Bûche de Noël (Yule Log)

December 11, 2013

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
In This Recipe


  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.

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Reviews (20) Questions (3)

20 Reviews

Nazli P. December 24, 2017
Please please please can Food52 regular contributors consider providing metric weights for their recipes? It’s so foolproof and actually uses fewer bowls utensils. Back to sifting 1/2 cup of cocoa and diving 3/4 c of sugar in half...
Picholine December 19, 2017
I make one every year , not this particular recipe. Here’s a tip: make cake and fill, wrap in parchment and foil .Freeze . Then remove the day of serving , make ganache and decorate . Chill before serving in fridge.
Maggie December 22, 2017
Hi Picholine, Do you think the mascarpone filling would be ok if I made the cake a few days ahead and filled w/the mascarpone filling and then freeze? I really want to make this but timing is a factor.
Picholine December 22, 2017
I know how you feel , I’m up to my neck cooking today. I can only say that my recipe has a whipped cream filling which freezes well. I’m not sure about the mascarpone. The filling I use is 1 Cup heavy cream whipped with 1/2 cup sugar and a tsp Vanilla
Maggie December 22, 2017
I think if whipped cream filling is ok after freezing the mascarpone should be ok too. I am going to take a chance and do it! thanks! Happy Holidays!!
Picholine December 24, 2017
Would like to know how your recipe came out ,may try it! Happy Holidays to you too.
amnookin December 20, 2016
My son had a buche de noel competition for his french class and we used this recipe. So delicious! I wasn't sure middle-schoolers would like coffee so we made the mascarpone with a fair bit of cinnamon. (Our mascarpone did curdle/split (?) a bit... so it wasn't as creamy... I added a second bit of cream cinnamon & sugar when I wanted it a bit more flavorful and I think the second bit hadn't cooled which must be why... so just be careful that is cool... it still tasted great though and was inside the roll so the texture wasn't really noticeable). We decorated with merengue mushrooms and fondant/molding chocolate leaves, berries, gnomes & squirrels. Adorable!
Idalu November 3, 2015
Delicious and actually quite easy to make. Make sure to take it out exactly after 15 or less to avoid a dry buche. My filling was fine, I used more mascarpone.
Jill H. December 25, 2014
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!
ladykave December 24, 2014
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.
beth December 23, 2014
I have never made one of these before but have a few modifications/timesavers I'd share:<br />- 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. <br />- 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.<br />-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.
Laura415 December 21, 2014
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:)
Laura G. April 11, 2014
egg yolk would make the filling thicker/custard like<br />
Michelle D. January 27, 2014
Mine was runny too, and while chilling worked for me I'd be interested to hear other ideas for making it firmer.
Synky January 26, 2014
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.
Caroline3322 December 22, 2014
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.
Michelle D. December 31, 2013
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.
Lauren O. December 25, 2013
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!
bvrlybest December 20, 2013
I'm going there.
Shalini December 13, 2013
That buche de noel is beautiful. Wonder if this'll be the year we will make one!