This classic Buche de Noel (Bûche de Noël in French) or Yule Log cake is a stunning Christmas dessert made of sponge cake rolled with a whipped creme fraiche and covered with rich chocolate frosting. Bring a taste of France to your holiday table!
For the cocoa sponge:
For the chocolate frosting:
For the whipped creme fraiche:
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To make the chocolate sponge, preheat the oven to 375 F/190 C. Using a flour sifter, sift all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, and cornstarch in a medium bowl and set aside. In a bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until they are mounted.
Gradually add granulated (caster) sugar and continue to whisk until stiff peaks. Add egg yolks and gently mix with a rubber spatula, working in the same direction. Add dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, and starch) and gently combine with the spatula. Finally, add melted butter and gently mix again.
Pour the dough on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or a non-spill baking sheet and even the surface with a bent spatula. Bake the sponge for 10 minutes. Take it from the oven and let it cool.
To make the whipped creme fraiche, place all the ingredients in a chilled bowl and whisk till the cream is obtained. Cover the bowl with plastic film and refrigerate.
To make the chocolate frosting, stir cocoa powder into the warm water in a small bowl and set it aside. Beat butter, icing (powdered) sugar, and salt with an electric mixer for 3 minutes. Melt dark chocolate in a bain-marie/water bath or microwave and let it cool to room temperature. Add melted chocolate to the butter/sugar mixture and whisk. Finally, add the cocoa mixture and beat again.
To assemble Buche de Noel, flip the sponge over parchment or a kitchen towel and remove the parchment paper or baking mat. Cut the rectangle of 11 x 10 inches (28 x 25 cm). Spread a 1-inch (2.5 cm) line of apricot preserves along the long edge of the sponge.
Spread a thin layer (1/5 inch (0.5 cm) of the whipped crème fraîche on top of the remaining sponge and even with a bent spatula. Roll the sponge, starting from the top to the bottom, and tighten it. Wrap the roll in parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Take the rolled cake out of the fridge, trim the ends to make them neat, and place it on a serving tray. Spread the chocolate frosting over the cake and spoon the frosting out with the back of a tablespoon. Decorate the top of Buche de Noel with meringue mushrooms. Refrigerate the cake.
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