Buche de Noel – Yule Log Cake

One of the best chocolate Buche de Noel or Yule log cakes for Christmas. Easy rolled chocolate sponge cake with cream and chocolate decoration. Looks beautiful and delicious for holiday table!

Soft chocolate almond sponge with rich Mascarpone vanilla cream and crunchy chocolate on top. Can you imagine a better dessert for Christmas? A slice of Buche de Noel is a perfect ending of your Christmas dinner!

Buche de Noel - Yule Log Cake served on the white plate and dusted with sugar


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Super moist and delicious French Christmas cake idea! Yule log and Christmas are almost synonyms for more than a century in Europe and it is very popular in North America.

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Name of yule log and history of Buche de Noel

A Chocolate Yule Log or ‘Bûche de Noël’ is a popular Christmas dessert. It’s traditionally prepared for Christmas in France. And in Belgium this dessert is known as ‘Kerststronk’ in Flemish (Belgian Dutch language). This dessert is also popular in other French speaking countries, such as Canada and Switzerland.

Apparently the tradition of burning logs at the end of December, celebrating the end of winter season was well known in medieval Europe. However with time and introduction to Christianity, the logs became smaller, finally reaching our tables. This is more practical and delicious to bake a log (or sponge cake) in the oven!

Parisian bakeries compete with each other from 19th century, decorating the Yule log cake with marzipan and meringue. Chestnuts, meringue mushrooms, cranberries, chocolate Christmas trees… It is a popular dessert to buy in pâtisserie for Christmas.

The recipes are different from bakery to bakery, but it is one of the most popular Christmas desserts in other countries worldwide.

Buche de Noel with Mascrarpone is a pretty easy dessert you can make at home for Christmas. I will show you all the process step by step.

Buche de Noel - Yule Log Cake recipe. One of traditional French desserts served for Christmas. Easy chocolate sponge ccake with Mascarpone whipped cream and Christmas decoration.

How to make Buche de Noel or Yule log cake

There are 3 steps to make this Christmas dessert. You need to make Chocolate sponge, Mascarpone cream filling and chocolate shards for decoration.

It is an easy French Buche de Noel recipe and you can make it ahead of time.

How to make chocolate sponge cake

First, make a sponge for Buche de Noel cake to represent the actual log. You will need to whip separately egg whites and egg yolks.

Sieve cocoa powder, flour and baking powder in large bowl. Add sugar and mix all dry ingredients. Coffee is a popular ingredients here, but this recipe is for Yule log without coffee. You can also add a dash of cinnamon as well.

Add dry ingredients in few batches in egg yolks. Carefully fold in whites into yolk mixture.

This Buche de Noel recipe is so much more flavorful with addition of almond extract. If you can’t find almond extract, you can skip it.

Prepare a tray with baking paper and brush it with melted butter. It will help to remove the cake from paper.

Add sponge mixture to the tray and bake 12 minutes in the oven, preheated to 356 F / 180 C. The cake is ready, when it rises and is spongy and dry. You can check it with a wooden skewer.

Let the sponge cool a little, dust the top with cocoa. Transfer it to the clean kitchen towel, dusted with cocoa powder. Remove the baking paper. With the help of kitchen towel, roll the warm cake tightly as possible and leave to cool completely.

A slice of Buche de Noel or Yule Log Cake served on a white plate

How to make Mascarpone cream filling

I recommend to make this rich mousse cream with Italian Mascarpone. You can substitute it with regular cream cheese, but it will be denser. I highly recommend to find Mascarpone cheese for this Yule log. This cream filling for Yule log cake is much lighter and delicious than a regular Butter cream.

Whip Mascarpone cheese and whip heavy cream in separate bowls. It will be easier to whip heavy cream in a cold bowl. Place the bowl in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.

Fold whipped cream in Mascarpone, add 6 drops of stevia with vanilla flavor. I use stevia to make it less sugary and it is easier to incorporate liquid. If you can’t find stevia extract, add few tablespoons of sugar syrup. If you have plain stevia, you can add additionally a teaspoon of vanilla. Brandy or rum is a great substitution for vanilla, too.

Carefully unroll the sponge cake and distribute the cream with offset spatula or spoon. Then roll it tightly with your hands. Wrap it in the same kitchen towel. Store the cake with cream up to 3 days in the fridge.

How to make decoration for yule log cake

I love decorating Buche de Noel with crunchy dark chocolate instead of chocolate butter cream. Tempering chocolate isn’t hard! You will have a crisp glossy chocolate decoration that won’t melt at room temperature.

I have a step by step video instructions on how to temper chocolate in our Black Pearl dessert. Check it to see the process!

Start by melting 80 % of dark chocolate. If you don’t have food thermometer, you can watch when your chocolate is almost melted. Then transfer the bowl to the cool table or put it in a bowl with ice.

Start adding remaining chocolate and mixing with a spatula until it cools. The process may take up to 20 minutes, depending on the temperature of your room.

Pour the chocolate on baking paper. Then when it is starting to set, wrap it like tube and put it between the glasses or bowls. So it will have slightly rounded edges like bark.

Keep in mind, the thinner the bark, the easier it will stick to the cake.

Leave it to set completely (you can do it the night before) and remove the paper, cracking the chocolate naturally.

‘Glue’ the bark to the sponge using extra melted chocolate.

Dust the cake with powdered sugar and decorate with rosemary and dried cranberries.

Buche de Noel - Yule Log Cake, served on Christmas table

Make French Christmas dessert ahead of time

As you can see, this is pretty easy Christmas recipe! You can prepare the decoration up to 5 days ahead of celebration. Store it at room temperature in the box, covered with a lid.

Prepare the rolled sponge cake up to 2 days before. Store it wrapped in kitchen towel at room temperature.

Prepare the Mascarpone cream the day before and fill the sponge. Let it sit overnight in the fridge, so the sponge and cream will become friends.

Decorate the Christmas log on the day, when you plan to serve it. Dust Buche de Noel with sugar just before serving.

A half of slice of Buche de Noel Yule log cake on a white plate

More cakes and cupcakes for your Christmas dinner:

And if you are looking for Christmas cookies, we highly recommend Chocolate Cherry cookies!

Hope you will enjoy Christmas log cake at your holiday table! Don’t forget to follow us on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook! And if you make Buche De Noel or one of our other Christmas recipes, tag us to let us know. We love to see what you are baking!

Dusting Buche de Noel - Yule Log Cake with powdered sugar

Buche de Noel - Yule Log Cake

Cooking Journey
5 from 5 votes
One of the best chocolate yule log cakes for Christmas. Easy rolled chocolate sponge cake with cream and chocolate decoration. Looks beautiful and delicious!
Prep Time 40mins
Cook Time 20mins
Cooling 40mins
Total Time 1hr40mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 8
Calories 412kcal

Ingredients 

Chocolate sponge
  • 4 eggs+ 1egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup flour 30g
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder unsweetened 30g + extra for dusting
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tbsp butter melted
Mascarpone cream
  • 180 g Mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream 240 g
  • 6 drops stevia extract with vanilla flavoring
Decoration
  • 180 g dark chocolate chopped +extra to stick the decoration
  • 1 stalk fresh rosemary
  • 1-2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp dried cranberries

Instructions
 

Chocolate sponge
  • Preheat oven to 356 F / 180 C.
    Preheat oven to 356 F / 180 C.
  • Sieve cocoa powder, flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Add sugar and mix with a spoon.
    Sieve cocoa powder, flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Add sugar and mix with a spoon.
  • In another bowl whip egg whites until soft peaks.
    In another bowl whip egg whites until soft peaks.
  • In the other bowl whip egg yolks until pale yellow.
    In the other bowl whip egg yolks until pale yellow.
  • Add dry ingredients to the whipped egg yolks. Add almond extract and combine with a spatula.
    Add dry ingredients to the whipped egg yolks. Add almond extract and combine with a spatula.
  • Fold egg whites into chocolate batter.
    Prepare a tray with baking paper and brush it with melted butter.
  • Prepare a tray with baking paper and brush it with melted butter.
    Fold egg whites into chocolate batter.
  • Add sponge mixture to the tray. Flatten with a spatula. Bake for 12 minutes.
    Add sponge mixture to the tray. Flatten with a spatula. Bake for 12 minutes.
  • Let the sponge cool until you can touch it (5-10 min), then dust with cocoa powder.
    Let the sponge cool until you can touch it (5-10 min), the dust with cocoa and roll.
  • Put the sponge cake on the clean kitchen towel, dusted with cocoa. Remove the baking paper. Wrap it, rolling in the kitchen towel.
    Put the sponge cake on the clean kitchen towel, dusted with cocoa. Wrap it, rolling in the kitchen towel.
Mascarpone cream
  • Whip Mascarpone cheese for few minutes and whip heavy cream in separate bowl, using hand mixer.
    Whip Mascarpone cheese for few minutes and whip heavy cream in separate bowl, using hand mixer.
  • Add 6 drops of stevia and vanilla extract to Mascarpone cheese.
    Add 6 drops of stevia and vanilla extract to Mascarpone cheese.
  • Fold whipped cream in Mascarpone, then whip for 1 minutes, using hand mixer until combined.
    Fold whipped cream in Mascarpone, then whip for 1 minutes, using hand mixer until combined.
  • Unroll the sponge cake and distribute the cream with offset spatula or spoon.
    Unroll the sponge cake and distribute the cream with offset spatula or spoon.
  • Roll the cake with cream tightly.
    Roll the cake with cream tightly.
Decoration
  • Put about 80 % of dark chocolate in heat-proof bowl. Melt it in the pot with boiling water (Bain Marie) until almost melted or until thermometer shows 46 C / 115 F.
    Put about 80 % of dark chocolate in heat-proof bowl. Melt it in the pot with boiling water (Bain Marie) until almost melted or until thermometer shows 46 C / 115 F.
  • Then transfer the bowl to the cool table. Start adding remaining chocolate and mixing with a spatula until it cools to 31 C / 88 F. The process may take up to 20 minutes, depending on the temperature of your room. You can see it becomes glossy and thick.
    Then transfer the bowl to the cool table. Start adding remaining chocolate and mixing with a spatula until it cools to 31 C / 88 F. The process may take up to 20 minutes, depending on the temperature of your room. You can see it becomes glossy and thick.
  • Pour the chocolate on parchment paper.
    Pour the chocolate on parchment paper.
  • Flatten the chocolate with spatula.
    Flatten the chocolate with spatula.
  • Roll the parchment paper. Put it between the glasses or bowls, so it will have slightly rounded edges like bark. Leave it to set completely (you can do it the night before).
    Roll the parchment paper. Put it between the glasses or bowls, so it will have slightly rounded edges like bark. Leave it to set completely (you can do it the night before).
  • Carefully unroll the paper, letting the bark crack in smaller pieces.
    Carefully unroll the paper, letting the bark crack in smaller pieces.
  • Cut the ends of the Buche de Noel Cake.
    Cut the ends of the Buche de Noel Cake.
  • 'Glue' the bark to the sponge using extra melted chocolate.
    'Glue' the bark to the sponge using extra melted chocolate.
  • Dust the cake with powdered sugar and decorate with rosemary and cranberries right before serving.
    Dust the cake with powdered sugar and decorate with rosemary right before serving.

Notes

Store the cake with cream up to 3 days in the fridge.
You can use 2 tbsp of sugar syrup instead of stevia drops.
*It will be easier to whip heavy cream in a cold bowl. Place the glass bowl in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
**Keep in mind, the thinner the bark, the easier it will stick to the cake.
See the post for make ahead instructions.
Keyword chocolate, chocolate decoration, Christmas, holidays, mascarpone cream, sponge cake

10 thoughts on “Buche de Noel – Yule Log Cake”

  1. 5 stars
    I used to work at a French school, and every Christmas they made this for us. I miss it so much, so I am definitely making this recipe 🙂

  2. Patty at Spoonabilities

    5 stars
    This is the perfect dessert for Christmas dinner, although I don’t know if I can wait until Christmas to enjoy it! Absolutely a beautiful cake!

  3. 5 stars
    I wanted to test out your Yule Log Cake before Christmas to see if I could pull it off. The Yule Log Cake came out perfect, thanks to your instructions! It made the Christmas dessert menu for sure!

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