Yule Log Recipe is a Christmas Roulade cake, common in French speaking countries and it’s neighbors.
The Yule Log is better known as Bûche de Noël in French and both names will tell you that the cake looks like a wooden tree branch.
So, how do you easily make a Yule Log look like a tree branch?
See further below the Yule Log recipe and how I and my mum prepared if form scratch.
We, my mother and I, actually prepared this yule log recipe last year and if you have been following me on instagram from the beginning, because I have an instagram account since last year only, you will know that I posted the very same Yule log end result picture.
See here what I mean…
So while that picture was rather mediocre and because the beautiful yule log, aka Bûche de Noël, was prepared a day before Christmas, I decided to keep the yule log recipe ready for you this year. Including better picture! 😀
The yule log recipe is our family recipe and we add chestnut paste for the little aha effect!
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What is a Yule Log/Bûche de Noël?
The yule log is a roulade cake aka swiss roll decorated into a gorgeous looking log of wood. Oftenwhile the filling is cream based and flavored with chocolate, however this depends on the regional tradition.
We for example tend to fill it with chestnut cream, which lends the Bûche de Noël all the more flavors!
Where do the names Yule Log and Bûche de Noël come from?
The name Yule Log apparently comes from the old Scandinavian and Germanic winter solstice festival known as “Yule”. A tree would be burned to celebrate the darkest time of the year and the people would celebrate their pagan gods.
At some point in the different regions in France, the catholic believe must have merged with the old believes or the yule log tradition may be derived from the fact that peasants had to pay tribute to their over lord with a gift of a log for Christmas. That’s where the name Bûche de Noël must have come from.
At the same time the log was still popular later in time because in a region in France they would place gifts under the log.
Does that somehow sound familiar to you?
Think, Christmas tree!
I highly suspect that the traditions merged, or in some cases separated from each other, so that pastry bakeries started to prepare Bûche de Noël for Christmas.
After all a wonderful cake roll as a gift does sound delicious. Don’t you think?
How to prepare a Yule Log/Bûche de Noël from scratch?
To prepare a yule log recipe from scratch you will need to follow the basic roulade recipe, which in some countries is known as swiss roll.
A roulade dough is prepared by separating the egg whites from the yolk and beating the egg whites to a stiff snow and adding sugar and flour to it.
The fluffy mass is then spread on a square shaped large baking tray with baking paper and baked for short time.
A filling is prepared and a thin layer is spread onto the baked cake mass, all this while it’s still hot. Then everything is rolled in to create the roulade (rolled in cake aka swiss roll).
Then, to turn the roulade into a beautiful yule log you need to cover and decorate the outer cake wall with a chocolate layer.
Tip: Use shape-able Marzipan (Almond Paste) to create little forest mushrooms, insects and greenery to place and decorate the yule log with.
We usually prepare the Yule log just a day before the 25th December and that for a few good reasons, including…
- the yule log is our Christmas dessert cake so it’s served on the 25th
- the yule log is best enjoyed when still fresh, that means within the 24 hours frame of it’s inception. This is because it tends to get dry and hard in a dry indoor environment.
- the yule log can be stored in an airtight container but the flavors are not the same so making it ahead is not recommendable. That doesn’t matter anyway because…
- …the yule log is easily prepared and it’s fun to decorate it too!
Easy Yule Log Recipe – Christmas Buche de Noel Cake [French Recipe] below:
- 4 Eggs - yolk and egg whites separated
- 120 grams Sugar
- 1 packet vanilla sugar = 2 teaspoons
- 120 grams All Purpose Flour
- some oil
- 100 milliliter water or 3.4 floz
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon dark Rum
- 350 grams sweetened Chestnut puree or 12.3 oz or around 1½ cups
- 200 grams cooking Chocolate
- optional: Raw marzipan/Almond paste to create little figures and food coloring
- Separate your egg yolks and egg whites, keep the egg whites at the side at first. First mix and beat your egg yolks with the sugar, vanilla sugar and all purpose flour until the content is almost light pastel yellow in color.
- Then beat your egg white stiff until you have a stiff snow. Test that the egg whites are stiff enough by turning the bowl with the snow upside down, the snow shouldn't fall out. Fold the egg whites carefully into the previously prepared egg yolk mixture. The aim should be that the mass remains fluffy to a certain extend and that the content is well incorporated. Don't mix the egg whites in but fold it in, this is important to keep the airiness in the mass!
- Preheat your oven to 200 Celsius/390 Fahrenheit.
- Keep a large rectangle baking tray ready with a baking sheet/parchment. Oil the baking sheet a bit with a kitchen brush. Add the whole mass on the parchment and spread it out evenly with a baking spatula. Bake the roulade dough for more or less 10 minutes golden brown at 200 Celsius/390 Fahrenheit.
- While the dough is baking prepare a syrup with the water, sugar and rum. Mix and heat it up until the sugar is molten. Then once the cake mass is baked but still warm pour the syrup equally all over the cake mass. This will help to keep the yule log nice soft and juicy from the inside.
- Next spread the chestnut puree equally all over the mass and roll in carefully to create the roulade/swiss roll.
- At last keep cooking chocolate to melt and cover the whole roulade evenly with the molten chocolate. Then cut off both ends diagonally and place on top of the chocolate on the yule log. This will give the impression of a log stump on both ends.
- Add the rest of the chocolate on all ends so that the yule log is completely covered in chocolate.
- At last you can add decoration such as marzipan figurine and icing sugar deco pieces. I made a mushroom and a snail of raw marzipan and painted them with some red food coloring. You can get creative at this point.
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Dear Reader, when are you planning to make the yule log recipe?
Let us know in a comment further below!