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Published December 17, 2021. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This beautiful Yule Log cake is nothing short of delicious and absolutely will be the centerpiece of all your Christmas festivities. With the added meringue mushrooms, sugared cranberries, and rosemary, everyone will think you are a professional baker.
What would the holidays be without a bunch of desserts? If you want to try out some fun homemade sweets, then for sure check out my tempting angel food cake or chocolate chess pie.
The Christmas yule log is a Nordic tradition that stems all the way back to the 15th century. It’s the tradition of a whole cut down tree where the cut end was placed into a fire and for the 12 nights leading up to Christmas this tree would feed the fire, so it was constantly moving into the fire. This custom spread throughout Europe.
The dessert became popularized in the 19th century and is still common to see at Christmas in Belgium and France where it is known as the Bûche de Noël. The yule log is a beautiful Christmas dessert showpiece, but it does take a bit of time, so get ready to hone those baking and pastry skills. Don’t miss my detailed how-to video below.
Yule Log Cake Recipe Video
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Ingredients for a Yule Cake
There are several different aspects of this Yule Log Cake, so I broke them down into sections
For the Cake:
- Flour – I use all-purpose flour, but the other option would be to use cake flour, but you’ll have to increase the amount by about 25%.
- Cocoa Powder – Use a good quality cocoa powder.
- Baking Powder – This will help to slightly elevate or cake while baking.
- Sugar – Plain granulated sugar is perfect.
- Eggs – Use large eggs.
- Salt – I’m a huge fan of using sea salt.
- Vanilla – I love using organic pure vanilla extract, no imitation.
- Oil – You can use vegetable, canola, or any neutral tasting oil.
For the Filling, Topping, and Garnishes:
- Heavy Whipping Cream – You must use cold heavy whipping cream.
- Powdered Sugar – Plain confectioners’ sugar is what is used.
- Baileys – This part is optional, but I like to add baileys or Kahlua to the filling.
- Cocoa Powder – Use a good quality cocoa powder.
- Mascarpone Cheese – This thick creamy Italian cheese can be found in the cheese section in a little container.
- Ganache – Classic semi-sweet chocolate ganache that has been cooled to room temperature to make it easy for applying.
- Sugared Cranberries – These are optional but really bring some much-needed color to the cake.
- Sugared Rosemary – This gives the effect of branches on the yule log, and it is very cool.
- Meringue Mushrooms – One of my favorite things on there and are really great to eat as well.
How to Make a Yule Log
Use these easy-to-follow instructions for making a homemade yule log cake:
In a large bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder.
Next, add in the sugar, vanilla, eggs, and oil and vigorously whisk together until smooth and combined.
Transfer the mixture to a 13×18 cookie sheet tray lined with parchment paper and spread the batter out using an offset spatula.
Bake at 350° for 15-17 minutes and then invert the cake onto a kitchen towel that’s been dusted with cocoa powder. Be sure to remove the parchment paper.
Roll the cake up in the towel and let it completely cool to room temperature, which takes about 2 to 2 ½ hours.
In the meantime, make the filling by whisking together the whipped cream, sugar, vanilla, and cocoa powder until medium-stiff peaks have formed.
Next, add in the mascarpone cheese and whisk until stiff peaks have formed. Set in the refrigerator to rest.
Now, prepare the ganache, and optional sugared cranberries and rosemary, as well as meringue mushrooms.
Once the cake is completely cooled, gently unroll it and then evenly spread the mascarpone whipped cream all over the cake from edge to edge.
Roll the cake up tightly and make sure the filling is not coming out of the edges and then roll it in a plastic wrap and chill it for about 30 minutes to help restabilize the shape and filling.
Slice the cake towards the top at an angle and then attach it to the side of the cake using some ganache or leftover whipped cream filling.
Spread the ganache all over the top of the and sides of the yule log leaving the cut ends opened.
Take a fork and run streaks down the sides and top of the cake.
Garnish with optional sugared cranberries, rosemary, meringue mushrooms, and chopped macadamia nuts.
- Make-Ahead: You can make this yule log up to 1 day ahead of time. Be sure to keep gently covered in the refrigerator and then take it out 1 hour before ready to serve.
- How to Store: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can cover and freeze this for up to 3 months. Slice and eat it right from the freezer or thaw it in the refrigerator for 1 day before serving.
chef notes + tips
- It is ok if there are some cracks in the roll cake because the entire thing will be covered in chocolate.
- When using the fork to create the bark-like visual, do not press too deep you want to make sure you are only staying in the ganache.
- After you’ve rolled the cake up with the filling, you can let it sit in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before adding on the ganache.
- The eggs do not need to be at room temperature.
- Feel free to substitute out the macadamia nuts for hazelnuts or even pecans.
- If you want to hyper-chill the cake after rolling it with the filling, place it in the freezer for about 15-20 minutes.
More Dessert Recipes
Christmas Yule Log Cake Recipe (Bûche De Noël)
For the Cake:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder + ¼ cup
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- For the Filling and Toppings
For the Filling and Toppings:
- 1 ½ cups cold heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon Baileys
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
- ¼ cup chopped macadamia nuts
- sugared cranberries
- sugared rosemary
- meringue mushrooms
- In a large bowl sift together the flour, 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder, and baking powder.
- Next, add in the sugar, vanilla, eggs, and oil and vigorously whisk together until smooth and combined.
- Transfer the mixture to a 13×18 cookie sheet tray that has been lined with parchment paper and spread the batter out evenly using an offset spatula.
- Bake at 350° for 15-17 minutes and the invert the cake onto a large clean kitchen towel that’s been dusted with ¼ cup of cocoa powder. Be sure to remove the parchment paper.
- Roll the cake up in the towel and let it completely cool to room temperature, which takes about 2 to 2 ½ hours.
- In the meantime, make the filling by whisking together the whipped cream, sugar, vanilla, and cocoa powder until medium-stiff peaks have formed.
- Next, add in the mascarpone cheese and whisk until stiff peaks have formed. Set in the refrigerator to keep cool until ready to use it.
- Now, prepare the ganache, and optional sugared cranberries and rosemary, as well as meringue mushrooms.
- Once the cake is completely cooled, gently unroll it, and then evenly spread the mascarpone whipped cream all over the enter from edge to edge.
- Roll the cake up tightly and make sure the filling is not coming out of the edges.
- Roll the cake up tightly in plastic wrap and chill it for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator to help restabilize the shape and filling.
- Slice the cake towards the top at an angle and then attach is to the side of the cake using some ganache or leftover whipped cream filling.
- Spread the ganache all over the top of the and sides of the yule log leaving the cut ends opened.
- Take a fork and run streaks down the sides and top of the cake.
With your video I was able to make a wonderful Christmas dessert.
Great dessert for the holidays. Was a winner in my family! I’m a kitchen manager at a local French Brasserie and Billy Parisian is my go to chef for everything! Thanks Chef Parisi!
I always wanted to make this and after watching your utube I had the courage. I cannot wait until tomorrow for my family to taste it!! Thank you and Merry Christmas!
The most delicious thing I ever made!
Made this today for my daughter’s 17th birthday. Lots of steps, but each step is not difficult. Couldn’t find mascarpone cheese this go around at the market, so I subbed cream cheese and used 2 tsp. vanilla in the filling instead of the Irish Cream. Super yum! I’d love to send/attach a pic…but looks like that’s not an option. You’ll have to take my word for it – it’s gorgeous!