Step by step guide on how to make a classic Bûche de Noël (Yule Log Cake). Delicious and spectacular as a Christmas treat! Easy to follow, detailed recipe with optional decoration techniques.INTERMEDIATE or ADVANCED - This cake can be decorated in several ways. Depending on how you choose to shape and decorate the cake, the required skill level is either intermediate or advanced. This recipe has overnight steps for several components (some optional). Read the recipe fully and plan ahead to make the cake version that you prefer. The prep/cook times do not include the optional steps.INTERMEDIATE - Chocolate swiss roll cake (single log), filled with chocolate whipped cream frosting and frosted with a whipped chocolate ganache. Decorated with simple herbs and powdered sugar.ADVANCED - Chocolate swiss roll cake with branches (two cake rolls), filled with chocolate whipped cream (or chocolate buttercream), and covered with chocolate ganache and tempered chocolate shards. Decorated with meringue mushrooms. US based cup, teaspoon, tablespoon measurements. Common Measurement Conversions. Weight measurements are recommended for accurate results, when available.
45gwarm clarified butter3 tbsp, substitute with same amount of warm olive oil, vegetable oil, or vegan butter
½tspinstant coffee powder
50gAP flourabout 6 tbsp
30gdutch cocoa powder
1egg yolk from a large egg
120gwhite sugar½ cup + 1 ½ tbsp
Generous ¼ tsp salt
Chocolate whipped cream filling (enough for 1 cake + a little extra)
1tsppowdered gelatinabout 3 g
1 ½tbspwater22.5 mL
1 ½cupsheavy cream360 mL (35% fat)
28.5gdutch cocoa powder¼ cup
57gconfectioner's sugarsifted, ½ cup
Whipped chocolate ganache (enough for 1 cake)
240gsemisweet chocolatepreferably a good quality chocolate
240gheavy cream1 cup / 240 mL
¼tspfine sea salt
Optional decorations (make these decorations one day ahead of time)
Tempered chocolate bark
250gsemisweet chocolateor milk chocolate
A little extra chocolate if needed
2egg whitesfree of any yolks
100gcaster sugarabout ½ cup
⅛tspcream of tartar
Some melted chocolate
Chocolate swiss rolls
Prep and measure all the ingredients.
Make the chocolate swiss roll cake accordingto this recipe here. Follow that recipe until you have rolled up the warm cake, and it has cooled down to room temperature. You can let the cake cool down overnight.
When the cake has cooled down, you can proceed with the rest of the recipe with the rolled up cake.
Chocolate whipped cream filling (make this when you’re ready to fill the swiss roll cake)
Place the water in a small microwave safe bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and mix to saturate. Allow the gelatin to absorb all the water and bloom, for at least 5 minutes.
After blooming, microwave the gelatin for 10 - 20 seconds, until it’s melted but NOT boiling.
Add about ½ - 1 tbsp of cream to the gelatin mix while stirring to slightly lower the temperature of the gelatin mixture.
Place the cream, cocoa powder, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large mixer bowl. Whisk briefly to only combine the ingredients.
With the whisk attachment, increase the mixer speed to high, and add the gelatin mixture directly into the cream while the mixer is running.
Once the gelatin is added, reduce the mixer to a medium speed and whisk until you have soft peaks (thickened, but unable to hold a proper peak).
Next, either lower the mixer speed a little more, or manually whisk the whipped cream until it reaches mid peaks (thick mixture, and can hold somewhat of a peak, but the mixture isn’t dry).
The chocolate whipped filling is now ready - use immediately.
Whipped chocolate ganache (make this while the filled buche de noel cake is chilling in the fridge, or when you’re ready to frost the cake)
Place the chocolate in a bowl. Also have a plate available that can cover the surface of the bowl.
Heat the cream and salt in a saucepan over medium high heat, stirring occasionally.
Heat the cream until it starts to simmer. Do NOT let it boil.
When the cream is starting to simmer, pour it over the chocolate in the bowl. Cover the bowl for about 30 sec - 1 minute with the plate.
Whisk the chocolate and cream mixture with a whisk until the chocolate has melted and is emulsified to form a smooth ganache.
Let the ganache cool to about 70 - 72°F. Whisk regularly while the ganache is cooling, OR place a plastic wrap over the surface of the ganache (touching the surface) to prevent a skin from forming.
When the ganache has thickened a little after it has cooled, it's ready to be whipped.
Using a hand mixer or your stand mixer, whisk the ganache until it’s a shade lighter and looks a little fluffier (see photos in the post for reference). This will only take a few minutes depending on the speed of your mixer.
The whipped ganache is now ready to be used as frosting.
Assembling the cake
Carefully unroll the cooled swiss roll cake.
Spread an even layer of the chocolate whipped cream filling, leaving a ¾ inch - 1 inch border at the short end with the diagonal cut.
Now roll up the cake again, but make sure to loosen the parchment paper from the cake as you go. Make sure the cake is firmly rolled up, while maintaining its shape, and the filling isn't squeezed out much.
Wrap the cake well with parchment paper and/or a cloth napkin so that the cake doesn't lose its shape. You can use the parchment paper to shape the cake if the roll seems loose. Let the cake chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
While the cake is chilling in the fridge, you can prepare the whipped chocolate ganache (recipe above), or chocolate buttercream (recipe here).
Ganache frosted yule log cake
Remove the cake from the fridge and place it on a parchment paper lined tray to frost it. Trim the edges with a sharp, warm knife.
OPTIONAL - If you’re making a branched yule log cake, cut the second swiss roll cake into two portions at an angle, and use the whipped chocolate ganache to attach one portion ("branch") to the main swiss roll cake. See pictures in the post for reference.
Coat the entire cake with a layer of the whipped ganache. Work quickly to prevent the ganache from setting too much.
Using either a spatula or a fork, create a tree bark-like texture on the cake. Optionally, you can coat/cover the ends of the cake with whipped ganache (as shown in the pictures in the post) to resemble a log.
Cover the cake and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.
Chocolate shards yule log cake
You can use a branched yule log cake for this as well.
Apply a thin layer of the ganache on a section of the cake and attach the chocolate shards on top as shown in the pictures in the post. Repeat until the whole cake is covered.
Cover the cake (being careful not to damage the chocolate shards), and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.
You will need a long piece of parchment paper to spread the chocolate, and a clean kitchen thermometer.
Make sure all the bowls and spatulas are free of water, as any moisture will cause the chocolate to seize.
Divide the chocolate into two portions - 75% (in weight) in one portion, and the rest of the 25% in another portion.
Make sure both portions of chocolate are chopped into fairly small pieces, but especially make sure the 25% portion is cut even finer so it melts more easily.
Bring some water to a simmer in a saucepan (about 2 inches of water).
Place the 75% chocolate portion in a heat-proof bowl (glass or metal), and place it over the saucepan with simmering water. Stir to melt the chocolate, while making sure the mix doesn’t exceed 130°F (for dark chocolate) or 118°F (for milk chocolate).
Remove the chocolate from the heat, and stir for a couple of minutes to cool it down.
Add the chopped 25% portion and continue to stir and agitate the mix until the chocolate melts.
The chocolate should cool down to 88 - 89°F (for dark chocolate) or 86 - 87°F (for milk chocolate).
If the chocolate is still too warm after it has melted, add a little more chopped chocolate and stir to melt it in and cool down the mix further. Repeat until the chocolate has cooled down to the right temperature.
The melted chocolate should have thickened by the time it's at the right temperature and is tempered, i.e. 88 - 89°F (for dark chocolate) or 86 - 87°F (for milk chocolate).
Pour the tempered chocolate onto the parchment paper, and spread it as evenly as possible with an offset spatula, in a thin layer, on the parchment paper.
Once the chocolate is spread, start rolling up the parchment paper before the chocolate starts to set.
Allow the chocolate to set in the rolled up parchment paper (either a few hours at room temperature or a couple of hours in the fridge).
When the chocolate is completely set, carefully unroll the rolled up parchment paper, while making sure the chocolate shards are breaking in long, large pieces.
The chocolate shards are now ready. Store in an airtight container until needed.
Preheat oven to 200°F and line a half sheet baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside.
Place the egg whites in a clean, dry metal mixing bowl. Add the salt and cream of tartar.
Whisk on medium high speed until the egg whites become frothy and start to form soft peaks.
Add the sugar in a slow stream (or 1 spoon at a time) while whisking.
Whisk until all the sugar is dissolved, and you have a thick, glossy meringue that is at stiff peaks.
Place the meringue mixture in a piping bag, with a ½ inch round tip attached (or cut a similar sized hole).
Pipe the meringue on the baking sheets, in two types of shapes, as described below.
1 . Small, round mushroom caps, that are about 1 inch in diameter. Squeeze out a smooth blob of meringue until you get a rounded cap. Then stop squeezing, and in a circular motion, swirl the tip away from the meringue blob to create a smooth surface.
2 . Small mushroom stumps with pointed tips. Slowly pipe the meringue onto the baking tray, but pull the tip up as you go to create a tall “stem” (about 1 inch tall). Stop piping as you pull the tip away to create a pointed end.
Bake the piped meringue in the preheated oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, OR until the meringue pieces can be EASILY peeled off of the parchment paper. The length of time is very dependent on the oven, so check after about 60 - 70 minutes.
Once the meringue is baked, turn off the oven, and let the meringue cool down in the oven with the oven door ajar.
When they have cooled down completely, transfer them to an airtight container until needed.
To assemble (do this just before you attach the meringue mushrooms on the cake for decoration)
Using a toothpick, poke holes at the bottom of the mushroom caps.
Spread a very thin layer of melted chocolate on the bottom of the mushroom caps.
Dip the pointed end of a mushroom stem in melted chocolate, and attach it to the bottom of the mushroom cap, slightly pushing it against the hole you made with the toothpick. Place this on a tray and allow the chocolate to set.
Once the chocolate is set, dust the meringue mushrooms with cocoa powder to make them look more realistic.
Attaching them to the cake
Attach these JUST before you serve, as the meringue will get soft quickly when exposed.
If you already have chocolate shards on your cake, then use melted chocolate to stick the mushrooms onto the cake.
Or use whipped chocolate ganache to stick them onto the cake, if your cake is simply covered with ganache.
Serve with a dusting of confectioner's sugar on top.
Notes on the chocolate swiss roll cake
The full post on how to make the chocolate swiss roll cake can be found here. It's a detailed post on how to perfect your swiss roll cake.If you prefer a vanilla swiss roll cake, you can get that recipe here.
Frosting the cake
You can frost the cake with the whipped ganache recipe provided here. OR you can make a chocolate American buttercream instead. You can find that recipe here.
Decorating the cake
The chocolate shards and meringue mushrooms are completely optional. You can also make Oreo truffle pine cones. Find that recipe here.For easier decoration options, you can decorate the cake with rosemary sprigs and red currants (or cranberries).