Christmas

Bûche de Noël (Yule Log)

December 11, 2013
4.7 Stars
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
Ingredients
  • Cake
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • Pinch 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
  • Pinch 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
  • Pinch salt
In This Recipe
Directions
  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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Sydney Clark
    Sydney Clark
  • Amanda Smith
    Amanda Smith
  • Nazli Parvizi
    Nazli Parvizi
  • Picholine
    Picholine
  • Idalu
    Idalu
Yossy Arefi is a photographer and stylist with a passion for food. During her stint working in restaurant kitchens, Yossy started the blog Apt. 2B Baking Co. where, with her trusty Pentax film camera, she photographs and writes about seasonal desserts and preserves. She currently lives in Brooklyn but will always love her native city of Seattle. Follow her work at apt2bbakingco.blogspot.com & yossyarefi.com.

23 Reviews

Sydney C. January 27, 2021
Served this as our Christmas Eve centerpiece dessert and everyone absolutely loved it! I accidentally forgot to half the sugar and added all of it to the yolks, but it still turned out fine. The mascarpone cream was delicious. I usually don't follow recipes but this was well worth it! I made little mushroom shaped meringues dusted with cocoa, sugared cranberries, and rosemary sprigs to make this look more like a log.
 
Amanda S. December 8, 2019
Just made this yesterday, and it was delicious! I did do a few things differently:
1) For the cake, I just went ahead and did 6 egg whites (cause really, what are you gonna do with that other egg white?), and instead of trying to divide 3/4 c sugar in half, I just added 1/2 c to the batter and 1/4 to the egg whites - worked perfectly.
2) I used a 10x15 jelly roll pan - it's actually a little crazy to me that this calls for a 9x13 (that seems so small!). Regardless, the 10x15 worked wonderfully, and is what I will use if I make this again.
3) I made a chocolate mascarpone filling by substituting half the heavy cream with 2.5 oz. dark chocolate (I used the Lindt dark chocolate with sea salt)
4) I omitted the coffee (my husband hates anything with even the hint of a coffee flavor); instead, I added 1 tsp cinnamon (saw it in another recipe somewhere and thought it sounded good and Christmas-y).
5) I didn't steep a vanilla bean in the cream and then scrape it out (cause ain't nobody got time for that...hello, vanilla bean paste anyone?!).
6) I reserved just a little bit of the ganache (a very little bit) to glue my meringue mushroom caps and stems together - easier than having to separately melt chocolate for the purpose, which one recipe called for.
7) I used mint leaves and raspberries to create faux holly - cranberries don't do a lot for me, and I love raspberries and chocolate :) they looked lovely (and the raspberries were a very tasty addition)!

It turned out great!! I think next time I'd do less cinnamon in the filling, but otherwise it was perfect. I saw that some folks complained about runny filling, and I admit I did chill my filling in the fridge for a bit, but once I did it was the perfect consistency. I also chilled my ganache before spreading it, and again, I think a little chilling made it the perfect consistency, so no complaints about that either. Next time, I think I'll make a raspberry version of Bobby Flay's Blackberry-Caramel sauce (https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/pumpkin-french-toast-stuffed-with-blackberry-caramel-mascarpone-recipe-1918504) to drizzle over the cut slices of cake, maybe using Chambord?? Mmmm... :)
 
Amanda S. December 8, 2019
Just made this yesterday, and it was delicious! I did do a few things differently:
1) For the cake, I just went ahead and did 6 egg whites (cause really, what are you gonna do with that other egg white?), and instead of trying to divide 3/4 c sugar in half, I just added 1/2 c to the batter and 1/4 to the egg whites - worked perfectly.
2) I made a chocolate mascarpone filling by substituting half the heavy cream with 2.5 oz. dark chocolate (I used the Lindt dark chocolate with sea salt)
3) I omitted the coffee (my husband hates anything with even the hint of a coffee flavor); instead, I added 1 tsp cinnamon (saw it in another recipe somewhere and thought it sounded good and Christmas-y).
4) I didn't steep a vanilla bean in the cream and then scrape it out (cause ain't nobody got time for that...hello, vanilla bean paste anyone?!).
5) I reserved just a little bit of the ganache (a very little bit) to glue my meringue mushroom caps and stems together - easier than having to separately melt chocolate for the purpose, which one recipe called for).
6) I used mint leaves and raspberries to create faux holly - cranberries don't do a lot for me, and I love raspberries and chocolate :) they looked lovely (and the raspberries were a very tasty addition)!

It turned out great!! I think next time I'd do less cinnamon, but otherwise it was perfect. I saw that some folks complained about runny filling, and I admit I did chill my filling in the fridge for a bit, but once I did it was the perfect consistency. I also chilled my ganache before spreading it, and again, I think a little chilling made it the perfect consistency, so no complaints about that either. Next time, I think I'll make a raspberry version of Bobby Flay's Blackberry-Caramel sauce (https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/pumpkin-french-toast-stuffed-with-blackberry-caramel-mascarpone-recipe-1918504) to drizzle over the cut slices of cake, maybe using Chambord?? Mmmm... :)
 
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:
- 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.
 
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
 
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!