Yule Log (Bûche de Noël)

Bûche de Noël

Bûche de Noël

By Cat, December 2008 (Photo, left, of an elaborate Bûeche de Noël, from Wikimedia Commons)

Includes: 1. Yule Log (Ingredients and Assembly); 2. Chocolate Genoise Sheet Cake (for Yule Log); See also: 1. Chocolate, Coffee or Mocha Buttercream; 2. Chocolate or Coffee Pastry Cream; 3. Holiday Recipes Menu

I used to make this dessert for my annual Christmas tree decorating party.  But when I started traveling so much for my job, I no longer had the time to host the party, and I’d totally forgotten about how wonderful this is, until I had it today at a Christmas Day dinner.

It really is a fairly simple dessert, unless you decide to go overboard with the decorating of your log.  Basically, it is a chocolate genoise sheet cake (such as you would make for a jelly roll), rolled with a chocolate or coffee pastry cream or butter cream filling, then dusted sparingly with powdered sugar “snow” (as in photo, below).  Or it can be more elaborately decorated to resemble a log in the forest, with marzipan mushrooms and herb greenery, as in photo above.

Refer to The Food Network (2) for an excellent recipe, quite detailed.  Or for a simpler version, see How Stuff Works (3).  Or try my version below.

Yule Log

I do not recommend using unrefined powdered cane sugar for this dessert, as it is lightly tan in color and will not look like snow, but be sure to use powdered cane sugar, to avoid sugar from GMO beets.

Ingredients & Equipment:


  1. Prepare sheet cake in jelly roll pan.  Place sheet of cake on clean cotton dish towel.  Roll towel, rolling up the cake as the towel is rolled.  Place on clean baking sheet and chill in oven.
  2. Remove rolled cake from oven and unroll.  cover cake with pastry cream or buttercream filling, within 1 inch of each edge.  Carefully roll up cake and filling.  Place seam edge down on serving plate.
  3. Dust with powdered sugar “snow”.  Or, for a more elaborate presentation, see Assembly Ideas, below.

Assembly ideas

To decorate the roll, so that it looks like a log in the forest; see also The Food Network (2) for more ideas:

  • Sprinkle cocoa powder over the surface (or cover with chocolate buttercream, streaking with wavy strokes, to resemble bark),
  • Attach marzipan mushrooms here and there, and then dust sparingly with a bit of powdered sugar to resemble a dusting of snow.  Or, position candied cherries here and there, to resemble holly berries, then add a few marzipan holly leaves to accent the berries.
  • You can also cut off a diagonal portion from one end and position it on top of the main log, with the roll showing on the top, to resemble a stump of a branch, before decorating.

Chocolate Genoise Sheet Cake

Not quite flourless, from The Art of Fine Baking, by Paula Peck.  Eggs are best at room temperature, for the whites to beat well. See also Aerating Eggs & Sugar, such as for egg-leavened cakes for more detail.

I like to use a cocoa powder that is half regular and half Dutch-process, or use half of each type in this recipe.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • pinch Unrefined sea salt
  • ¼ cup Rapadura sugar
  • ½ tsp real vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp unbleached white flour
  • 2 Tbsp Organic cornstarch
  • ¼ cup dark, unsweetened cocoa powder, or Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 11″ x 16″ jelly-roll pan
  • waxed paper or baking parchment


  1. Set rack in middle of oven, and preheat to 400°F.  Grease pan and line with waxed paper.  Grease and lightly flour paper.
  2. Separate eggs.  Add salt to whites and beat until will hold stiff peaks.  Beat in sugar, 1 Tbsp at a time.  Continue beating until very firm, about 5 minutes total.
  3. Stir yolks with fork to break them up, then stir in vanilla.  Fold ⅓ of the stiff whites into the yolks, then pour over remaining whites.
  4. Sift flour, cornstarch and cocoa together, onto the egg mixture.  Fold together very gently, until no bits of white show.  It’s best to use your hand to do the folding.  Do not overmix.
  5. Pour into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven 10-12 minutes, until very lightly browned.  Do not overbake.
  6. Gently loosen sides; lift paper and cake out of pan, and place on rack to cool.  Carefully remove waxed paper after cake is thoroughly cooled.  Cake should be flexible from end to end, so that it can be rolled.


  1. The Art of Fine Baking, by Paula Peck (see Beloved Cookbooks for more detail)
  2. The Food Network recipe and decorating details (foodnetwork.com/recipes/saras-secrets/buche-de-noel-recipe/index.html)
  3. How Stuff Works recipe and simpler decorating details (recipes.howstuffworks.com/buche-de-noel-recipe.htm

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