little wavy, they look more realistic.

A person using the end of a dinner fork to form bark-like formations in chocolate icing on top of a yule log.

Other Incredible Holiday Dessert Recipes To Try

There are so many reasons to love the holiday season, and the sweet treats are definitely one of the best reasons. Here are some of our all-time favorite holiday recipes:

Christmas Bundt Cake
Holiday Chocolate Toffee
Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies
Classic Red Velvet Cake
Snickerdoodle Fudge
Snickerdoodle Cookies
Biscotti with Pistachios and Dried Cherries
Classic Pecan Pie

These are all amazing and so festive. But, in the meantime, isn’t this incredible cake catching your eye?

A close-up view of the end of a yule log with the interior circular chocolate sponge cake the envelopes a white filling an is topped with chocolate frosting and powdered sugar.

This truly is one of the most beautiful and festive Christmas desserts of all time.

It may look and seem daunting to make at home, but if you follow these steps, make sure you’ve read through the recipe completely before getting started, and have some patience, you’ll have no problems!

Even though you and gets may not want to cut into your beautiful creation, once everyone has that first bite, it will become a family holiday tradition!

A slice of a yule log sitting on a white dessert plate next to a festive holiday mug filled with black coffee.

Ready to make the most epic holiday dessert ever? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

A straight-on view of a yule log that is sitting on a rectangular white platter and is topped with sugared cranberries and sprigs of rosemary all topped with sprinkled powdered sugar.

Yule Log Yule Log (Bûche de Noël)

This Yule Log is truly a show-stopper holiday dessert that may seem intimidating to make, but if you read through the recipe from start to finish, be sure to follow each step closely, and give yourself enough time, you will have no problem making this in the comfort of your very own kitchen. and just wait until you hear the rave reviews! Have fun and Happy Holidays!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Christmas cake recipe, Holiday Dessert Recipe, how to make a yule log
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Chilling and Resting Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 57 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 634kcal

Equipment

  • Stand mixer and/or hand mixer
  • 15x10" pan
  • Parchment paper
  • Smooth kitchen towel or wax paper
  • Fine mesh strainer

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus extra for dusting the towel.
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • 6 large eggs separated, room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar divided
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter melted, slightly cooled
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Cooking spray

For the Sugared Cranberries and Rosemary

  • 1 cup water
  • cup sugar divided
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 6 rosemary sprigs

For the Filling

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Icing

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter 4 tbsp
  • 6 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 oz sour cream
  • cups powdered sugar plus extra for dusting the cake

Instructions

Make the Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
    ¾ cup all-purpose flour, ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer (or using a hand mixer and a bowl), add the room-temperature egg whites. Use the whisk attachment on HIGH to begin whipping the egg whites. After about 1 minute of whipping, gradually add ¼ cup of the sugar. Continue whipping on HIGH until soft peaks form, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the whisk attachment and use a spatula to transfer the egg whites to a large bowl. Use a paper towel to wipe out excess whites in the bowl (it doesn't need to be 100% clean).
    6 large eggs, ¾ cup sugar
  • Place the bowl back in the base of the mixer and re-attach the whisk. Place the egg yolks in the bowl and turn the mixer to HIGH. Beat the eggs for about 1 minute, and then gradually add the sugar, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Continue whipping on HIGH until the mixture is a pale yellow and thickened, about 4 minutes.
    3 tbsp unsalted butter, 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Remove the bowl and use a large spatula to fold in half of the whites and half of the flour mixture. Be gentle. It's okay if you see some white streaks from the egg whites. Fold in the rest of the egg whites and flour mixture. Gently mix until completely combined.
  • Spray the pan liberally with cooking spray. Place parchment paper on the pan and spray again with the cooking spray.
    Cooking spray
  • Gently transfer the batter from the bowl to the prepared pan. Use a spatula to softly smooth the batter to the edges of the pan.
  • Bake for 12 to 13 minutes, or until the edges of the cake just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and the cake feels slightly spongey when pressed.
  • While the cake is baking, place a large smooth kitchen towel on a large cutting board or any smooth surface. Use a small sieve to dust cocoa powder liberally all over the towel.
  • Remove the cake from the oven onto a rack. Let rest for about 5 minutes (no longer). Use a sharp knife, or offset spatula, to run along the edge of the cake, helping to loosen it completely from the sides.
  • Carefully tip the pan on its side and use your hand to help guide the cake onto the prepared towel. (You may need to use a small towel to hold the pan since it will still be hot). Peel the parchment paper from the cake and discard.
  • Starting from the short side of the cake, use the towel to help you slowly and carefully roll the cake (with the towel). Let the cake rest (seam side down) in a cool place in your kitchen until completely cooled (1 to 2 hours).

Make the Sugared Cranberries and Rosemary Sprigs

  • Add the water and sugar to a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Once the water is hot, stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Place the cranberries and rosemary in the water. Once fully coated, remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate to dry for about 30 minutes, or up to several hours.
    1 cup water, 1½ cup sugar
  • Add about ½ cup of sugar to a plate and place the cranberries and rosemary into the sugar, moving them around to fully coat. Place in the refrigerator until ready to garnish the cake.
    1 cup fresh cranberries, 6 rosemary sprigs

Make the Cream Filling

  • Using a hand mixer (or your stand mixer), whip together the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form, about 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside.
    1 cup heavy whipping cream, ¼ cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract

Make the Chocolate Icing

  • About 1 hour before assembling the cake, make the icing by melting the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the chocolate chips and stir until completely melted. Turn off the heat and stir in the sour cream.
    ¼ cup unsalted butter, 6 oz semisweet chocolate chips, 4 oz sour cream
  • Gradually add the powdered sugar, and continue stirring until completely combined and the icing has come together. Let rest until completely cool.
    2¼ cups powdered sugar

Assemble and Garnish the Cake

  • Once the cake is completely cooled, carefully unroll it on the cutting board. The ends of the cake will be slightly curled, this is normal.
  • Use a spatula to spread about a ¼-inch thick layer of the cream filling, leaving about a ½-inch border along the edges. You may not use all of the cream, don't add too thick a layer of the filling, otherwise, you'll have difficulty rolling the cake.
  • Using the towel to help, carefully roll the cake into a log (only use the towel to help you roll it somewhat tightly, don't let the towel roll with the cake).
  • If any excess filling was pressed out of the cake, use a knife to scrape it away and save it for another use.
  • Place the cake, seam side down, on your serving platter. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or up to overnight.
  • Remove the plastic wrap and if desired, use a large sharp knife to slice the ends off of the cake. You may need to use a small damp paper towel to clean up the ends if any of the cream filling is smeared over the sides of the cake.
  • Spread the icing all over the top and sides of the cake (you may not use all of the icing).
  • Use a fork to gently create streaks across the cake that resemble the bark on a tree. Place the sugared rosemary sprigs and cranberries on the top of the log and along the base of it. Use a fine-mesh sieve to sprinkle powdered sugar along the top of the log. Serve at once, or gently cover until ready to serve.

Notes

See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel
Be sure to read through the entire recipe before getting started. 
A smooth kitchen towel will help you roll the cake without it sticking to the towel. A terrycloth may cause sticking. You can use wax paper or parchment paper if you don't have a smooth towel. 
Don't overstuff the cake with the filling. You will most likely have some extra filling and icing left over. You won't have trouble finding a way to use up the extra!
The cake can be made up to 1 day in advance. Keep covered and in the fridge until about an hour before you plan to serve. Leftovers will keep (covered) in the fridge for up to 5 days. The cake can be frozen for 2 to 3 months. 

Nutrition

Calories: 634kcal | Carbohydrates: 94g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 209mg | Sodium: 219mg | Potassium: 329mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 102g | Vitamin A: 1047IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 100mg | Iron: 3mg
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