Bûche de Noël (Yule Log)

By • December 11, 2013 12 Comments

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Author Notes: There are just about a million ways to make a yule log, but they all have three main components: cake, filling, and frosting. (Well, four if you count all of the fun bits and bobs you can use for decoration.) This recipe is a mashup of Dominique Ansel's flourless chocolate cake and Cook’s Illustrated's coffee-mascarpone cream and chocolate ganache, combined with a bit of my own flourish.Yossy Arefi

Serves 10 to 12


  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • pinches Salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ganche and Filling

  • Ganache
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • pinches salt
  • Filling
  • 12 ounces mascarpone, room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso powder
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • pinches salt
  1. For the Cake: Preheat oven to 375° F and line a 9-inch by 13-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Grease the paper.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the yolks with half of the sugar on high until the mixture is pale and very fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the salt and vanilla, then the cocoa powder.
  3. Wash and dry the bowl and whisk, then beat the egg whites on medium high until soft peaks form. With the mixer running, gradually add the rest of the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
  4. Stir 1/4 of the egg white mixture into the egg yolks to lighten everything up. Then gently fold in the remaining egg whites.
  5. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking sheet and bake until the cake springs back and is dry to the touch, 10 to 15 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes (the cake will deflate a bit). Then turn it out onto a clean kitchen cloth that has been dusted with cocoa powder. Gently roll the cake, towel and all, into a long cylinder. Let the cake cool completely in the towel while you prepare the ganache and filling.
  6. To Prepare the Ganache: Add the chocolate, butter, and salt to a bowl. Heat the heavy cream to a bare simmer, then add it to the chocolate. Stir until smooth and let sit at room temperature until it cools to a spreadable consistency.
  7. To Prepare the Filling: Heat the cream to a bare simmer and turn off the heat. Add the sugar, salt, vanilla bean, and instant coffee. Stir and let steep for 20 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean pod, making sure to scrape out all of the seeds into the milk, then add it to the room temperature mascarpone and stir to combine.
  8. To Assemble the Cake: Gently unroll the cake/towel. Spread the mascarpone mixture over the top and use the towel to help roll the cake into a tight cylinder. Cut a 2- to 3-inch piece off of one end at a diagonal to use as a stump. Gently move the cake to a parchment-lined baking sheet (or a serving platter, if you’d prefer to only move the cake once). Use the cooled ganache to attach the stump to the log then you’ll want to go ahead and slather that ganache on the rest of the cake. Be generous with the amount you use and drag your spatula or knife over the surface to give it a “barky” look. Finish by decorating the plate with meringue mushrooms, sugared cranberries and rosemary sprigs, and a generous dusting of powdered sugar.

More Great Recipes: Chocolate|Cakes|Desserts

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Comments (12) Questions (2)


8 months ago Jill H.

It's the best Bûche de Noel I've ever made!! And it was a masterpiece, since I copied with meringue mushrooms, sugared cranberries and sprigs of fir tree!


8 months ago ladykave

For those who found their filling runny - it might be that you used the amount of cream listed for the ganache (3/4 c) instead of the filling (6 tbsp). I nearly did so myself and then caught it in time - just made my filling and it's quite thick. That section of the recipe could be better laid out and divided to prevent that from happening.


8 months ago beth

I have never made one of these before but have a few modifications/timesavers I'd share:
- I don't drink coffee and didn't want to buy a whole can just for 2 tspsoons worth for this recipe. I found "tiramisu mascarpone" with coffee and sugar already added in, so used that instead. I also added some more cocoa powder and cinnamon to the mascarpone filling mixture. In total I used one 4 oz coffee mascarpone and 1 4 oz non-flavored, regular mascarpone, plus about 1/3 cup of heavy cream whipped in.
- when i was heating the cream for the ganache i put my bowl with butter and chopped chocolate into the already warm oven to soften - it worked really well and my ganache came out perfectly.
-I was giving this as a gift (always a risky prospect when trying a recipe for the first time), so I cut off a piece to use as a stump and wound up eating- er, testing- that. It was DELICIOUS. Even without the stump it still makes an impressive presentation.


8 months ago Laura415

For years I've made a caramel pecan Buche de Noel from a recipe on Epicurious. It uses ground nuts in the cake and adds caramel to the chocolate ganache frosting which I think helps make a tastier cake and a firm frosting. I will save this recipe to try because a coffee flavor in this cake would be delightful. Truly a fun cake to make but not if you are in a hurry:)


over 1 year ago Laura Griffiith

egg yolk would make the filling thicker/custard like


over 1 year ago Michelle de Lima

Mine was runny too, and while chilling worked for me I'd be interested to hear other ideas for making it firmer.


over 1 year ago Synky

The filling is extremely runny.....to the point where the log was swimming in a puddle hoping to be rescued. The taste of the log was pretty good, but presentation-wise this was very much a fail. The written recipe needs a lot of work because while this photo says a thousand words.....the words in the recipe are not them.


8 months ago Caroline3322

Hi! I didn't have this problem at all, and I even used liquid vanilla because I didn't have beans on hand. In fact, I felt like the filling was bordering on too thick to easily spread.


over 1 year ago Michelle de Lima

So beautiful and delicious it may become an annual tradition. It was easy to make the components the day before and assemble the day of. The only issue I had was that the filling was a bit soupy. I had to chill it before spreading. Perhaps the brand I used, Vermont Butter and Cheese, is more runny than most? Anyway, great recipe.


over 1 year ago Lauren Oberlin

I made this in an hour and a half and it is just fabulous! Thanks for a fabulous, rewarding advanced recipe to try on Christmas!


over 1 year ago bvrlybest

I'm going there.


over 1 year ago Shalini

That buche de noel is beautiful. Wonder if this'll be the year we will make one!