Today I'm sharing this beautiful, made from scratch Yule Log Cake which is also called a Bûche de Noël (so fancy). It's a light, airy chocolate sponge cake that is rolled up with a whipped cream filling and chocolate buttercream frosting on top.
Making a cake roll might seem overwhelming but it's really quite simple. I'll tell you all about it in this blog post. You might also like a Classic Pumpkin Roll which is one of the MOST popular recipes on my site and great for the holidays as well.
Have you always wanted to make a Yule Log?
You know what? This is the first time that I've ever made a Yule Log Cake. I'm 56 years old (as of 4 days ago) and it's something I've wanted to make since I was a little girl. Since I've always loved cookbooks and recipe magazines, I've seen the beautiful photos every holiday season and always thought, one day I will make that gorgeous cake. But for some reason, I never did because it seemed maybe a bit complicated having to roll a cake up like a burito. I mean, how does it not break apart, right? Well, I'm here to tell you, it's really not that hard. And you can do it too!
Why Making a Cake Roll is Not Difficult
I’m always hesitant to make any kind of “roll” cake because I think it’s going to be difficult and time consuming. It’s really not. As long as you grease your pan well, cover with parchment, grease again and dust with flour, the cake comes out easily. Once you've baked the cake, let it cool slightly then turn it out onto a kitchen towel that’s been dusted with powdered sugar and roll that baby up until it cools. Not that bad!
Plus, the batter comes together rather quickly and what's surprising about it is that there is no oil or butter in the cake. Yet it comes out so moist and tasty! The cake is very light and airy in texture. Which makes it perfect for having after a heavy holiday meal.
How to Make a yule log cake (bûche de noël)
- The first thing you do before mixing up the batter is prepare your jelly roll or half sheet pan. Grease it generously. I used non-stick cooking spray. Add parchment paper, and grease again and dust with flour. Set aside
- Next, beat up the egg yolks until thick, then add ½ cup of the sugar and beat until pale yellow.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl, then add to the egg mixture. Beat until smooth. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites & ¼ sugar.
- Pour batter into your prepared pan and distribute evenly.
- Spread a kitchen towel on the counter and sprinkle with powdered sugar. You will use that after it bakes. Bake the cake for just 20 minutes at 350°F. Let cake cool about 10 minutes, then turn out onto prepared towel. Roll up the cake with the towel. Let it cool.
- Beat whipped cream with powdered sugar. Unroll cooled cake and spread whipped cream. Then roll it up again and place on plate, seam down.
- Make chocolate frosting and spread over cake log. Garnish with rosemary, cranberries and dust with powdered sugar, if desired.
How to Make the Yule log cake Filling
- Pour very cold heavy whipping cream into a large bowl.
- With an electric mixer on low, gradually add the powdered sugar.
- Once combined, turn up speed to medium high and beat until medium peaks form.
- Spread onto cooled cake (after you unroll it, of course).
How to make Sugared Cranberries
If you want to garnish your Christmas Yule Log with sugared cranberries, here's how you do it.
• First make a little bit of simple syrup (just equal amounts sugar and water, heated until sugar is dissolved).
• For this recipe, you only need ½ cup of simple syrup - ¼ cup water + ¼ cup sugar.
• Dip a handful of cranberries in the simple syrup, then transfer to a plate to dry.
• Once they are dry, the cranberries should feel sticky to the touch. Dip in granulated sugar and use to garnish your cake.
You might also like these holiday cake recipes…
So what do you think? Are you going to make a Christmas Yule Log for your holiday dessert table this year? It's actually sort of exciting to roll up a cake in a kitchen towel. There's a real feeling of accomplishment when you realize that it's going to work and the cake can roll up without breaking apart. Then you let it cool and you're home free. Lather on that light and fluffy whipped cream, roll it up and spread on the most delicious homemade chocolate buttercream.
I hope you'll come out of your comfort zone like I did and make this festive Bûche de Noël!
Happy Baking and Merry Christmas!
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Yule Log Cake (Bûche de Noël)
For the sponge cake
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 large eggs, room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar, divided
For the filling
- 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
For the chocolate frosting
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened or 1 stick
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar plus more for garnish
- 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
Chocolate Curls, Sugared Cranberries (see notes) & Fresh Rosemary for garnish, if desired
For the sponge cake
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper, grease with cooking spray before and after paper. Dust with flour. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat egg yolks until thick with an electric mixer. Slowly add ½ cup granulated sugar and beat until pale yellow. Add flour mixture and beat until combined.
- In another large bowl, beat egg whites with and electric mixer until soft peaks form. Slowly add remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into batter in tow batches. Pour batter into pan and spread in an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Dust a clean kitchen towel with powdered sugar and invert warm cake onto towel. Peel off parment paper. Starting at the short end, use the towel to tightly roll cake into a log. Let cool completely.
For the filling
- In a large bowl, beat cream and powdered sugar until medium peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- When cake is cool, unroll and spread filling evenly over cake. Roll cake back into a log, using towel to help create a tight roll. Place seam side down on a baking sheet or serving plate. Trim the ends to create a clean cut (it looks prettier this way).
For the chocolate frosting
- In a large bowl using a mixer, beat butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar and cocoa powder and beat until no clumps remaing. Beat in vanilla, cream and salt. Spread onto cake roll, top and sides. Garnish with cranberries, rosemary and a dusting of powdered sugar, if desired. It's ready to serve. Store leftover cake in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
All text and images © Lise Ode for Mom Loves Baking. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe. Disclaimer: Nutrition information shown is not guaranteed to be accurate. This post may contain affiliate links.