Yule log cake is a tradition that goes way back to the late 1800’s. In France during the days of Napoleon, he banned burning fires in fireplaces because he was concerned that it could spread disease. In order to keep the tradition of the yule log alive, a clever baker came up with a cake in the shape of a log. It is called Buche de Noel. They can be found everywhere during the holidays and it is a decadent treat. I am not going to say this is easy to make. I tried three different recipes and this one finally worked out. Rich butter cream frosting on light fluffy vanilla cake.
This year in 2018 the winter solstice happens in the northern hemisphere on December 21st at 5:23 pm EST. It is the perfect time to take a moment, to be thankful for your blessings and set your intentions and dreams for the new season. Why not make this delicious yule log cake and enjoy it along with some wassail for an authentic Winter solstice experience. I love to write down my dreams and stuff them in a pine cone and burn it on the longest night of the year. It is also a wonderful time to simply let go of the things that are holding you back.
I am wishing for you that you all your hopes and dreams come true and that you truly take a moment to breath and recognize the change of the season. No matter what your religion or beliefs, it is something we all share in together as humans. How do you plan to celebrate the solstice? I would love it if you let me know in the comments below.
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- Sponge cake:
- 4 eggs (room temperature)
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cake flour (sifted)
- Chocolate buttercream:
- 7 egg whites
- 1⅓ cups granulated sugar
- 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
- ½ teaspoon instant espresso powder
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups plus 3 tablespoons butter, softened
- How to make Yule Log Cake
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 10-inch by 15-inch baking pan with a 1-inch lip (jelly-roll pan) and line it with parchment paper. Butter the parchment or spray it with cooking spray. Set the pan aside.
- Beat the eggs for 5 minutes, until they turn thick and foamy. Add the sugar a little at a time, vanilla extract, and salt to the eggs and continue beating for 2 minutes. Fold the flour, a few tablespoons at a time, into the whipped egg mixture.
- Once the flour is incorporated into the batter, stop mixing.
- Gently spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake for 10-14 minutes, until the cake is just set. Invert the baked cake onto a clean, dry kitchen towel and peel off the parchment paper. Wait 3 minutes and then gently roll the cake, still in the towel, starting at the 10-inch end. Allow it to cool completely.
- To make the chocolate buttercream:
- In a clean, completely dry bowl beat the egg whites on high until soft peaks form. Set them aside for a moment.
- In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and ⅔ cup water to a boil. Allow it boil until it has reduced into a slightly thickened syrup. Begin beating the egg whites on high speed again, and pour the hot sugar syrup into the eggs in a slow, steady stream. Pour the melted chocolate, espresso powder, and vanilla extract into the egg whites and continue beating them until the meringue has cooled completely, about 5 minutes.
- Add the softened butter to the meringue, 2 tablespoons at a time, while beating on high speed, until all of the butter is incorporated into the frosting. If it becomes runny you can chill it for a bit and then proceed.
- To assemble the chocolate yule log:
- Unroll the cake and set aside the towel. Evenly spread 2 cups (or desired amount) of the chocolate buttercream on the inside of the cake and following its natural curve, gently form it into a cake roll. If you are adventurous you can cut off the ends of the cake roll on the diagonal and reattach them in the center of the cake with a bit of buttercream to fashion a “branch” coming off the main Yule log.
- Spread the exterior of the buche de noel with enough chocolate buttercream to cover it and gently pull a butter knife or small, offset spatula through the frosting to give the appearance of rough tree bark.
- Chill the cake and serve.