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Recipe: French Buche de Noel (Yule Log)

Posted on 12/17/2019 12:00:00 AM in The Buzz

This sweet treat, based upon the ancient Pagan tradition, is topped with powdered sugar to look like snow.

Across Europe, the burning of the Yule Log can be traced back to pagan times, when people presented the burnt log to their gods in hopes of a good harvest in the coming year. As Christianity became more widespread in Europe over the centuries, many began burning Yule Logs on Christmas Eve. This tradition evolved into a much sweeter offering when French bakers began making log-shaped cakes in the late 1900s for Christmastime. The decadent chocolate sponge cakes, often decorated with images of ornaments and bells, are known throughout France as le buche de Noel.


2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 egg yolks

1/2 cup white sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

6 egg whites

1/4 cup white sugar

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 10x15 inch jellyroll pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whip cream, 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until thick and stiff. Refrigerate for use later as filling.

  2. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks using an electric mixer, adding 1/2 cup sugar until thick and pale. Blend in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, and salt. Clean beaters to use for next step. Then in large glass bowl, whip egg whites to soft peaks. Slowly add 1/4 cup sugar, and beat until whites form stiff peaks. Immediately fold the yolk mixture into the whites. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

  3. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly touched. Dust a clean dishtowel with confectioners' sugar. Gently run a knife around the edge of the pan, and turn the warm cake out onto the towel. Remove parchment paper. Starting at the short edge of the cake, roll the cake up with the towel. Cool for 30 minutes.

  4. Unroll the cake, and spread the previously-made filling to within 1 inch of the edge. Roll the cake up with the filling inside. Place seam side down onto a serving plate, and refrigerate until serving. Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.

Indulge in delicious French sweets during O.A.T.’s New! French Impressions: From the Loire Valley to Lyon & Paris adventure.

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