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How to Make a Yule Log (Buche de Noel)

A Yule log or bûche de Noël is a traditional Christmas cake, often served as a dessert near Christmas, especially in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Vietnam, and Quebec, Canada.

Variants are also served in the United States, United Kingdom, Cambodia, Scandinavia, Portugal, and Spain.

Made of sponge cake, to resemble a miniature actual Yule log, it is a form of sweet roulade.

The cake emerged in the 19th century, probably in France, before spreading to other countries. It is traditionally made from a genoise, generally baked in a large, shallow Swiss roll pan, iced, rolled to form a cylinder, and iced again on the outside. The most common combination is basic yellow sponge cake and chocolate buttercream, though many variations that include chocolate cake, ganache, and icings flavored with espresso or liqueurs exist.

Yule logs are often served with one end cut off and set atop the cake, or protruding from its side to resemble a chopped off branch. A bark-like texture is often produced by dragging a fork through the icing, and powdered sugar sprinkled to resemble snow. Other cake decorations may include actual tree branches, fresh berries, and mushrooms made of meringue or marzipan.

The name bûche de Noël originally referred to the Yule log itself, and was transferred to the dessert after the custom had fallen out of popular use.

Here is a pretty good basic recipe to get you started! This is only the start though, the fun starts with the decorations. These can be very simple, or very complex, depending on your skill level. As a novice baker, I recommend going to your local bulk store and buying a variety of candy and confection decorations. Otherwise, if you want the challenge, have a look at the comprehensive textbook by Bo Friberg below. Towards the end of the textbook you will find a section dedicated to decor.

buche de noel
Download PDF • 217KB

Professional Pastry Chef Bo Friberg
Download PDF • 15.94MB

Stick with us through the holiday season folks, there's lots more to come! And don't forget about our Private Chef Services for the holiday season, and for your 2024 events!


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