Chocolate Yule Log


If you haven't tried this Yule log recipe because you thought it required advanced baking and pastry skill, then get ready to buche up this Noel, since the techniques required are actually quite simple. This classic holiday dessert is a showstopper, but it's often better looking than it is tasting, which is not the case here, thanks to a simple-to-make, rich chocolate sponge cake, and mocha buttercream filling. Garnished here with meringue mushrooms and rosemary.

Prep Time:
50 mins
Cook Time:
10 mins
Additional Time:
2 hrs 15 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 15 mins
1 13-inch yule log

The traditional Christmas Yule log might look intimidating, but it's actually quite simple to make when you break it down step-by-step. This Yule log recipe will quickly become a holiday staple in your household.

What Is a Yule Log?

A Yule log cake, a.k.a. a bûche de Noël, is a traditional holiday dessert that is meant to resemble an actual log. A sponge cake is baked in a Swiss roll pan, filled, rolled into a cylinder, then frosted again.

The yule log tradition goes back centuries: Yule or Yuletide is a winter festival that was historically celebrated by people in Northern Europe. During the festival, a special log burnt on a hearth. Nobody quite knows where this custom comes from, but it's likely the inspiration behind the festive cake.

a low angle, close up view of a chocolate yule log topped with meringue mushrooms, sugared cranberries, and rosemary sprigs.
Oana Ennis/Allrecipes

How to Make a Yule Log

This basic Yule log starts with a classic roulade. You'll find the full, step-by step recipe below — but here's a brief overview of what you can expect when you make this Yule log:

1. Make the filling.
2. Make the cake batter and pour it into a prepared pan.
3. Bake until the edges start to pull away.
4. Turn the cake out on a kitchen towel, roll, and let cool.
5. Unroll the cooled cake and spread the filling on top.
6. Re-roll it, then sprinkle it with more powdered sugar. Refrigerate until firm.

How to Frost a Yule Log

When the Yule log is filled and rolled, it's time to frost! To make the ganache frosting, simply whisk the chocolate chips and hot cream until smooth. Cut the ends off the log, then spread a layer of ganache all over the cake. Use a fork or knife to make ridges in the frosting. Continue until the log resembles tree bark.

Yule Log Decorations

You can keep your Yule log simple or take it up a notch with whimsical decorations (check out our top-rated fondant recipe to make your own edible decor). Here are some gorgeous ideas from talented members of the Allrecipes community:

yule log decorated with crushed nuts and acorn Hershey's kisses
overhead view of homemade Chocolate Decadence Yule Log decorated with holly and berries
close up view of a Chocolate Yule Log on a stainless steel table
Chef John

How to Store a Yule Log

Cover the frosted Yule log loosely in storage wrap and store it in the fridge for up to three days or freeze it for up to three months (thaw in the fridge overnight).

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"I made a Yule log for the first time last Christmas using this recipe, and it turned out so fantastic," raves Nicki Bortz. "It will definitely be a Christmas tradition. The chocolate filling and coffee liquor are what originally sold me, and it did not disappoint!"

"Made this for Christmas and my husband loved it so much he wants this for his birthday," says Lynette. "The buttercream and ganache were perfect. Not too sweet. The addition of the mascarpone and Kahlua puts it over the top!"

"The amount of filling was perfect for me," according to Linda. "I was pleasantly surprised that it did not stick like many others I've made. I did a display without mushrooms using cranberries greenery. On the outside of my plate I put little twigs."

Editorial contributions by Corey Williams


Buttercream Filling:

  • 1 ⅔ cups powdered sugar

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 2 tablespoons coffee-flavored liqueur

  • 1 ½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 pinch salt

  • cup mascarpone cheese

Sponge Cake:

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature

  • cup white sugar

  • ½ teaspoon vanilla

  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, or as needed

Ganache Frosting:

  • 1 cup heavy cream, boiling-hot

  • 1 (8 ounce) package dark chocolate chips


  1. Make the buttercream filling: Whip powdered sugar, butter, coffee-flavored liqueur, cocoa powder, salt together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on high speed.

    a top down view of chocolate buttercream frosting coming together in a mixing bowl using a hand mixer.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

  2. Transfer filling mixture to a separate bowl and add mascarpone cheese. Mix until combined; set aside. Clean and dry the stand mixer bowl.

    a top down view of mascarpone cheese being added to chocolate buttercream mixture.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

    a top down view of chocolate buttercream frosting with mascarpone cheese fully incorporated.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

  4. Prepare a 13x18-inch rimmed sheet pan for the sponge cake: Brush a little melted butter over the sheet pan, then line the pan with parchment paper, and brush remaining melted butter on top.

    a top down view of a baking sheet being brushed with butter.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

    a top down view of a prepped baking sheet being lined with parchment, and parchment is getting brushed with melted butter.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

  5. Whisk cocoa powder, flour, and salt together in a bowl, making sure to break up any clumps.

    a top down view of cocoa powder, flour, and salt mixed together in a medium sized glass mixing bowl.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

  6. Place eggs in the clean bowl of your stand mixer. Add sugar and whip with the whisk attachment until fluffy, thick, and very light in color, 2 to 3 minutes.

    a top down view of eggs and sugar whipped together in a mixing bowl using a hand mixer.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

  7. Add vanilla and 1/2 of the cocoa powder mixture; mix on low speed for a few seconds.

    a top down view of vanilla and a portion of cocoa powder added to egg and sugar mixture in mixing bowl.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

  8. Add the remaining cocoa mixture and mix on low for a few seconds. Switch to high speed and mix until the mixture is moistened but not fully blended.

    remaining cocoa powder being added to spongecake batter in a mixing bowl.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

    a top down view of spongecake batter being whisked together in a mixing bowl using a hand mixer.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

  9. Pull off the whisk attachment and use it to whisk the batter by hand until evenly blended.

    a top down view of a person using the whisk attachment of a mixer to combine chocolate spongecake batter.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

  10. Pour batter onto the prepared sheet pan and spread out with a spatula, almost to the edges, but not quite. Tap the pan on the counter several times to remove any large air bubbles.

    a top down view of chocolate spongecake batter spread nearly to the edges of a prepared baking sheet.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

  11. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides, 8 to 10 minutes.

    an eye level view looking into an oven where a chocolate spongecake is baking.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

  12. While the cake is baking, sift powdered sugar onto a clean kitchen towel to cover an area slightly larger than the sponge cake.

    a top down view of hands sifting powdered sugar onto a clean towel.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

  13. Remove cake from the oven. Run a knife around the edges of the pan. Dust some powdered sugar over the top. Run a spatula under the parchment paper to make sure it's not stuck to the pan.

    an overhead view of a spatula being run underneath a fresh out of the oven chocolate spongecake; to ensure it hasn't stuck to the pan.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

  14. Quickly flip the pan on top of the sugared area on the towel to invert the cake.

    a top down view of a cake turned out on a powder sugar dusted towel, the bottom side of the cake is facing up, with parchment paper still attached.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

  15. Carefully remove the parchment paper, then sift more powdered sugar over the cake.

    a top down view of a chocolate spongecake getting dusted with powdered sugar.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

  16. Gently roll the cake up inside the towel; allow to cool for 15 minutes.

    a low angle view of a person using a towel to roll a powdered sugar coated chocolate spongecake into a log.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

  17. Carefully unroll the cooled cake. Dollop as much buttercream filling as you like on top, reserving some for later; spread to the edges.

    a top down view of chocolate buttercream frosting spread all the way to the edges of a chocolate spongecake.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

  18. Roll cake up over the filling, using the towel to lift it if needed.

    a low angle view of a chocolate spongecake with buttercream filling being rolled into a log using a towel.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

  19. Sprinkle more powdered sugar on top over the log, then wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

    a top down view of a rolled up chocolate spongecake being dusted with powdered sugar.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

    a top down view of a chocolate spongecake, filled with chocolate buttercream, rolled into a log, dusted with powdered sugar and covered in plastic wrap.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

  20. Make the ganache frosting: Pour hot cream over chocolate chips in a bowl. Let sit for 1 minute, then whisk until chocolate is melted.

    a top down view of hot heavy cream poured over chocolate chips with a wooden spoon resting in the bowl.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

    a top down view of chocolate ganache being stirred until all chocolate has melted.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

  21. Make an angled cut 3 inches from one end of the log. Place log on a parchment-lined sheet pan.

    a top down view of hands slicing a small piece, at an angle, of a chocolate yule log cake.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

  22. Apply some filling to the angled slice and attach it to one side of the log.

    a top down view of chocolate buttercream frosting being spread across an angled slice of cake,

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

    a top down view of angled slice of chocolate yule log cake, placed on the side of the cake.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

  23. Spread a layer of ganache all over the cake, except for the swirls on the ends. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to firm up the ganache.

    a top down view of a chocolate yule log cake with chocolate ganache spread over the top.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

  24. Use the tip of a knife to carve lines into the ganache to create the appearance of tree bark. Refrigerate until completely chilled.

    a top down view of the edge of a knife being used to carve lines into the ganache to create the appearance of tree bark.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

  25. Dust with cocoa powder and powdered sugar before serving.

    a low angle view of a chocolate yule log cake dusted with cocoa powder and powdered sugar, and decorated with meringue mushrooms, candied cranberries, and rosemary sprigs.

    Allrecipes/Oana Ennis

Chef's Notes:

I used all of the buttercream filling and thought it was a bit too much. In the future, I'd probably use 2/3 of the filling for this recipe, and save the rest for cupcakes.

If you have a favorite frosting or filling, it will work here. As long as you can slice it later, pretty much anything goes. You can also add a splash of milk to achieve a lighter, fluffier buttercream.

You can also drizzle the baked sponge with many delicious, possibly adult beverages, such as dark rum, kirsch, or raspberry liqueur, just to name a few.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

526 Calories
34g Fat
56g Carbs
6g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 10
Calories 526
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 34g 43%
Saturated Fat 20g 99%
Cholesterol 165mg 55%
Sodium 245mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 56g 20%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 49g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 57mg 4%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 218mg 5%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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