Get ready to buche up this Noel if you haven’t attempted the Yule log recipe because you believed it required sophisticated baking and pastry skills; the techniques necessary are actually fairly simple. Due to a rich, easy-to-make chocolate sponge cake and mocha buttercream filling, this traditional Christmas dessert is a showstopper but frequently tastes better than it looks. rosemary and meringue mushrooms are used as decorations here.
How Do Yule Logs Work?
A Yule log cake, also known as a bûche de Nol, is a customary Christmas treat designed to resemble a real log. In a Swiss roll pan, a sponge cake is baked, filled, rolled into a cylinder, and then frosted once more.
The yule log custom has a long history: In the past, people in Northern Europe would celebrate Yule, also known as Yuletide. On a hearth, a special log was burned during the occasion. Although the origin of this tradition is unknown, it is probably what gave rise to the celebratory cake.
Creating a Yule Log:
This simple Yule log begins with a traditional roulade. The complete, step-by-step recipe can be found below, but here is a quick rundown of what to expect when making this Yule log:
Frosting a Yule Log:
The Yule log is ready to frost once it has been filled and rolled. Simply combine the hot cream and chocolate chips to create the ganache frosting. After trimming the log’s ends, cover the cake with a ganache layer. Make ridges in the frosting with a knife or fork. Keep going until the log looks like tree bark.
How to Keep a Yule Log Safe:
The Yule log should be wrapped loosely in storage wrap and kept in the refrigerator for up to three days or frozen for up to three months (thaw overnight in the refrigerator).
To the Cake:
2 1/2 ounces of melted butter, toasted hazelnut oil, or pistachio oil (about 1/3 cup; 70g)
Dark chocolate between 85% and 100%, 2 1/2 ounces, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup; 70g); see remarks
1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon; 15g) of vanilla extract
8 3/4 ounces; 250 grammes; 5 big eggs
5 3/4 ounces (about 3/4 cup; 165g) of sugar
1 tablespoon of powdered instant espresso
Baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon
One-half teaspoon (2g) Kosher Diamond Crystal salt; for table salt, use the same weight or about half as much by volume.
A half-teaspoon of baking soda
1 1/4 ounces (or 2 1/2 tablespoons; 35g) of water
3 3/4 ounces (or around 3/4 cup, spooned; 106g) of bread flour
Applied to the Ganache Frosting:
12 ounces (or 1 1/2 cups; 340g) of heavy cream
12 ounces of dark chocolate, between 55% and 75%, or a combination thereof, finely chopped (approximately 2 heaping cups; 340g)
To taste, add salt and vanilla.
2 cups whipped cream, buttercream, or other frosting that has been sweetened; see notes (weight will vary)
As a garnish:
Matcha powder, if desired
Cocoa powder, if desired
one recipe optional meringue mushrooms
Getting Set: Set lower-middle oven rack and heat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease with pan spray or oil and line the bottom of an aluminium half-sheet pan with parchment paper.
For the Cake, heat the butter (or oil) in a 1-quart stainless steel saucepan over medium-low heat until it is very hot, or about 200°F (93°C). Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla and chopped chocolate until smooth. The mixture will thicken as it cools and become unsuitable for mixing into the batter, so set aside only as long as is necessary to complete the instructions below. This value is supplied for context; as long as the ganache is in a pourable state, its temperature need not be tested. The ganache should be fluid and warm for use, around 100°F/38°C.
Melted butter is combined with chocolate and vanilla essence using a whisk.
Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, combine the eggs, sugar, instant coffee, baking soda, baking powder, and baking powder in the bowl. For about three minutes, mix at medium-low speed until the sugar has dissolved and the dark brown mixture is homogeneous, smooth, and fluid with bubbles starting to appear all around.
Whip the mixture at medium-high speed until the body is lighter/more voluminous than previously and the mixture has lightened to a dark tan. After about 5 minutes, it will still be runny but thick enough to drip from the whisk in thin ribbons. Finally, turn the speed up to high and whip for an additional 8 minutes, or until the mixture is frothy, thick, light brown in colour, nearly doubled in volume, and the eggs have developed a distinct vortex pattern. The mixture should be able to briefly pile up on itself after running off the whisk and into the bowl before levelling off.
Please note that all times are approximate and may differ significantly depending on the strength and capacity of a particular stand mixer as well as elements like bowl-to-beater clearance (more on that here). In any situation, the primary criterion for assessing preparedness should be based on the visual and textural signals.
As the eggs and sugar are whisked, there are many stages of colour and volume evolution, going from dense, black, and runny to airy, pale, and thick.
Reduce speed to medium-high and add water right away after the foamed eggs are frothy and thick. Next, add the warm chocolate mixture. Finally, reduce speed to medium-low and add the sifted flour. Turn off the mixer and take off the whisk attachment when the flour is almost fully mixed. Give the batter a few hand-whisk strokes to fully incorporate the flour while holding the attachment by its top.
With a flexible spatula, fold the batter once or twice from the bottom up. Then, scrape it onto the prepared pan and spread it out into an even layer using an offset spatula. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the cake is well risen, firm to the touch, but yet fluffy and soft enough to keep a shallow indentation when lightly poked. The cake will crack as it rolls if it is overbaked.
As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, cover the half-sheet pan with two long strips of foil, tightly crimping the foil around the pan’s edges with an oven mitt or dish towel. The cake should be allowed to cool to about 70°F, or 21°C (this temperature is given for context; it can be felt rather than measured; warm cake will melt the filling, and cold cake will break as it rolls).
For the ganache, heat the cream in a 2-quart stainless steel saucepan to a simmer while the cake cools; once it starts to bubble, turn off the heat. Add the chocolate, then taste and add more salt, vanilla, or other extracts and flavours as desired. Set aside for about two hours, or until the ganache reaches a temperature of about 75°F (24°C) and has thickened and cooled into a frosting-like consistency.
Using a butter knife, loosen the cake’s edges from the pan as you assemble the Yule log. Over the cake, evenly distribute around 2 cups of freshly made whipped cream (flavoured or plain), buttercream, icing, or jam. Lift the cake’s edge by the parchment underneath as you go along the widest end and gently fold it inward until it folds over on itself. Roll the cake again; as you do, the parchment will naturally peel away as you roll it.
If you’d like, cut a 4-inch piece of cake off at a sharp angle to use as the log’s branch. Place the cake on a sizable platter, nestling the “branch” against the roulade’s main body. With a few drinking straws put through the “branch” and into the “log’s” body, this may also be done vertically. Whatever the composition, cover the roulade with a thick ganache frosting.
Drag the tines of a fork along the length of the cake and along the “branches” to give the ganache, once it has started to thicken and solidify to a firmer consistency, a rough texture resembling tree bark. Repetition is necessary to add more texture to the outside. Matcha for moss, chocolate for earth, and meringue mushrooms can be used as garnish to complete the look. Serve right away or store tightly wrapped in plastic until required. The flavour of whipped cream-filled cakes is greatest when they are allowed to stand at room temperature for a few hours before serving. Cakes can be chilled for up to 36 hours. Buttercream or frosting-covered cakes can be kept at a cool room temperature for up to 36 hours.
Meringue mushrooms on a Yule log.
Flexible spatula, a half-sheet pan, an offset spatula, a stand mixer
This Yule log can be filled with anything you like in place of the basic whipped cream filling, such as the pistachio buttercream seen here, a light and colourful whipped cream prepared with freeze-dried fruit, a tangy cream cheese frosting, or even our eggless chocolate mousse.
Planning ahead and storing
The flavour of whipped cream-filled cakes is greatest when they are allowed to stand at room temperature for a few hours before serving. Cakes can be chilled for up to 36 hours. Buttercream or frosting-covered cakes can be kept at a cool room temperature for up to 36 hours.