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Chocolate Yule Log

Total Time

Prep: 50 min. Bake: 10 min. + cooling

Makes

12 servings

A yule log cake, also called a Buche de Noel, is a rolled sponge cake shaped and decorated to resemble a wooden log. This fanciful dessert is holiday baking tradition that dates back to 19th century France. This particular chocolate Yule log recipe from Bernadette Colvin of Tomball, Texas has been a favorite Christmas dessert for her family. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
Chocolate Yule Log Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 2/3 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • FILLING:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • FROSTING:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 2 tablespoons 2% milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Place egg whites in large bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Line a greased 15x10x1-in. baking pan with parchment paper; grease the paper and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks on high speed for 5 minutes or until thick and lemon-colored. Gradually beat in 1/3 cup sugar. Sift flour, baking cocoa, baking powder and salt together twice; gradually add to yolk mixture and mix well (batter will be very thick).
  3. With clean beaters, beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, on high until stiff peaks form. Gradually fold into batter. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
  4. Bake until cake springs back when lightly touched, 10-12 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. Turn cake onto a kitchen towel dusted with cocoa powder. Gently peel off parchment paper. Roll up cake in towel, jelly-roll style, starting with a short side; cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. Meanwhile, for the filling, beat cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and almond extract, beating until stiff peaks form. Unroll cake; spread filling to within 1 in. of edges. Roll up again.
  6. In a large bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in chocolate, milk and vanilla until smooth. Frost the cake, using a metal spatula to create a bark-like effect.
Chocolate Yule Log Tips

How do you roll a yule log without breaking it?

A Yule log cake—otherwise known as a Buche de Noel—is basically a rolled sponge cake. Since this cake is tender and can tear easily, work slowly when spreading the filling and rolling the cake in a clean towel. Cool the rolled cake seam-side down to prevent it from unrolling.

What are some variations of this chocolate Yule log recipe?

While most yule log cakes are chocolate, feel free to get creative by switching up the flavor of the cake batter or cream. Red velvet, gingerbread, pumpkin, white chocolate, mocha, peanut butter, peppermint, hazelnut and caramel are just a few flavor variations. Before you spread the cream on the cake, you could add a very thin layer of seedless apricot or raspberry jam. While you’re mixing up the filling, feel free to add a splash of bourbon or Bailey’s Irish cream. Before rolling the cake up again with the filling, you can sprinkle chocolate chips or dried fruits like cherries, raspberries or strawberries on top to add some texture and bursts of fruity flavor. Chocolate frosting is also traditional for Yule logs, but white buttercream can be substituted for chocolate if you like. Otherwise, make this recipe your own by making it into a mocha buttercream Yule log with flavored frosting. No matter how you make your Yule log, serve it with a coffee and cream martini for the perfect holiday treat.

How can you make the frosting and decorations look realistic on a chocolate Yule log?

Make it look like your Yule log has bark by dragging a fork lengthwise through the frosting. There’s no need for straight lines, because wavy lines make it look more realistic. You can decorate your chocolate Yule log with cinnamon sticks, fresh rosemary sprigs, cinnamon candies or even meringue mushrooms to give this holiday dessert a woodland look. Take it over the top by dusting the entire log with a light coating of confectioner’s sugar!

How long will a chocolate Yule log last?

Yule logs can be prepared 1 day before serving when stored at room temperature, and up to 2 days ahead if stored in the refrigerator. Invert a storage container over the top to keep the air out without damaging the frosting and decorations. While this Buche de Noel will the star of the show, consider making other Christmas desserts to go along with it.

Catherine Ward, Taste of Home Prep Kitchen Manager and Amy Glander, Taste of Home Book Editor

Nutrition Facts

1 each: 245 calories, 14g fat (8g saturated fat), 89mg cholesterol, 143mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate (24g sugars, 1g fiber), 3g protein.

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