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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.

Recipe Summary

prep:
50 mins
cook:
10 mins
additional:
2 hrs 15 mins
total:
3 hrs 15 mins
Servings:
10
Yield:
1 13-inch Yule log
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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.
Credit: 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
Credit: maggiej
overhead view of homemade Chocolate Decadence Yule Log decorated with holly and berries
Credit: Yan
close up view of a Chocolate Yule Log on a stainless steel table
Credit: 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

Ingredients

10
Original recipe yields 10 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Buttercream Filling:
Sponge Cake:
Ganache Frosting:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • 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.

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

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

  • 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.

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

  • 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. Add vanilla and 1/2 of the cocoa powder mixture; mix on low speed for a few seconds. 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. Pull off the whisk attachment and use it to whisk the batter by hand until evenly blended.

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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.

  • Quickly flip the pan on top of the sugared area on the towel to invert the cake. Carefully remove the parchment paper, then sift more powdered sugar over the cake. Gently roll the cake up inside the towel; allow to cool for 15 minutes.

  • Carefully unroll the cooled cake. Dollop as much buttercream filling as you like on top, reserving some for later; spread to the edges. Roll cake up over the filling, using the towel to lift it if needed. Sprinkle more powdered sugar on top over the log, then wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

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

  • Make an angled cut 3 inches from one end of the log. Place log on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Apply some filling to the angled slice and attach it to one side of the log. 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.

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

  • Dust with cocoa powder and powdered sugar before serving.

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

526 calories; protein 6.4g; carbohydrates 55.7g; fat 33.7g; cholesterol 165.4mg; sodium 245.4mg. Full Nutrition
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