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Buche de Noel is the French name for a Christmas cake shaped like a log. This one is a heavenly flourless chocolate cake rolled with chocolate whipped cream and decorated with confectioners' sugar to resemble snow on a yule log. It doesn't just look beautiful — it tastes wonderful, too!

Recipe Summary

cook:
15 mins
additional:
30 mins
total:
1 hr 30 mins
prep:
45 mins
Servings:
12
Yield:
1 buche de Noel
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Are you in need of a show-stopping dessert centerpiece for your holiday table? Let us introduce you to the bûche de Noël. This yule log cake looks and tastes incredibly impressive, so your guests will think you spent all day in the kitchen — but really, this cake is ready in just an hour and a half. (Don't worry, we won't tell).

What Is a Bûche de Noël?

A bûche de Noël is a sponge cake that is typically served around Christmastime. It's believed to have originated in France during the 19th century. 

The cake is filled with frosting and rolled to look like a log. It can also be decorated with frosting to make it more log-like or a simple dusting of confectioners' sugar to resemble snow on a log.

What is the Tradition of Bûche de Noël?

The bûche de Noël is meant to symbolize the yule log, which families burned on Christmas Eve. The yule log represents the new year to come and is said to bring the family good luck.

How to Pronounce Bûche de Noël

This dessert's name is pronounced "BOO-sh de No-elle."

What Does Bûche de Noël Mean?

Bûche de Noël literally translates to "log of Christmas."

How to Make Bûche de Noël

This cake may seem intimidating, but it's just like any other Swiss roll. You'll find the full, step-by-step recipe and instructions below — but here's what you can expect when you make this bûche de Noël:

Make the Chocolate Whipped Cream

Whip the cream, confectioners' sugar, cocoa, and vanilla until peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Make the Cake Batter

Beat the egg yolks and sugar until the yolks are pale. Add the cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt. In a separate bowl, whip egg yolks until soft peaks form, then add the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the yolk mixture into the egg white mixture. Spread the batter onto a parchment-lined jelly roll pan.

Bake and Roll

Bake until the cake springs back when touched, then turn it out on a confectioners' sugar-coated dish towel. Roll the cake up with the towel and let it cool for 30 minutes.

Fill the Cake

Unroll the cooled cake and fill it with chocolate whipped cream. Roll it back up and refrigerate. Dust with confectioners' sugar or decorate the cake before serving.

How to Decorate Bûche de Noël

This recipe calls for a simple dusting of confectioners' sugar over the yule log cake, but you can decorate your bûche de Noël more elaborately if you like. Try icing the cake with chocolate ganache for a more log-like appearance. You can also garnish the cake with chocolate curls, candied cranberries, rosemary, and marzipan shapes (like mushrooms).

How to Store Bûche de Noël

Store bûche de Noël covered in the fridge until you're ready to serve. It will stay fresh for up to five days.

Can You Freeze Bûche de Noël?

Yes, bûche de Noël can be made ahead of time and frozen. Wrap the completely cooled cake (without the confectioners' sugar or other decorations) in a layer of storage wrap then a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze for up to three months. Defrost in the fridge overnight, then decorate as desired.

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"Made this for our Christmas dinner. It turned out perfectly. I garnished it with the Meringue Mushrooms. We used to buy it from the local French patisserie for $35. Won't have to do that again," says Elizabeth Bobe.

"I found this recipe at least 5 years ago & I have made it every Christmas since. It's delicious. I buy fondant and make the mushrooms, & holly leaves & berries. It has become a tradition to make this cake. It also has no flour which is great for my daughter-in-law who is gluten free. I highly recommend this cake," according to Martina916.

"Best bûche de Noël recipe I have ever tasted or made. The cake is light and tasty and the mousse-like filling is very good," raves love2cook. "I also added a chocolate frosting that I have put on my bûche de Noëls in the past that was very chocolatey and made it even more tasty and beautiful. These things are usually prettier than they are tasty, but this one was the exception."

Editorial contributions by Bailey Fink

Ingredients

12
Original recipe yields 12 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line a 10x15 inch jellyroll pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whip cream, 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until thick and stiff. Refrigerate.

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  • In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar until pale in color, light and frothy. Blend in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, and salt. In large glass bowl, using clean beaters, whip egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar, and beat until whites form stiff peaks. Immediately fold the yolk mixture into the whites. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

  • Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the cake springs back when lightly touched. Dust a clean dishtowel with confectioners' sugar. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and turn the warm cake out onto the towel. Remove and discard parchment paper. Starting at the short edge of the cake, roll the cake up with the towel. Cool for 30 minutes.

  • Unroll the cake, and spread the filling to within 1 inch of the edge. Roll the cake up with the filling inside. Place seam side down onto a serving plate, and refrigerate until serving. Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.

Tips

The magazine version of this recipe uses 1/3 cup powdered sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa powder in the filling.

Nutrition Facts

276 calories; protein 5.1g; carbohydrates 27.6g; fat 17.7g; cholesterol 156.8mg; sodium 72.4mg. Full Nutrition
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