Classic Yule Log

Chocolate Bûche de Noël

Yule Log

The Spruce / Clarice Lam

Prep: 70 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Chill: 60 mins
Total: 2 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 10 to 12 servings
Yield: 1 cake
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
586 Calories
39g Fat
55g Carbs
7g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 586
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 39g 50%
Saturated Fat 23g 116%
Cholesterol 159mg 53%
Sodium 185mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 55g 20%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 46g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 41mg 3%
Iron 4mg 20%
Potassium 158mg 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.)

A yule log, or bûche de Noël, is a traditional cake that is served throughout the holiday season in France. This recipe is a classic version using a chocolate sponge roulade, or rolled cake, and Italian buttercream. It can be made using any sponge cake flavor and filled with ice cream, whipped cream, mousses, ganaches, fruit, and more. No matter the variation, the technique is the same: a soft sponge cake spread with a thin layer of filling, gently rolled into a tantalizing swirl, and covered in decadent buttercream.

The bûche de Noël is typically decorated like a holiday yule log, hence the name, but can easily be made without stumps and decorations, turning it into an elegant dinner party Swiss roll. Traditionally, the flavor profile leans into chocolate to resemble the bark of a tree, but you can adapt this to different flavors like vanilla, autumn spice, strawberry, and more.

“This recipe is a little time-consuming (I’m looking at you buttercream), but it can be made in stages so you’re not doing all the work in one go. This is a showstopper. The cake is super moist and the buttercream is divine. Your guests will be pleased.” —Carrie Parente

Classic Yule Log Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • Cooking spray, for the pan

  • 1/2 cup cake flour

  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 5 large eggs, separated

  • 1/2 cup sugar

For the Buttercream:

  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks

  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1/3 cup sugar, divided

  • 1 cup water

  • 5 large egg whites

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into small cubes

For Assembly:

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1 tablespoon orange liqueur, optional

  • Meringue mushrooms, candy leaves, or powdered sugar, optional for decorating

Steps to Make It

Make the Cake

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly spray a 12-x 17-inch sheet pan with non-stick vegetable oil spray and place a sheet of parchment paper on top.

  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour and cocoa powder.

  4. Add the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside.

  5. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on medium speed until frothy.

  6. Slowly add the sugar to incorporate, then turn the speed to high and continue whisking until you get medium-stiff peaks.

  7. Whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl, Using a rubber spatula, fold the yolks into the whipped egg whites until almost fully incorporated.

  8. Add half of the dry ingredients into the eggs and fold in using large strokes to prevent deflating the batter.

  9. While the mixture is still streaky, add the remainder of the dry ingredients and fold until everything is fully incorporated. Do not over mix.

  10. Spread the batter onto the prepared sheet pan using a large offset spatula, making it as even as possible.

  11. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the cake springs back to the touch.

Make the Buttercream

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Place the chocolate chunks in a microwave-safe bowl and heat at 45-second increments until it is almost completely melted. Stir the chocolate and allow the residual heat to finish melting any remaining chunks. Set aside.

  3. In a small pot place 1 1/2 cups sugar and the water and stir to combine. Wet your fingers to wipe any sugar crystals off the sides of the pot.

  4. Place over medium-high heat and let cook until the sugar syrup reaches 238 F. Do not stir the syrup while it is cooking, this will cause the sugar to crystalize.

  5. In the meantime, place the egg whites and salt into a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until the whites become frothy.

  6. Slowly add 1/3 cup sugar until fully combined. Turn the speed up to high and continue to whisk until medium-stiff peaks form. Turn off the mixer and wait for the sugar syrup to reach temperature.

  7. When the sugar syrup reaches 238 F, remove the pot from heat and turn the mixer back on low speed. Slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the mixing bowl until fully incorporated.

  8. Turn the speed to medium-high and continue to whisk until it has doubled in size and the bowl is no longer warm.

  9. Turn the speed back down to medium and slowly add in the butter chunks until smooth.

  10. Lower the speed and slowly pour in the melted chocolate and mix until everything comes together into a beautiful silky smooth buttercream.

Assemble the Yule Log

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Make a simple syrup. Heat the water and sugar together in a small pot over medium heat and stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the orange liqueur if using. Set aside.

  3. Use a small paring knife to loosen the sides of the cake from the pan. Flip the pan over onto a cutting board to release the cake.

  4. Peel the parchment paper off the bottom of the cake and place a new piece of parchment on top. Make sure the parchment paper is larger than the cake itself—this will make it easier to roll.

  5. Pick up the cutting board and flip the cake onto a clean work surface. The large parchment should now be on the bottom with the cake on top.

  6. Using a pastry brush, brush the simple syrup all over the top of the cake. This will keep the cake moist.

  7. Using a large offset spatula, spread 1/2-inch of chocolate buttercream over the cake in a smooth even layer.

  8. With the short side of the cake facing you, start rolling the cake away from you, pulling it tight with each turn. When you get to the end, leave the seam on the bottom.

  9. Cut 2 inches off one end of the rolled-up roulade and slice a little off the other side to make the end even. The 2-inch piece will be used for a log stump.

  10. Place the roll on a serving platter and use the offset spatula to spread the remaining buttercream all over to cover the log. Make sure to reserve some to cover the stump.

  11. Place the stump on top of the cake and cover with the remaining buttercream. (You can use the buttercream as glue to help the stump "stick" to the log or use toothpicks to help keep the stump in place.) Let chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

  12. Remove from the fridge and use a fork to scrape wood grain designs all over the log. Use a chopstick or something pointy to carve a spiral on the ends of the log. If desired, decorate with meringue mushrooms, marzipan or fondant holly leaves, and a dusting of powdered sugar.

  13. Slice and serve.

Tips


  • If your buttercream looks like soup, either the meringue was too warm before adding in the butter or you just need to whip it longer. If whipping it longer is not working, try putting the whole bowl in the fridge for 15 minutes to chill, then scrape down the sides and whip again.
  • If your buttercream is chunky, the ingredients were too cold. Let the mixture come to room temp and try whipping again.
  • If your cake cracks when rolling, then it was over-baked. Use buttercream to cover and fill any cracks and bake for less time next time.

How to Store and Freeze

  • Yule log tastes best served the day it's made but can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for up to four days.
  • Yule log can also be wrapped in plastic and stored in the freezer for up to six months.