French Chocolate Buche de Noel (Yule Log) Cake

Chocolate Buce de Noel

The Spruce

  • Total: 75 mins
  • Prep: 45 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 14 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
418 Calories
27g Fat
39g Carbs
6g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 14 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 418
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g 35%
Saturated Fat 16g 80%
Cholesterol 112mg 37%
Sodium 156mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 39g 14%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Protein 6g
Calcium 39mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This chocolate Buche de Noel recipe showcases a light-as-air, vanilla Genoise cake rolled into a cylinder with the richest, homemade chocolate buttercream frosting.

The first Christmas yule log cake is correctly known as a Buche de Noel and its recipe was cleverly created in the late 1800s by a French pastry chef looking to replace and pay culinary homage to the original Yule log tradition. The new, gastronomic tradition caught on in spectacular fashion, and the Christmas dessert is now celebrated worldwide. 


  • Sponge Cake
  • 4 eggs (room temperature)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • Chocolate Buttercream
  • 7 egg whites
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate (melted and cooled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (softened)

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this yule log recipe is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for baking.

Make the Cake

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for yule log cake portion
    The Spruce 
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 F.

  3. Butter a 10-inch by 15-inch baking pan with a 1-inch lip (jelly-roll pan) and line it with parchment paper.

    Parchment paper on jelly roll pan.
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  4. Butter the parchment or spray it with cooking spray. Set the pan aside.

    Jelly roll pan with cooking spray.
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  5. Beat the eggs for 5 minutes, until they turn thick and foamy.

    Whipped eggs.
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  6. Add the sugar, vanilla extract, and salt to the eggs and continue beating for 2 minutes.

  7. Carefully fold the flour, a few tablespoons at a time, into the whipped egg mixture.

    Fold flour into eggs.
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  8. Once the flour is incorporated into the batter, stop mixing. Do not over-mix or the cake will bake up into a tough texture.

  9. Gently spread the batter into the prepared pan. There will be peaks of batter; gently smooth over them, but do not press the batter down.

    Buche de noel batter.
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  10. Bake the cake for 10 minutes, until the cake is just set.

    Buche de noel cake.
    The Spruce
  11. Invert the baked cake onto a clean, dry kitchen towel and peel off the parchment paper.

    Turned out buche de noel cake.
     The Spruce
  12. Wait 3 minutes and then score across the cake one inch in from one of the short sides, taking care not to cut right through.

    Scoring the buche de noel cake.
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  13. Fold this piece of cake in towards the center.

  14. Then gently roll the cake, still in the towel, starting at the 10-inch end.

    Folding the buche de noel cake.
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  15. Allow it to cool completely.

    Rolled buche de noel cake.
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  16. While it cools, make the buttercream.

Make the Chocolate Buttercream

  1. In a clean, completely dry bowl, beat the egg whites on high until soft peaks form. Set them aside for a moment.

    Beaten egg whites.
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  2. In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and 2/3 cup water to a boil.

    Boiling buttercream frosting in pan
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  3. Allow it boil until it has reduced into a slightly thickened syrup.

    Cooling boiled buttercream frosting in pan
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  4. Begin beating the egg whites on high speed again and pour the hot sugar syrup into the eggs in a slow, steady stream.

    Buttercream frosting cooking process
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  5. Pour the melted chocolate, espresso powder, and vanilla extract into the egg whites and continue beating them until the meringue has cooled completely, about 5 minutes.

    Adding chocolate to beaten egg whites.
    The Spruce
  6. Add the softened butter to the meringue, 2 tablespoons at a time, while beating on high speed, until all of the butter is incorporated into the frosting.

    Butter added to meringue.
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  7. If the buttercream becomes runny during this process, refrigerate the meringue until it has chilled through.

    Chilled chocolate buttercream.
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  8. Continue the process of beating the butter into the meringue.

Assemble the Chocolate Yule Log

  1. Unroll the cake and set aside the towel.

    Buche de noel unrolled cake.
    The Spruce
  2. Evenly spread 2 cups (or desired amount) of the chocolate buttercream on the inside of the cake and following its natural curve.

    Buttercream spread on buche de noel cake.
    The Spruce
  3. Gently form it into a cake roll.

    Rolled buche de noel.
    The Spruce
  4. Cut off the ends of the cake roll on the diagonal and reattach them in the center of the cake with a bit of buttercream to fashion a “branch” coming off the main Yule log.

    Branch on the yule log.
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  5. Spread the exterior of the Buche de Noel with enough chocolate buttercream to cover it and gently pull a butter knife or small, offset spatula through the frosting to give the appearance of rough tree bark.

  6. Add a Pere Noel figure and meringue mushrooms to complete the festive look.

    Decorating the buche de noel cake.
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  7. Chill the cake before serving it, and refrigerate any leftovers.

    Chocolate Yule Log
    The Spruce
  8. Enjoy!


  • Don't skip out on rolling the sponge cake in the clean towel right after it's come out of the oven. The cake will be malleable at this point and won't crack when shaping as it would if the cake cooled in the pan.
  • Here's a gluten-free version of the Buche de Noel.

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