How To Decorate A Yule Log Cake Impress Holiday Guests With a Classic Yule Log

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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)
551 Calories
37g Fat
50g Carbs
6g Protein

Show Full Nutrition Label

×

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 551
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 37g 48%
Saturated Fat 22g 112%
Cholesterol 159mg 53%
Sodium 157mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 50g 18%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 42g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 37mg 3%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 131mg 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:

  • 3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks

  • 1 1/4 cups plus 1/4 cup sugar, divided

  • 3/4 cup water

  • 4 large egg whites

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 3 1/4 sticks (13 ounces) 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.

    Cake ingredients in bowls

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


  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.

    Lined metal baking sheet

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


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

    Sift together the cake flour and cocoa powder into a glass bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


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

    Baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa, and flour in a glass bowl with a whisk

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


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

    Egg whites in a blue stand mixer

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


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

    Whipped egg whites and sugar in a blue stand mixer

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


  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.

    Egg yolks combined with the whipped egg white mixture in a metal bowl, with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


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

    Cocoa mixture added to the egg whites mixture in the metal bowl, with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


  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.

    Cocoa and egg white mixture in a metal bowl with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


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

    Cocoa-egg white mixture on a baking sheet

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


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

    Cake on a baking sheet

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


Make the Buttercream

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Buttercream ingredients in bowls

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


  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.

    Melted chocolate in a bowl with a metal spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


  3. In a small pot place 1 1/4 cups sugar and the water and stir to combine. Wet your fingers to wipe any sugar crystals off the sides of the pot.

    Sugar and water mixture in a saucepan, stirred with a spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


  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.

    Sugar and water mixture cooking in a saucepan on a burner, with a thermometer

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


  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.

    Egg whites and salt in a stand mixer

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


  6. Slowly add 1/4 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.

    Whipped egg whites and sugar in a stand mixer

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


  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.

    Sugar syrup poured into the stand mixer with the whipped egg whites

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


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

    Whipped egg whites mixture in a stand mixer

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


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

    Buttercream in a stand mixer

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


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

    Chocolate buttercream in a metal bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


Assemble the Yule Log

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Yule Log ingredients

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


  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.

    Sugar and water mixture in a saucepan, mixed with a spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


  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.

    Parchment paper lined cake, on a wooden board

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


  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.

    Parchment paper removed from the cake

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


  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.

    Cake on top of parchment paper

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


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

    Simple syrup brushed on the cake

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


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

    Buttercream spread on the cake with a spatula

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


  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.

    Cake rolled around the buttercream on parchment paper

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


  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.

    Yule log slice cut from the log

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


  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.

    Buttercream spread on top of the yule log on the platter

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


  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.

    Buttercream covered yule log on a platter

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


  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.

    Classic Yule Log, sides brushed with a fork to create tree texture

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


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.

American Buttercream vs. Italian Buttercream

We love the smooth, not-too-sweet consistency of Italian buttercream, but you can use American buttercream if you like. This method just requires creaming the butter until light and fluffy, then adding confectioners’ sugar, a dash of milk, and any flavoring. If making the buttercream ahead, ensure it is at room temperature when you ice the cake.

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.

Video about How To Decorate A Yule Log Cake

Yule Log Christmas Cake 🎄❤️ | Buche de Noel | Vertical Sponge Cake

Yule Log Christmas Cake | Buche de Noel | Vertical Cake – I was supposed to upload this cake last week but since I had to fulfil a last minutes request, this cake is here this week. There will be no video upload this Friday since it’s Christmas day. I upload this video today so that some of you can enjoy this earlier and try baking it for the big Christmas day. This is a light cake, easy to make and great presentation with a vertical cake style, if you want to impress your guests. I know some of you must be very busy at this time of festive period. I wish all of you a Blessed Merry Christmas!

FOR FULL RECIPE, please visit my blog at https://gracioustreatz.wixsite.com/bakewithlove/yule-log-christmas-cake

Ingredients:

• Sponge Cake Sheet
I’m using a 33x33cm flat pan

4 egg yolks
30g [2 tbsp] fine sugar
48g [3 ½ tbsp] oil
40ml [3 tbsp] milk
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
72g [½ cup + 2 tbsp] cake flour

4 egg whites
½ tsp cream of tartar
50g [¼ cup] fine sugar

• Mocha Cream Cream Frosting
75g [½ cup] chocolate melts
75g [¼ cup + 1 tbsp] whipping cream
2 tsp instant coffee
1 tbsp hot water
170g [¾ cup] unsalted butter, softened
60g [½ cup] powdered sugar
340g [1½ cup] cream cheese, softened

• Syrup – coffee syrup [2 tsp coffee + 1 tbsp sugar + 2 tbsp hot water]
• Deco: Almond flakes and rosemary
• Powdered sugar for dusting

Instructions:
• Sponge Cake Sheet
1. Preheat oven at 160°C/320°F.
2. Separate the eggs in 2 large bowls.
3. In the yolk bowl, add sugar. Mix vigorously until creamy and pale.
4. Add in the oil, milk, vanilla and salt. Mix vigorously until well combined.
5. Sift in the flour batches. Whisk gently until combined, do not over mix. Set aside.
6. In the egg white bowl, add the cream of tartar. With an electric mixer, mix on low for few seconds until foamy. Add in the sugar in 3 batches. Continue mixing on high while adding the sugar until stiff peaks formed.
7. Fold the egg whites into the yolk batter in 3 batches. Fold in gently in a circular motion until the white disappear. Add another batch and continue folding in with the whisk. Towards the end, switch to a spatula to scrape the bowl to unsure even mixing.
8. Transfer batter into a 33x33cm flat pan, greased and lined with parchment paper. Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly. Tap the pan few times on the table.
9. Bake in preheated oven at 160°C/320°F for 25-30 min or until inserted skewer comes out clean.
10. Let the cake cool completely before slicing.
11. Once cool, measure and cut 4 equal horizontal sheets. At the end of the last sheet, trim off the edge 45° angle (for sealing purpose)

• Mocha Cream Cheese Frosting
1. In a small bowl, add the chocolate melts and whipping cream. Microwave a few seconds until the chocolate in melting stage. Mix until smooth and well combined. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, add coffee and hot water. Mix until well dissolved. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, add the softened butter. Mix until creamy.
4. Sift in the powdered sugar. Mix until well combined.
5. Add in the coffee and chocolate mixture. Mix until well combined.
6. In another bowl, add the cream cheese. Use a spatula to mash and make sure it is softened.
7. Add the cream cheese into the mixture (butter coffee and chocolate). Mix until well combined. Make sure there is no lumps.

• Assemble the Cake
1. Brush the coffee syrup on the cake sheets.
2. Spread the frosting with a spatula. Spread evenly.
3. Gently roll up each horizontal pieces, connecting to each other. Roll until the 2nd piece. You’ll probably find it hard to continue as the roll is getting bigger.
4. Place the rolled cake on the cake plate. Continue rolling with the other 2 sheets.
5. Seal the end with frosting. Fasten it with a plastic sheet. Refrigerate the cake for about 30 minutes so that the cake is tight and stable.
6. Frost around the cake.
7. Use a pointed tool (I’m using a pointed chopstick) to draw log grain lines.
8. Use some almond flakes to decorate as the log fungus.
9. Decorate the top with rosemary leaves.
10. Dust the cake with powdered sugar.
11. Refrigerate the cake before cutting.
12. Cake is ready to serve.

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