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Bûche de Noël (Yule Log Cake)

Humbly Homemade
A Bûche de Noël (Yule Log cake) can be enjoyed all winter long. Learn how to decorate this cake with chocolate buttercream frosting, festive meringue mushrooms & candied cranberries!
Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 45 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 15 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 10 people

Ingredients
  

Yule Log Cake

  • 1 batch of a roulade sponge of your choice (I used the chocolate roulade recipe from Food52)
  • 1 pint (2 cups) heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • ¾ cup butter (1½ sticks) softened to room temperature
  • cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • tsp salt

Candied Cranberries

  • cups fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

Meringue Mushrooms

  • 1 egg white (best straight from the fridge, since egg whites whip up easier when they are cold)
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp chocolate chips, melted

Instructions
 

Make the Roulade Cake and Frost It

  • Bake the sponge cake according to the recipes instructions. While it's hot out of the oven, roll it up tightly, starting from a longer end. Allow it to cool to room temperature, about an hour.
  • Add the heavy whipping cream in a mixing bowl and use an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer with a whisk attachment to whip the cream to soft peaks.
    Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to whip until it forms medium peaks.
  • Gently and carefully unroll the cooled sponge cake.
    Spread the whipped cream all over the cake in an even layer. Gently roll it back up, with the whipped cream filling inside.
  • Place the cake in the fridge to chill while you make the buttercream frosting.
  • In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or in a mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer, beat the softened butter until it is pale and soft, about five minutes.
  • Scrape the sides of the bowl and sift in the powdered sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Continue mixing on a medium to high speed until it is creamy.
  • Trim the edges off your cake, if desired. You can also cut a two or three-inch piece off one end of the roulade and stick it onto the side of the cake, to look more like a tree log.
  • Spread the chocolate buttercream over the cake and on the sides. It doesn't have to be perfectly smooth. The more bumps and imperfections, the more the cake will look like a wooden log.
    Use a fork to draw slightly squiggly lines in the frosting to look more like tree bark.
    Use a pairing knife to gently draw rings in the buttercream on the edges of the cake.
    Chill in the fridge again until the buttercream is firm.

Create the Decorations and Add Them to the Cake

  • To make the candied cranberries, rinse and dry the cranberries.
    In a small sauce pan, add ½ cup water and ½ cup of the sugar. Bring to a simmer on medium heat. Stir in the cranberries to fully coat them for about 2 minutes.
  • Drain the cranberries from the syrup. Spread out the cranberries on a baking sheet to dry for at least one hour, or overnight.
  • Roll the cranberries in the remaining ½ cup of sugar. Add more sugar as necessary to full coat the cranberries. Set aside.
  • To make the meringue mushrooms, first wipe down your mixing bowl and whisk attachment with vinegar. This will clean off any residual fats, which prevent egg whites from whipping up.
    Preheat the oven to 200°F.
  • Add the egg white to the mixing bowl and whisk on low until it is frothy.
    Add the cream of tartar and mix on a medium-high speed until it forms soft peaks.
  • Add the sugar one spoonful at a time, then add the salt. Continue whisking until it forms stiff peaks. Now you have meringue!
  • Add the meringue into a piping bag with a relatively small round tip and prepare to pipe on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat.
    Pipe the tops of mushrooms by creating thick discs. Pipe the stems by piping the meringue out as you slowly pull the bag up, to make a tower of meringue.
  • Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes, until the meringue is dry and sounds hollow when you tap the mushroom tops. Let cool completely.
  • Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave on 30 second intervals.
    Use the melted chocolate to stick the mushroom stems and tops together. You can also use the melted chocolate to stick the meringue mushrooms and candied cranberries to the yule log cake.
    Enjoy!
Keyword buche de noel, candied cranberries, chocolate buttercream frosting, chocolate log, Christmas log, Christmas yule log, meringue mushroom, roulade cake, winter baking, winter desserrts, winter recipe, yule log, yule log cake, yule log history