My decadent twist on a Christmas Classic. Indulge in the velvety smoothness of a tiramisu-inspired Buche de Noel Cake, the perfect centerpiece for your holiday celebration.
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Chronicles of Buche de Noel Cake
The iconic French cake “Buche de Noel”, is a log shaped sponge cake buttercream roulade that represents a long burning tree trunk; it symbolizing century-long roots.
Even though the cake itself was probably invented in the 19th century, its symbolic meaning goes back to ancient times and ancient cultures. Gathering a massive log and burning it in celebration of the Winter Solstice and praising the coming of the New Sun, (the New Year) can be found in ancient Celtic and Druid traditions.
The Yule log was used to bring together all the inhabitants of the house (guests, parents, servants) around the family hearth.
The tradition of burning a log is also present in Armenia. The province of Lori, where my grandfather’s ancestors are from, had a tradition on New Years Eve to bring a huge log and place one end in the hearth and the other end by the door. Each family attends the log (“taremuti quotook”) to ensure that it burns all night and last until Armenian Christmas Eve January 5th.
It was customary for all inhabitants of the house to put a branch or a twig on the burning log to ensure it stayed kindled.
On Christmas Eve they gathered the wood ashes and scatter them in the grain field to ensure a bountiful crop and protect the fields from hails and storms.
As for the invention of the Buche de Noel, one of the anecdotal stories suggest that Napoleon Bonaparte issued a proclamation to restrict the use of hearths. The Parisian bakers invented this cake so people can carry on the tradition of having the log.
Why do I like this Yule Log cake Recipe?
Yule log cake is festive and elegant. The basis for the cake is a rolled sponge cake which is easy and quick to bake. The filling can be as simple as whipped cream but traditionally it is French buttercream. The most important and fun part of the Yule Log is decorating the cake.
The decoration options are endless. Over the years, I made different yule logs from black forest cake with chocolate bark, to white chocolate raspberry with marzipan cones, meringue mushrooms.
Grocery List For Buche de Noel Recipe
- Substitute mascarpone cheese with cream cheese.
Special Tools to Use:
Bake in 375°F (185°C). the preheated oven.
How to Make Buche de Noel Cake Step by Step
Step 1: Making chocolate chiffon cake
Preheat the oven to 375°F (185°C).
Line the baking sheet with a parchment paper bigger than the sheet pan and grease with butter.
Sift flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder together and set aside.
Carefully separate the yolk and egg whites and put in separate bowls.
Whip the egg whites first and once frothy gradually add half of the sugar.
Beat the meringue until it forms stiff peaks.
Use another bowl or transfer the beaten egg white into another container.
Start beating the egg yolks and once combined add the rest of the sugar.
Whip for 8-10 minutes until they double or triple in size and turn pale yellow.
Beat the oil into the yolk mixture and vanilla extract.
Scoop a third of the beaten whites and fold into the yolks.
Add half of the flour mixture and gently fold it into the batter.
Alternate the egg whites and flour until everything is fully combined.
Immediately dollop the batter into the prepared sheet pan and smooth it evenly.
Bake for 18-20 minutes.
Have a kitchen towel ready to roll the roulade into a log shape.
Additional cocoa powder is needed for dusting
Once the sheet cake is ready and while it’s hot, dust with 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder, drape a kitchen towel over the top, and place on a board or a wire rack. Grab them all together and immediately turn upside down.
Remove the sheet pan, and carefully peel off the parchment paper.
Dust the other side of the cake with cocoa powder and using the towel start rolling the log from the short edge.
Let it rest on a counter until fully cooled. Once cooled store until ready to use.
Step2: Making the tiramisu buttercream
Beat the softened butter until silky. Gradually add the condensed milk and whisk until fully incorporated.
Add the cocoa powder, and instant coffee.
Then beat in mascarpone cheese one tablespoon at a time.
In a separate bowl whip the cream and a tablespoon of powdered sugar until the cream just holds stiff peaks, but don’t over-whip.
Using the spatula, fold the whipped cream with the mascarpone mixture until fully incorporated.
Step3: Making the dark frosting
Simmer the cream and whisk the chocolate into the hot cream. Continually mix until all the chocolate is melted.
Let it cool down until it soft but spreadable.
Step4: Assembling the Buche de Noel
Unroll the chiffon sheet cake and spread the tiramisu cream evenly on the sheet. Keep ½ cup to spread on top of the roll.
Roll the cake in the same direction and place on a cake board seam side down.
Spread the reserved tiramisu cream on top and sides of the role.
Chill the cake for at least 20 minutes. Cut off the ends of the cake to reveal the spiral.
Using an offset spatula, spread the ganache on top. It should be soft and spreadable.
With a fork or a pastry comb, make the zigzag bark-like patterns.
The Best Way to Decorate
There are all kinds of decorations that you can use. The most classic decorations are meringue mushrooms or sugar coated berries.
I make tuile cookies shaped as oak leaves and also added my popoque cookies.
Tips and wisdom
Make Ahead & Storage Instructions
Roll of cake can be baked 2-3 days beforehand. Keep it rolled in a towel or parchment paper, wrapped in saran wrap.
The filling can also be made ahead, but before use, bring to room temperature and give it a gentle whisk.
Assembled cake can be made 2 days before and kept in the refrigerator.
Can the cake be frozen?
The cake keeps in the fridge for 5-6 days and can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Wrap the cake in a multiple layers of plastic wrap and then with aluminum foil. When ready to serve, let it thaw a day in the fridge, unwrap and freshen up the decorations. If the chocolate ganache shows discolorations due to temperature change just shave chocolate on top.
Tiramisu-Inspired Buche de Noel
For Chiffon Sponge
- 1 cup cake flour
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 egg yolks
- 6 egg whites
- 1 cup sugar divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons almond oil or any neutral oil
For Tiramisu Cream
- 100 gram butter
- 100 gram sweetened condensed milk
- 200 gram mascarpone cheese
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate
For the Chocolate Chiffon Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (185°C). Grease a 12×17-inch baking sheet, line it with parchment paper and grease the parchment paper (on both sides).
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt set it aside.1 cup cake flour, 3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon salt
- Carefully separate the yolk and egg whites and put them in separate bowls.
- In a large mixing bowl (standing mixer bowl), add the egg whites and whip them until frothy. Gradually add ½ cup of sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form (5-6 minutes).6 egg whites, 1 cup sugar
- Scrape the egg whites into a clean bowl and use the same large bowl to whip the egg yolks.
- First, break the egg yolks with your whisk or beaters, then add the rest of the sugar. Continue beating until it has doubled in volume (6-7 minutes).6 egg yolks
- Incorporate the oil and vanilla extract.1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 tablespoons almond oil
- Fold a third of the egg whites into the yolks, and then half of the flour mixture. Add the second third of the whites, then the rest of the flour, fold until fully combined (until no egg white or cocoa flour mixture streaks remain.)
- Spread the batter evenly on the prepared pan.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the cake springs back when gently pressed in the center. Generously dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder, and drape the tea towel over it. Using a wire rack, put it against the towel and flip the sheet pan and wire rack as a whole unit to invert the cake.
- Remove the sheet pan, and carefully peel off the parchment paper. Dust the other side of the cake with cocoa powder and using the towel start rolling the log from the short edge.
- Place the log seam side down and let it cool completely for about 1 hour.
- Beat the softened butter until silky and smooth. Gradually add the condensed milk one scoop at a time and whisk until fully incorporated.100 gram butter, 100 gram sweetened condensed milk
- Sift the cocoa powder, and instant coffee.1 tablespoon cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon instant coffee
- Beat in the mascarpone cheese one tablespoon at a time until fully combined.200 gram mascarpone cheese
- In a separate bowl whip the chilled whipping cream. Add a tablespoon of powdered sugar until the cream just holds stiff peaks, but don’t over-whip.1 cup whipping cream, 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- Using the spatula, fold the whipped cream with the mascarpone mixture. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to assemble the cake.
- Warm ½ cup of the cream and stir in ½ cup of the chocolate.1/2 cup cream, 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate
- Whisk until the chocolate is melted.
- Let it cool down for 15-30 minutes until it thickened and not runny.
Assembling Yule Log Cake
- Unroll the chiffon sheet cake and spread the tiramisu cream evenly on the sheet. Keep ½ cup to spread on top of the roll.
- Roll the cake in a same direction and place on a cake board seam side down.
- Spread the reserved tiramisu cream on top and sides of the role.
- Chill the cake for at least 20 minutes.
- Cut off the ends of the cake to reveal the spiral.
- Using an offset spatula spread the ganache on top. It should be soft and spreadable.
- With a fork or a pastry comb make the zigzag bark alike patterns.