Bûche de Noël (Yule Log)
Updated: Jan 16, 2020
The "Yule log" is a specially selected log burnt on a hearth as a Christmas tradition in a number of countries in Europe. It is thought to have derived from Germanic Paganism. In French, the name bûche de Noël originally referred to the Yule log itself, and was transferred to the dessert only after the custom had fallen out of use, during the first half of the 20th century. By 1945 the term referred to the cake. Bûche de Noël is a filled and frosted cake roll. The most common combination is basic yellow sponge cake and chocolate buttercream, though many variations which include chocolate cake, ganache, and icings flavored with espresso or liqueurs exist. Yule logs are often served with one end cut off and set atop the cake, or protruding from its side to resemble a chopped off branch. A bark-like texture is often produced by dragging a fork through the icing, and powdered sugar sprinkled to resemble snow. Some versions feature marzipan 'mushrooms' and various other holiday themed cake picks such as Santa or elves.
1 boxed cake mix, prepared according to package directions
1 cup heavy whipping cream
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
1 ½ tsp coffee granules (optional)
Buttercream frosting (or 1 can chocolate frosting):
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup baking cocoa
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brewed coffee (opt.)
2 to 3 tablespoons 2% milk
Grease a jelly roll pan and line it with waxed paper or parchment. Bake the cake in the prepared jelly roll pan according to package directions (do not overbake).
Meanwhile, sift cocoa or powdered sugar over a clean tea towel. Invert warm cake onto towel. Remove parchment paper. Roll cake up in the towel starting with short side (creating a long roll). Cake needs to cool in a curve, otherwise it will break.
In a large bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add sugar and coffee granules. Beat until stiff peaks form; chill. Unroll cooled cake; spread filling to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up again. Place on serving platter; chill.
In a large bowl, beat frosting ingredients until smooth. Frost cake. Using a fork, make lines resembling tree bark.