Yule Log Cake: A Tradition Of Winter Solstice Celebrations
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Bûche de Noël, often known as Yule log cake, is a Christmas dessert ingeniously adorned and sculpted to resemble a three-dimensional log. The Yule log cake is a Genoise sponge cake that has been rolled, filled with buttercream, and adorned with ganache or chocolate icing that has been fork-tumbled to resemble the bark of a tree. Decorations with a woodland theme are essential for the cake such as the addition of holly garnishes, marzipan mushrooms, and crushed pistachio moss gives these cakes the appearance of being taken from the forest floor.

The History Of Yule Log Cake

On the occasion of the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, a huge log was traditionally placed in the fireplace. That was a pagan custom that existed before Christians began celebrating Christmas.

The most important decisions were the kind of wood to use, the actual log, and who would set it in the fireplace or light.

Although the precise inventor of the Yule log cake is unknown, based on the components, it may have been created as early as the 1600s. Many a mediaeval table had ornaments made of meringue and marzipan, two of the most common choices for Yule logs.  One of the earliest cakes still in existence today is a sponge cake, which frequently serves as the log's foundation.

The earliest documented recipe for bûche de Noël was published in 1898 in the cookbook Le Memorial Historique et Geographique de la Patisserie, created by pastry chef Pierre Lacam. The Parisian middle class was discovering the countryside through rail travel, and they were falling in love with, well, nature. The cake is said to be a city dweller's magical reimagining of the Christmas custom.

Yule log cake developed in France around the 19th century, similar to a Swiss roll. However numerous variations of the original recipe are used nowadays. The icing is frequently scraped to create a bark-like texture that resembles the traditional Yule practice. While the tasty delicacy originated in France, it swiftly spread to other countries as the Yule log-burning practice became less popular.

The cake gained popularity in the 19th century thanks to Parisian bakers, and many bakeries gained notoriety for their more ornate designs.  As you savour your delectable Yule Log, consider the hundreds of years of history that went into making it.

The Yule Log Tradition Today

The origins of the Yule log cake include innovative cooking techniques, Christian iconography, and antiquated paganism. It illustrates how customs may change and grow throughout time while staying connected to their historical origins.

Nowadays, there are many modern spins on the classic Yule log cake which are tailored to the preferences of the one making it.

Mocha Yule Log

Coffee cake is a popular treat, so this Mocha Yule Log is unlikely to disappoint. This delectable cake is built of traditional Yule log cake but with a coffee-flavoured cream for the distinctive swirl.

This Yule log is a more refined version of the classic, and it would be a nice dessert to serve visitors with a hot drink, as well as for yourself.

Peanut Butter Yule Log

The Peanut Butter Yule Log is enjoyable for everyone, from adults to children. Chocolate and peanut butter is a traditional flavour combination that just works, so you don't have to worry about the taste of your cake. The addition of peanut butter adds creaminess and a smooth texture to the overall cake.

Red Velvet Yule Log

A very aesthetically pleasing cake due to the vibrant colours along with tasting absolutely fabulous. The cake is often coated with coconut on the outside to make it more visually pleasing while also adding a bit more flavour and texture to the overall confection.

Chocolate Hazelnut Yule Log

This variation of the Yule log is incredibly tasty and doesn't require much effort when compared to the classic version. The combination of hazelnut and chocolate is simply decadent as the hazelnut filling bundled all over the log makes for a delicious experience.

Tiramisu Yule Log

This version of the Yule log screams decadence and all the tiramisu fans will appreciate how this confection incorporates two popular desserts in their own right perfectly in this contemporary variation. The espresso syrup that covers the cake along with the mascarpone filling on the inside with cinnamon and cognac make this dessert a must-try.

But apart from the different modern variations of the dessert, let's take a look at the recipe for the classic Yule log cake for you to try at home.

Classic Yule Log Cake Recipe


For the sponge cake:

  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the filling:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the chocolate ganache:

  • 225 gm semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream

For decoration:

  • Additional powdered sugar for dusting
  • Meringue mushrooms (optional)
  • Chocolate shavings or cocoa powder for decoration


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 15x10-inch jelly roll pan and line it with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and granulated sugar together with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Gradually fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared jelly roll pan and spread it out evenly with a spatula. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly touched.
  • While the cake is baking, prepare a clean kitchen towel by dusting it with powdered sugar. When the cake is done, immediately invert it onto the prepared towel and peel off the parchment paper. Roll up the cake tightly along with the towel and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
  • While the cake is cooling, prepare the filling by whipping the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract together in a mixing bowl until stiff peaks form.
  • Once the cake has cooled completely, carefully unroll it and spread the whipped cream filling evenly over the surface. Roll the cake back up without the towel, starting from one short end. Place the rolled cake seam-side down on a serving platter and refrigerate while you prepare the ganache.
  • To make the chocolate ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream over medium heat until it just begins to simmer. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let it sit for 1-2 minutes. Stir until smooth and glossy.
  • Let the ganache cool slightly, then pour it over the rolled cake, spreading it evenly with a spatula to cover the entire surface.
  • Use a fork to create a bark-like texture on the surface of the ganache. If desired, decorate the Yule log cake with meringue mushrooms, chocolate shavings, or dust with powdered sugar to resemble snow.
  • Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour before serving to allow the ganache to set. Slice and serve chilled.