Traditional Christmas and Holiday Yule Log Cake
Yule Log (Buche de Noel)
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Prep: 80 min
Bake: 10 min
Yield: 10 to 12 servings
This festive Buche de Noel is decorated to resemble the giant yule logs in traditional French Christmas Eve bonfires. In Louisiana the bonfire tradition continues, as a way to guide Papa Noël (Santa) on his sleigh.

Sponge Cake

  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon Swans Down® Cake Flour
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder + extra for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Cake decorations of your choice


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk


  • 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 10 fluid ounces heavy cream


  1. PREHEAT oven to 350℉. Spray a 12×17-inch sheet pan with pan spray, line with parchment paper and spray again.
  2. MAKE SPONGE CAKE: Whip egg whites and granulated sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, until stiff peaks form; set aside.
  3. BEAT egg yolks, brown sugar, and vanilla extract together in another bowl, whisk egg yolks, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until pale and creamy.
  4. SIFT flour, 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, baking powder and salt over the egg yolk mixture, add butter and whisk on medium speed until completely combined.
  5. FOLD in whipped egg whites until completely combined. Be careful not to overmix and deflate the mixture. Gently spread cake batter evenly onto prepared, parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until the top of the cake springs back when lightly touched.
  6. PREPARE another sheet of parchment paper and a slightly damp kitchen towel. Remove baked cake from oven, sprinkle top surface with cocoa powder, lay the sheet of parchment paper on top and cover it with kitchen towel. Starting with a short side, gently roll up the cake (including the bottom sheet of parchment the cake is sitting on, the top parchment and the kitchen towel). Set rolled cake aside and allow to cool.
  7. MAKE FROSTING: Cream butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add melted chocolate and mix until combined. Add milk a tablespoon at a time until smooth and spreadable.
  8. MAKE GANACHE: Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring cream to a simmer in a sauce pan and pour heated cream over chocolate; let sit for 1 minute. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Let sit until chocolate thickens (you can speed up process by placing in refrigerator, but be sure to stir every so often to ensure even cooling). Once chocolate is thickened to consistency of sour cream, place it in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk until ganache is thick and fluffy; set aside.
  9. UNROLL cooled cake gently, remove top parchment paper and towel and set aside, and spread chocolate frosting evenly over the top of the cake to about 1/4 inch thick. Re-roll the cake without the bottom parchment. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour to set.
  10. ASSEMBLE CAKE: Remove plastic wrap from chilled cake roll and place on a cutting board, seam side down. Cut a thin slice from both ends to create clean edges, then cut 2 to 3 inches off one end of the cake on a diagonal. Stick 2 to 3 skewers into the top of straight cut end of the cake. Place the small cut piece, diagonal side down, onto the skewers to create the look of a cut branch.
  11. FROST cake with whipped chocolate ganache using a small offset spatula or back of spoon to create a rough, tree-bark texture and decorate as desired.
  • Cristina says:

    The measurement for the diagonal cut does not seem to be right.
    I think I spread the filling unevenly. Any tips for getting an even thickness of filling? Any special tools?
    For quick and easy, but pretty, decoration I put sprigs of rosemary and a few cranberries around the log, then topped everything with a sprinkle of “snow white non-melting sugar” to look like snow.
    It was fun to make and it was a gift for a friends birthday that is close to Christmas.

    • Swans Down says:

      Oh my, thanks Cristina. Yes, we would agree that 1/4 to 1/3 of an inch cut would not make a great length for the tree stem! The recipe has been updated. As for getting a nice even layer of thickness on the filling; a long knife passed over the top of the filling could do the trick.
      Thanks for the great compliment as well and happy baking!

  • Cristina says:

    Would love to see the pecan halves made into a pinecone!
    I am going to try this recipe, but I have been using recipes by weight (grams) for years and I think it is a lot easier, and more accurate especially with flour and for baking.

  • Cristina says:

    You might need a print option for the recipe.

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Cristina, Unfortunately the print function in the site was not functioning properly and had to be removed. If you select the three vertical dots menu in the top right side of your browser window there should be print function there. Hope this helps. Happy baking!

  • Becca says:

    I have made Yule Log cakes for years and my family and friends love them. I use the tines on a table fork to make the tree bark effect. I then use pecan halves to make a pinecone and then pluck a small limb from my pine tree and trim it down and place it at the top of the pinecone. I use cream cheese frosting so the cone and branch shows up beautifully.

  • Ann Marie says:

    Recipe is very confusing. Where is the recipe for the ganache?

  • P J Keenum says:

    You should show pictures of yule log assembly. It’s confusing & that would help tremendously.
    Thank you. PJ

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