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 from 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 a better picture! 😀
The yule log recipe is our family recipe and we add chestnut paste for the little aha effect!
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. Often while 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 belief must have merged with the old beliefs or the yule log tradition may be derived from the fact that peasants had to pay tribute to their overlord 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, a 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 a swiss roll.
A roulade dough is prepared by separating the egg whites from the yolk and beating the egg whites to 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 a 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 its 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:
Easy Yule Log Recipe - Christmas Bûche de Noël Cake
For the dough:
- 4 Eggs yolk and egg whites separated
- 1 cup Sugar
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Sugar or regular sugar + few drops vanilla extract
- 1 1/8 cup All Purpose Flour
so that the dough doesn't stick:
- some Oil
For the syrup:
- 1/2 cup Water
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Rum dark variety preferred
For the Filling:
- 1 1/2 cups Chestnut Puree sweetened version
For the decoration:
- 7 ounces Chocolate baking more then 65% cocoa
- Raw marzipan/Almond paste to create little figures and food coloring optional
- 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.
- In this yule log recipe, the filling is with a chestnut paste. You can make your own or use a store bought ready made a chestnut paste. You can also use jam as a filling or flavored whipped cream or even chocolate!
- Decorate with Marzipan figurines by shaping your own raw marzipan paste into little cute shapes. I made once creepy looking marzipan figurines for Halloween, but you can use the same tips and recipe to make cute looking Christmas marzipan figurines.
More Christmas Recipes! 🎄
Dear Reader, when are you planning to make the yule log recipe?
Let us know in a comment further below!