Yule Log Cake (Bûche de Noël)

This classic Yule Log Cake is a tender chocolate sponge cake filled with mascarpone whipped cream and covered with whipped chocolate ganache! It’s delicious, festive and made completely from scratch!

Pinterest collage for Yule Log Cake

What is a Yule Log Cake?

Burning a yule log is a Christmas tradition that dates back before Medieval Times. People would carefully select a Christmas tree, bring it into their home and place the largest end into the fire. The whole tree would be burned and keep the fire going for the day.

A Yule Log Cake, also known as a Bûche de Noël, is a cake made based on that old tradition. Fortunately for us, we won’t burn it – we’ll eat it! It’s basically a chocolate sponge cake roll that’s filled with cream and covered with chocolate ganache and made to look like a log.

The version I’m sharing with you today is a wonderfully tender chocolate cake filled with mascarpone whipped cream (to jazz it up a bit and give some awesome flavor) and covered with whipped chocolate ganache. It’s decorated with sugared cranberries and rosemary for a lovely rustic and Christmas-y look!

slice of yule log cakefull Yule Log Cake

How to Make a Yule Log Cake

When making a Yule Log Cake, you’ll start by making the chocolate cake. If you’ve ever made a Pumpkin Cake Roll, it’s very similar, but uses a larger pan size. The larger size allows for you to later cut part of the log off and attach it to the side for a little branch. Be sure to line the pan with parchment paper, which will be used later to roll the cake in.

After the cake is baked and while it’s still hot, use the parchment paper to lift it out of the cake pan. Starting at one of the short ends, roll the cake up tightly using the parchment paper that it’s on. Allow the cake to cool completely. This will allow the cake to keep it’s shape and not break when you unroll and fill it.

Make the filling and spread it evenly over the cooled cake, then re-roll it. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and refrigerate it until cool and firm.

How to Decorate a Yule Log Cake

When it’s take to decorate the cake, you’ll make the chocolate ganache. I whipped the chocolate ganache to make it a little lighter (in color and texture), but you could also use it as is – without whipping it.

So while the cake is chilling, make the chocolate ganache. Allow the ganache to come to room temperature, then whip it on high speed until lightened, fluffy and spreadable.

Cut a piece of the log off (about 3 inches in length) and use a little chocolate ganache to attach it to the side of the cake to make it look like a little branch.

Spread the chocolate ganache over the cake, leaving the ends exposed. Use a fork to create bark lines in the cake, then decorate with sugared cranberries and rosemary sprigs.

When you’re done, you’ll have an amazing chocolate Yule Log to serve for Christmas!

steps to making a yule log cakeyule log cake decorated

Why is this Best Chocolate Yule Log Recipe?

There’s so much to love about this particular Yule Log Recipe.

  1. The cake itself. I tried so many cakes while testing this recipe and most just didn’t get me excited about eating them. They were tough and lacked flavor. This cake uses a little bit different method where only the egg whites are whipped and added at the end. It lends a much more tender cake. It also uses dark cocoa for better flavor.
  2. The filling. Rather than filling it with a simple whipped cream, I used a mascarpone whipped cream. It doesn’t take over the cake, but lends a flavor that is just a little more special and deserving of being your Christmas centerpiece.
  3. The whipped chocolate ganache. The whipped texture of the ganache lightens it up and keeps this cake from feeling heavy when eating it. Since the cake and filling are so light, it needs a light frosting. The whipped chocolate ganache has rich flavor, with a light texture. Perfection!

cross section of yule log cake

More Great Christmas Cakes

Raspberry Chocolate Layer Cake
Chocolate Mousse Cake
Peppermint Chip Layer Cake
Italian Cream Cake
Eggnog Layer Cake
Snickerdoodle Layer Cake
Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Easy Chocolate Yule Log Cake | Bûche de Noël Recipe
Recipe

Yule Log Cake (Bûche de Noël)

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 42 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This classic Yule Log Cake is a tender chocolate sponge cake filled with mascarpone whipped cream and covered with whipped chocolate ganache! It’s delicious, festive and made completely from scratch!


Scale

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake

  • 3/4 cup (98g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (38g) Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 large eggs, divided
  • 3/4 cup (155g) granulated sugar
  • 5 tbsp (72g) sour cream
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Mascarpone Whipped Cream Filling

  • 1 1/4 cups (300ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 3/4 cups (86g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 8 oz (226g) mascarpone cheese, softened but still chilled*

Whipped Chocolate Ganache

  • 8 ounces semi sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Sugared cranberries, optional*
  • Sugared rosemary, optional*

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 17×12 inch jelly roll sheet pan with parchment paper. Make sure the parchment paper sticks up at least an inch above the sides of the pan on all sides. You’ll use the parchment paper later to lift the cake out of the pan and roll it up.
2. Whisk the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar and whisk together until well combined.
4. Add the sour cream, melted butter and vanilla extract and whisk together until well combined.
5. Add the dry ingredients and gently whisk together until well combined, then set aside.
6. Add the egg whites to a large mixer bowl and whip of high speed until stiff peaks form.
7. Gently fold about 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture to loosen up the batter.
8. Add the remaining egg whites and gently fold together until well combined.
9. Spread the cake batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the top of the cake springs back when toughed and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
10. Remove the cake from the oven and immediately lift the cake out of the pan using the parchment paper and place it on the counter.
11. While the cake is hot, use the parchment paper the cake was baked in and start at the shorter end of the cake to slowly roll the cake up. Set the cake aside to cool completely.
12. When the cake has cooled and is ready to be filled, make the filling. Add the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and salt to a large mixer bowl and whip on high speed until soft peaks form.
13. Add the mascarpone cheese to the whipped cream and whip until stiff peaks form. It will happen fairly quickly.
14. Unroll the cake roll very carefully, looking out for areas where it may be sticking to release it. You can use an offset spatula or something similar and run it along the parchment paper as you unroll the cake to help release it as it unrolls.
15. Spread the filling evenly onto the unrolled cake, then roll it back up without the parchment paper.
16. Wrap it up in plastic wrap with the seam side down and refrigerate for at least an hour to firm up.
17. When you’re read to decorate the cake, make the chocolate ganache. Add the chocolate to a medium sized bowl and set aside. Heat the cream in the microwave just until it begins to boil, then pour it over the chocolate.
18. Allow the chocolate and cream to sit for a few minutes, then whisk until smooth. Let the ganache cool to about room temperature (or cooler, you don’t want it too warm/thin), then transfer to a large mixer bowl.
19. Whip on high speed until lightened in color and thick enough to spread.
20. To decorate the cake, use a large serrated knife to gently cut off a piece of the log about 3 inches in length. Make the cut with a slight diagonal.
21. Use some of the chocolate ganache to attache the small log to the side of the larger log.
22. Spread the remaining chocolate ganache all over the cake, then use a fork to create bark-like lines all over it. Decorate with sugared cranberries and rosemary (instructions in notes), if desired.
23. Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve.


Notes

To make sugared cranberries and rosemary, add 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, until sugar has melted. Remove from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes. Spread 1/2 cup of sugar evenly on a shallow dish. Dip cranberries and rosemary springs to the sugar water, then roll in the sugar. Let dry before adding to the cake. I also used some of the clumps of sugar left behind to add “snow” to the cake.

Keywords: yule log cake, yule log recipe, what is a yule log, chocolate yul log, christmas yule log. buche de noel

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Recipe rating

217 Comments
  1. Stephanie Lopez

    I made this cake yesterday. Absolutely delicious! So light and airy. And a fun decoration!

  2. Alex Meza

    Hello thanks for the recipe, just want a clarification for the granulated sugar. Is it 155 grams or 3/4 because I would assume 3/4 cup is 98 grams not 155 grams (like the coco powder)?

  3. Ann

    Hi, I’ve decided to try this recipe for Christmas to make very first Yule Log. But I have a few questions.

    If I don’t have heavy whipping cream, would normal whipping cream worked out? Or is there any toehr substitutes that we can use it as?

    1. Lindsay

      Heavy whipping cream is best/kind of necessary. The higher fat content allows it to whip into a more stable whipped cream.

  4. Lori Beairsto

    From start to finish, including cooling time, how long will this recipe take? I have about 3 hours and not sure if that is long enough. 

    1. Lindsay

      If you’re looking to bake the cake and get all the way through decorating, 3 hours is probably not long enough.

      1. Alexandra

        Absolutely amazing! I have no experience in cooking, this recipe was so accurate and the results were awesome! The desert was not only beautiful but also delicious! Thank you Lindsay!
        Alex

  5. Lisa

    Hi!! I am planning to make this for Christmas Eve dinner and wanted to ask you if I could substitute the granulated sugar with brown sugar? What do you think? Thank you!

  6. CCH

    I’m going to make this. I feel like adding a little peppermint extract to the ganache might be good. And I’m surprised there’s no coffee in the chocolate cake or ganache; it complements the flavor of chocolate so perfectly and you can’t taste it in the finished product!!

  7. Tina

    Hi, I just made the Yule Log and it is beautiful and delicious. My kids ( very perticular about their desert) say its the best thing they have ever had.

  8. olive

    Can this cake be stored, uncovered, in the fridge if I make it the day before?  Or do I need to try to store it in an airtight container and transfer to the serving plate (which sounds very challenging!)?  Thanks!

  9. Shawn

    Made this for a family gathering and it was wonderful. Moist, spongy cake, delicious filling and ganache. Instead of leaving the parchment on while it cools, I lay out a dish towel, sprinkle generously with powered sugar, after cooling the cake for 5 minutes in the pan, gently lift it out and carefully flip it onto the towel, then peel off the parchment and roll the cake up in the towel to cool. This method leaves you with a cooled cake with no hardened parchment to peel. Don’t worry if the cake cracks slightly while you flip it, you will fill with ganache and never know it. Also, my ganache never whipped up (wonder if it may be because I mistakenly let the cream boil in the microwave first). I just added the remaining 4 oz chocolate chips from the 12 oz bag and then refrigerated it for a bit and it thickened and spread beautifully. Will make again for Christmas!

  10. Shannon McNulty

    Hi! If I make this a day ahead of time, is it better to make it all the way through frosting it or just up to putting the cream in the middle and the  rollin it. What is the best way to store it a day ahead? Thanks!

    1. Lindsay

      I would make the whole thing, ganache and all, and then store in the fridge. The ganache will actually help hold the moisture in the cake.

  11. Emily

    Hey Lindsay this cake looks amazing! How tall are the side of your pan? I have a 11x17inch cookie sheet and the sides are a little less than an inch tall would that work or do you think the cake would over flow?

  12. Purvi

    Hi, sorry, one more question. Does the dark cocoa powder lend a bitter taste like dark chocolate? I’m making this for my kids who dont like dark chocolate. Thanks again!

  13. Purvi

    HI Lindsay! Thank you for this recipe; I’m excited to try it! Is it okay if my 12by17 pan has ridges like this one: ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUFVNFUxVFJORkFIT1EmZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTA2ODUwNTlTUzJNOFpRNzFRU0smZW5jcnlwdGVkQWRJZD1BMDU5NDI1MzE2WFIwQjNMRFhGWUEmd2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9hdGYmYWN0aW9uPWNsaWNrUmVkaXJlY3QmZG9Ob3RMb2dDbGljaz10cnVl

  14. Marie Genco

    Hi, I need to make a white cake instead of Chocolate. Should I just omit the cocoa powder? I need to make this for next week, day before xmas. Thank you.

  15. Sara

    This looks perfect for what I want to make for my daughter’s birthday this weekend. However, she wants a chocolate peppermint cake. Do you think I could add peppermint extract to the filling? Or should I add it to the ganache? And how much would you recommend?
    Thank you so much!

    1. Lindsay

      You could add it to the filling. I might add one teaspoon and taste it to see if you want to add more. Still use the vanilla as well.

  16. Jo

    My friend and I zoomed 1000 miles apart to create this cake!  This turned out lovely with some modifications. I made mine gluten free using Cup4Cup flour. I added 1 tsp almond extract to the filling, 1 tsp cinnamon to the frosting and used Enjoy Life dark morsels. I loosened the cake at about 1-2 inches around the edges to help the cake release easier before rolling it with filling. Be sure to refrigerate the frosting for about 5-10 minutes so it keeps its shape while mixing with a hand mixer (refrigerate/mix again if still too runny to spread). I used a toothpick to make the lines. The clumped sugar left from dipping the cranberries and Rosemary sprigs made perfect “snow” on the Yule log. Despite leaving out the baking powder, which made it more dense and fudge-like, it was still delicious. I took lots of photos so I could remember what to do next time! 

  17. Lili Yong

    I am trying to make my first ever Yule cake log for this Christmas.  If I don’t have sour cream, can I use full fat yoghurt and still achieve the same lightness?  

  18. Sandra

    Hi. I was thinking about incorporating some frangelico or Kahlua. I wasn’t sure if I should brush the cake with it before I spread the cream or if I should incorporate it into the marscapone cream. Can I do something like this and how would you do it? 

    1. Lindsay

      Depending on how strong you want that flavor, you could even do both. You won’t be able to add much to the whipped cream without thinning it out too much. So I’d probably start with brushing it onto the cake. But if you wanted a little extra flavor you could add a touch of it to the whipped cream as well.

    1. Lindsay

      I’m not entirely sure since I haven’t tried that pan size. But as long as it doesn’t make too thick or thin of a cake I guess it should be fine.

  19. Maureen Sullivan

    I’m going to try this for a baking contest at work. I’ve tried two other attempts at a cake and didn’t like how they turned out. All other jelly-roll type cakes call for rolling up with a tea towel with confectioner sugar sprinkled on it. Won’t it stick to the parchment if you use the same as it’s baked on? That’s my biggest concern.

    1. Lindsay

      Well you want the parchment paper to stay on the cake when you roll it up so that you can roll it back out. It shouldn’t stick though when you try to peel it off after you roll it back out.

  20. Kathy

    I made this cake and it was absolutely fabulous -the best I have ever tasted! The balance of flavors were perfect! I followed the instructions to the letter and it came out great-quite impressive when I brought it to the table! It is something I always wanted to attempt-thank you

  21. Fawn

    I made this cake yesterday and it turned out wonderfully! My cake roll did crack after it cooled, but the filling and frosting held it together perfectly. I used regular cream cheese and hersheys chocolate cocoa powder (not dark chocolate) and it still tasted amazing! I really like the way the frosting on the log turned out. I didn’t need to use a fork to make lines. Applying the whipped frosting with a small frosting spreader made the most realistic bark pattern! Thanks for the recipe! Everyone loved it and I’m definitely going to make it again!

  22. Amanda

    Would this cake be okay sitting out for a few hours at room temp?

    I made it last week with my MIL and it turned out fantastic. I would like to enter it in a baking contest this weekend but they are not accepting entries that must be refrigerated and they will be sitting out for a few hours.

    1. Lindsay

      It does need to be refrigerated but it also can sit out for a few hours and be fine. So if it’s only going to sit out for a few hours and then be refrigerated it would be fine.

  23. Lisa

    Can this be made with gluten free flour and what would be a good substitute for the sour cream? I am allergic to wheat and yeast.

    1. Lindsay

      I’ve never tried gluten free flour, so I’m not sure. You could try it. I’d really recommend staying with the sour cream. The ingredients in this recipe are very intentional. But if you have to, you could try plain Greek yogurt.

  24. Mayanka Khetarpal

    Hi,
    For the mascaporne whipped cream – I have sweetend whipping cream instead of heavy whipping cream.
    Can I omit the powdered sugar and add the sweetend whipping cream to the mascaporne cheese? Also will the quantity remain the same that is 300 ml, if not how much will it be ?

    Thank you,
    Mayanka

    1. Lindsay

      I would assume quantity would be the same. The problem with leaving out the powdered sugar is that it stabilizes the whipped cream. Without it the whipped cream may wilt.

  25. Sylvie

    I love this recipe! I made it today, and it looks amazing. I didn’t have a jelly roll pan, so i used a cookie sheet lined with parchment and it did the trick. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  26. Krystal Marie Grossi

    My first roll cake and not only was it easy, it was delicious!! So in love with these flavors. I can’t wait to take it holiday gatherings. This Busche de Noel will be a yearly tradition. Thank you!! 

  27. Danielle

    This recipe is delicious. I made it keto last year and it was amazing but 2020 has me down so I’m going to make it just like the recipe this year and I can’t wait.
    I do want to add, Yule is a pagan holiday and the yule log is part of our Yule celebration, hence the name. It’s not actually a christmas tradition though a lot of pagan rituals and sabbats are celebrated by christians now.

  28. Abigail

    Lindsay! The sponge was incredibly light and the mascarpone was a nice touch balancing the sweetness and richness of the dessert! This was my first attempt at the recipe, or any Yule log for that matter. It carefully outlines each step, making this complex and intimidating dessert accessible to  novices like me!  The taste and balance of flavors are spot on! This was a practice run for Christmas night dessert! Thank you for sharing your talent. 

  29. Amber Price

    I absolutely love the recipe. How do I unroll the cake without it breaking? This is my first time making it, Im in charge of all desserts for the holidays this year,

    1. Lindsay

      You just want to be very careful with it. It can be a little tricky. Just go slowly and keep an eye on it as you unroll.

  30. Stephanie

    We have made this way more times over the last month than I care to admit, ha ha, but we just love it! It just has such a light taste and nothing is too overpowering. My cake always cracks, but once you put the filling in and the ganache on, it doesn’t really matter. Mine never looks as good as yours, but it always has a great taste! This recipe is a keeper!! Do you have a strawberry cake roll recipe? I imagine I can add strawberries to the filling in this version, but was still interested in a white cake recipe. Thanks for your time!!

    1. Lindsay

      I’m so glad to hear you’ve enjoyed it so much! I don’t have a strawberry cake roll yet, but I’d love to add one soon.

  31. Vivian

    I made this for Christmas dinner this year and it came out perfectly beautiful. I had an issue with the cake breaking across the width of it as I was rolling it up, and that break could be seen in the finished cake. I’m wondering if I rolled it up too tightly after it came out of the oven…what do you think? Anyway, it was absolutely beautiful and everybody raved about it. It tasted really fantastic. It is several steps to make and took quite awhile, but it was soooooo worth it. I even made the sugared cranberries and rosemary. What a show-stopper!!! I will definitely be making this again next year AND I think I will try making this – but not as a Yule log – by making the sheet cake, cutting into squares, spreading the filling on a square and topping with another square…then add the whipped ganache. Does this make sense? Think it would be great as an “anytime cake” rather than just as a Yule Log. Many thanks…I am about the try your Chocolate-Raspberry cake!!

  32. Rachel

    I made this for Christmas and it turned out perfectly! I was a bit nervous about having to roll and unroll the cake, but I didn’t have any issues at all. I received tons of compliments and will definitely save this recipe. Thanks for sharing.

      1. Jordan

        Like Haley, I also had to add a 1/2 cup of confectioners’ sugar to the ganache.

        This was my first Yule Log, and it made a special presentation with great flavors. I had to substitute raspberries for the cranberries, because our stores did not have fresh cranberries or even maraschino cherries available, but the sugared raspberries were lovely, too, alongside the sugared rosemary. I will more than likely use this recipe again. Thank you!

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

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“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12