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Close up photo of a buche de noel yule log cake with chocolate filling topped with cranberries and rosemary.
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5 from 4 votes

Bûche de Noël / Yule Log Cake

Buche de Noel is a showstopping French Christmas Cake that’s delicious, chocolaty, and much easier to make than it looks!
Prep Time1 hr 20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time1 hr 40 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 421kcal

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake

Buttercream Filling

  • ½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Chocolate Ganache

Garnish

  • ½ cup granulated sugar for simple syrup
  • ½ cup water for simple syrup
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • Fresh Cranberries
  • Powdered Sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 13”x18” half baking sheet with parchment paper (allowing a few inches to hang over the edge), spray with cooking spray, and set aside.
  • For the chocolate sponge cake layer, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, and cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl. Add in the eggs and milk. With an electric mixer, beat on medium until well combined.
  • Pour cake mixture onto your baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread into an even layer. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • While the cake is baking in the oven, make the buttercream filling layer. In a large mixing bowl, add unsalted butter and cream butter on low speed until pale and creamy.
  • Slowly add in 1 cup of powdered sugar, 1 tbsp heavy cream, and cocoa powder while mixing on low for about 3 minutes. Add in remaining amounts of sugar and cream, alternating a little at a time
  • Add in vanilla and salt and beat on medium-high for about 2 to 3 minutes until frosting is light and fluffy. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add cream in small amounts at a time. If your frosting needs to be thicker, add more powdered sugar in small amounts at a time. Set aside.
  • Make simple syrup while the cake is in the oven and/or cooling. Pour water and granulated sugar into a small saucepan and stir. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • Once your cake has cooled for a few minutes, fold the edge of the parchment paper over the short edge and roll it up. Allow it to cool for an additional 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Unroll the cake and cut away any hard edges. With an offset spatula, spread the buttercream filling in an even layer all over the cake, reserving a few tablespoons (to later attach the offshoot branch). Roll the cake, loosely cover with foil, and chill in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
  • While the cake is chilling, make garnishes. Dip sprigs of rosemary and fresh cranberries in simple syrup and then in granulated sugar until well coated. Set aside.
  • Remove chilled cake from the refrigerator and slice on a diagonal, about 3 to 4 inches from the end for your log. Slice any rough ends off of the log to make them straight. Transfer the cake to a serving platter and attach the log on the side with the reserved buttercream.
  • Next, make the chocolate ganache. Place semi-sweet chocolate chips in a heat-safe glass bowl. Pour ½ cup heavy cream into a microwave-safe bowl or coffee mug and heat for 50 seconds (watch this closely so it doesn’t overflow). Pour over chocolate chips and set aside for 4 to 5 minutes to allow the chips to melt. Whisk slowly into a ganache.
  • With an offset spatula, spread ganache onto the yule log cake. Use the spatula to create texture in the ganache to make it look like bark on a tree.
  • Add sugared cranberries and rosemary on top of and around the cake. Lightly dust with powdered sugar.
  • Loosely cover with foil and chill for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Slice and enjoy!

Notes

  • Chilling in the refrigerator allows the ganache to harden and makes the cake easier to cut.
  • The garnishes are optional, but really give that wow factor and make the log look a bit more realistic and festive.
  • Bûche de Noël is another name for Yule Log cake.
  • To add more texture to the ganache, you could also use a fork.
  • If you don’t have a baker’s half sheet, you could also use a jelly roll pan. The half sheet is slightly larger than a jelly roll pan.
  • It is ok if your cake doesn’t spread all the way to the sides. You will be cutting away any hard pieces along the edges.
  • If you don’t have an offset spatula, you could use a butter knife instead.
  • Your sponge cake may get indentations on it from the parchment paper. This is totally fine since it will be covered anyway.
  • You may eliminate cocoa powder in the buttercream if you like.
  • You could also dust your yule log with cocoa powder instead of powdered sugar.

Nutrition

Calories: 421kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 72mg | Potassium: 177mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 51g | Vitamin A: 482IU | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 2mg