01 of 09
All About Buche de Noel
The Buche de Noel, or yule log cake, is a tradition rooted in 19th-century France. The cake symbolizes the yule log, a log that was specially chosen and burned warm and bright in European homes during holiday seasons long ago.
This cake is filled with a luscious coffee-flavored buttercream and frosted with rich, silky chocolate mocha buttercream. These buttercream recipes, unlike traditionally cooked custard buttercreams -- are fast and easy to make.Continue to 2 of 9 below.
02 of 09
Step 1: Make Chocolate Sponge Cake, Buttercream Filling and Frosting
To make your own whimsical, gluten-free Buche de Noel cake, begin by making a fragrant, orange peel-scented, gluten-free chocolate sponge cake. Then mix up mocha buttercream filling and chocolate mocha buttercream frosting. Both are easy buttercreams.Continue to 3 of 9 below.
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Step 2: Add the Filling
Spread the mocha buttercream filling on the chocolate sponge cake using a large spatula.Continue to 4 of 9 below.
04 of 09
Step 3: Roll the Filled Cake
Roll from the wide edge of the cake for a longer cake with a smaller diameter. If you prefer, roll from the small edge of the cake for a shorter, thicker cake.
Roll the cake gently while pulling the parchment or waxed paper it is sitting on from the cake at the same time. If the cake cracks while you are rolling it -- don't worry -- the frosting will cover any cracks.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
Step 4: Cut Each End of the Cake Roll
Use a sharp, serrated knife to cut a 2- to 3-inch section from each end of the cake. Cut one end of the cake at a 45-degree angle for a "wood-chopped" look. Set the two cut pieces aside.Continue to 6 of 9 below.
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Step 5: Get Frosting Ready for Piping
Use a spatula to scrape the chocolate mocha frosting into a one-quart plastic bag. This is your homemade pastry piping bag. Press the frosting down into the bag while twisting the bag to force the frosting down. Dip about one-fourth inch from the corner of the bag. You are ready to frost the cake.
When you pipe the frosting on instead of spreading it, you prevent pulling on the surface of the cake and getting chunks of cake in your frosting. You can spread the frosting with a knife or spatula if you prefer that method.Continue to 7 of 9 below.
07 of 09
Step 6: Frost the Buche de Noel
Retrieve the two small cut end pieces of the cake.
If you are piping the frosting, pipe a small amount on the cut edges and place on the cake to look like cut branches. If you are frosting with a knife, frost the cut edges to make the same effect.
Press down on the bag while piping frosting back and forth the length of the cake. Small gaps between strips of piped frosting are fine. Pipe in a circular pattern on the ends of the small "cut branch" pieces and the ends of the cake. This gives the pieces the look of "rings"-- like a real wood log. If you are frosting with a knife, spread the frosting over the entire cake, with a circular pattern on the ends of the small pieces and the ends of the cake.Continue to 8 of 9 below.
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Step 7: Spread Out the Frosting
Use a knife to lightly smooth and shape the frosting, leaving ridges that look like wood bark.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
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Step 8: Decorate Your Buche de Noel
Traditionally, Buche de Noel is decorated with meringue mushrooms -- beautiful little delicacies made from meringue and sprinkled with cocoa. You can also use inedible bay leaves and cranberries for a colorful, natural holiday look.
Lightly dust the cake, including the ends, with powdered sugar. This gives the cake a lovely, snow-dusted look.
Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.