I love Christmas! Its a good time and a good excuse to do a lot of baking. What I love the most is to try out new recipes and experiment around with them.
This year I wanted to try out something that was fancy but still able to fit in your belly after a heavy Christmas dinner. So I decided to try out a Christmas Yule log cake. Its classic, easy to bake and with a few decorations a wonderful Christmas dessert.
But what is a yule log cake and where did it originate from?
Burning a yule log near Christmas dates back before the medieval times. Originally a Nordic tradition, a yule log was carefully chosen and the largest part of the log was placed in the fire hearth.
The yule log cake or Buche de Noel originated from that tradition. A delicious sponge cake filled with cream and covered in a chocolate ganache, which is then decorated to resemble a log.
I decided to go for a version with a chocolate sponge cake, filled with a mascarpone whipped cream filling and topped with a chocolate ganache. To top it off, I decorated it with sugared rosemary and berries and sprinkled some sugar around the cake that looks like snow. For more Christmas flare, I added some pine tree branches.
Ingredients you need for the Yule Log Cake
For the chocolate sponge:
- 4 oz all-purpose flour
- 1.5 oz cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 large eggs, divided
- 5 oz granulated sugar
- 2.5 oz sour cream
- 1 oz butter, softened
- 1 tsp vanilla extract/ vanilla sugar
Mascarpone whipped cream:
- 10 oz fl whipping cream, cold
- 3 oz powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 8 oz mascarpone cheese, softened but still chilled
Whipped chocolate ganache:
- 7 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 8 oz fl whipping cream
- Sugared rosemary and blueberries
- Pine tree branches
- First, preheat oven to 350°F. Then you line a 17×12 inch jelly roll sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Add flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Whisk and set aside.
- In another bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar and mix until well combined. Add sour cream, melted butter, and vanilla extract and whisk.
- Then add the dry ingredients and gently whisk together until everything is well combined. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whip the egg white at high speed until stiff peaks form. Then gently fold about 1/3 of the whipped egg white into the chocolate mixture. Slowly add the remaining egg white and gently fold until all the ingredients are well combined.
- Pour cake batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake for about 12 minutes or when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and immediately lift the cake out of the pan using the parchment paper and place on a kitchen towel. While the cake is still hot, use the kitchen towel to slowly roll the cake up. Set the cake aside to cool completely.
- Once the cake has cooled, make the filling.
- Add the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and salt to a bowl and whip on high speed until soft peaks form. Then add in the mascarpone cheese and whip until stiff peaks form.
- Unroll the cake roll. But be very careful as the cake can fall apart if not done cautiously.
- Once the cake is unrolled, spread the filling evenly onto the unrolled cake, then roll it back up. This time without the parchment paper.
- Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour to firm up. When you are ready to decorate the cake, make the chocolate ganache.
- For this add the chocolate to a medium-sized bowl and set it aside. Then heat the cream in the microwave just until it begins to boil, then pour it over the chocolate. Or you can heat the cream in a pot and add in the chocolate. Whichever way you prefer. Let the chocolate and cream sit for a few minutes, then whisk until smooth. Allow the ganache to cool to about room temperature.
- In a large bowl, whip the ganache on high speed until lightened in color and thick enough to spread. To decorate the cake, use a large kitchen knife to cut off a piece of the log about 3 inches in length. Make the cut slightly diagonal.
- To attach the small log to the side of the large log, use some of the chocolate ganache.
- Then spread the remaining chocolate ganache all over the cake and use a fork to create bark-like lines all over it. I like to decorate with sugared blueberries and rosemary. But you can use what you think fits best.
- Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve.
Enjoy your traditional yule log cake!
You can also modify the Yule log cake recipe a bit and bake it with fresh fruit. For a creamy fruity variety to enjoy in Summer try the Swiss roll with blueberries.