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. Abby

    This is one of the best recipes of ANYTHING that I’ve ever used. Thank you so much! I only tweaked the flour and made it GF. Your ingredients and instructions were perfect. 

  2. Kim Sutton

    It was a fun cake to make, I actually made 2 cakes throughout the day.  I followed recipe to the T and it was a huge hit at both xmas family gatherings. It was absolutely delicious!!! Thank you my 93 year old mom is still eating it after 5 days. Have a Happy New Year!

  3. Alexandra

    Made this for a Christmas dessert and it was a hit! I was concerned that it would be too chocolatey, but it’s absolutely perfect and easy to make. The hardest part was waiting for the cake to cool. I personally had too much filling and it made rolling a bit difficult, but it’s easy enough to use extra for other baking/eating. Definitely going to be making this again!

  4. Jen

    This was my first time making a Yule Log and it turned out both beautiful and delicious! However, I could not get my end swirls to look clean and defined after cutting off the ends. I tried touching it up but could not get a look I was totally satisfied with. Any tips for making them look as perfect as in the picture?

  5. Kristin

    Thank you for taking the time to experiment with different options for the cake and filling, this thoughtful recipe is perfect exactly as posted. It’s light, airy, and not too sweet. I truly enjoyed making and decorating and the rave reviews from family and friends.

  6. Alisia La Londe

    Joyeux Noel!
    First a little history- my MIL loved sharing her French childhood memories and traditions. The Buche de Noel was one of her favorites, and always on our holiday dessert menu… and always from a bakery.

    This year, I decided I would make the cake myself, I was determined, I searched many recipes. Finally, I decided on this one and it did not disappoint!

    I made it exactly according to the recipe.

    My family was amazed and loved it! I will make it again… and again… and again!

    It is traditional, perfect and delicious, my mother-in-law would have been very proud!

    Merci Beaucoup!

  7. Lin

    Made this for the first time this Christmas.  My most favorite cake ever!  Everyone loved it and was posting a picture of it on FB.  Love, love, love the mascarpone filling!!!

  8. carrie

    This was perfect. Made it yesterday for our Christmas feast. I was worried I did something wrong with the ganache as it didn’t seem as thick as I thought it was supposed to be after whipping it, but it went on just fine and I made my bark lines, then it really firmed up in the fridge. And we are on lockdown here, so there’s lots left over for us 🙂

  9. Barbara N.

    Was a BIG hit in my house yesterday, especially requested my mother..steps easy to follow. I needed to refrigerate ganache to get a good consistency to tech a spreadable frosting.. Delicious 

  10. Marige

    I just made this for the first time and found it delicious.

    But I had one question. I followed the cake recipe precisely but I found, when I added the egg whites that the dough was so thick — like cookie dough! — it was very difficult to combine them. Forget folding! Only after wrestling it did I manage to combine them at all. Is it always this way? The cake is very good but a bit heavy. Not too heavy, but a bit.

    1. Lindsay

      I don’t remember exactly how thick it was and it’s possible yours was a little thick, but the first bit of egg whites is added to help break it up, so it is on the thick side.

  11. Isabel

    I made this and it was amazing. I’m super proud of my work, and thankful for you for helping me. My food critic aunt loved it so much. And she is very picky. Thanks!

  12. Abby

    Loved this recipe – easy to follow and great flavor combinations. The only thing I would note is that I found there to be much more ganache than needed, and was a bit of a waste of good chocolate. I would recommend starting with half the ganache recipe. You can always make more of you find you need it 🙂 

  13. Monica

    Lindsay, thank you so much for this recipe! I made it yesterday and it was perfect! Wanted to let you know that your Buche de Noel was a success in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! Merry Christmas!

  14. Wendy

    Fantastic recipe. My husband loved it. Its not too sweet the cream filling is like a whipped cream. I had a little trouble with the ganache being too thin. I just used the whole bag 12 oz nestle semi sweet chocolate. I might try milk chocolate next time. Definitely a keeper. Thank you!

  15. Victoria McIntyre

    Unfortunately I had similar experience as others. The cake fell apart when unrolled but glued it together with the filling. The Ganache did not thicken and is now in the fridge and hoping it will help. I am a pretty experienced baker but I do not recommend this recipe for a first time Yule Log baker.

  16. Sara C

    I made this today! Great recipe. Easy to follow. I’m so proud. I’ve never made anything like this before. 

  17. Douglas McMillan

    Have you considered doing a yellow sponge/vanilla frosting version of this cake to make a birch log? If so, I’d love to get that recipe.
    Also, I added 1/2 tsp of espresso powder to the cake mix and 1/4 tsp espresso powder to the ganache. It makes quite a difference! They both taste super chocolatey!

  18. Jailyn

    Hi! 

    So I frequently take recipes such as this and instead of using all-purpose flour I substitute GF 1-1 flour. I have celiac so this is a necessity. Anyways, I just popped the cake out of the oven and began to roll it when, tragedy: I’m a baby with hot things and the cake was hot even inside the parchment paper so I had to start over with re-rolling it and about two inches broke off from the rest of the cake. 😭 like down  the cake horizontally is where it tore off. It’s a clean tear. Can I repair it with the filling and ganache frosting? I’m so disappointed in myself. 

    1. Lindsay

      What a bummer! I would definitely think you can repair it with the filling. Plus, once it’s covered in ganache no one will know the difference. It’ll still taste great!

      1. Jailyn

        Thank you, Lindsay! I also thought about just using the piece that came off to put on the side since we have to cut off about that much anyways. I think it will work out. Thanks for your quick response! Merry Christmas and happy holidays! 

  19. Michele Arquette-Palermo

    I love this recipe. The instructions are clear, easy to follow and produces the BEST holiday dessert. Although I use the tea towel roll method. I had to sub cream cheese this year, but it tastes fine. Fresh rosemary was also difficult to find so I am using sprigs off my spruce trees in my yard. I love to cook but baking is my weak spot but this recipe makes me look good . THANK YOU! Merry Christmas

  20. Allison Kalpokas

    So delicious 🤤 was flawless to roll. Whipped ganache was perfect. Loved everything about it. And so easy to make. Thank you 

  21. Alex Martin

    I made the cake and rolled it up, but I’d rather do the rest tomorrow. Should I put it in the fridge or will it break when I unroll it?  My brother in law usually makes this, but…Covid (I don’t like his version anyway) 😬. Can’t wait to try this one!

  22. Sandra

    I made two cakes and cut the logs to make 4 smaller logs for gifts. They turned out great! I am not an experienced baker. The instructions were clear and easy to follow and the result was delicious. The sugared cranberries and rosemary were a beautiful touch.

  23. nadine b

    Okay. I should have waited until I had it for dessert before commenting on it. I gave it 5 stars after I made it and I give it 5 stars after eating it. I retract my comment about using less filling. It was perfect amount and once I cut into the roll, it was just the right amount of cake within the roll. Excellent recipe and easy to follow for a non-baker like me. Enjoy!

  24. Andrea

    I made this today for our Christmas dessert. It was really easy to make. The cake rolled up nicely with only minimal cracking. I had trouble getting the ganache to thicken so I put the bowl over a larger bowl with ice water in it while beating and it worked well. Such a beautiful cake that also tastes really good.

    1. Emily Shaft

      Hi Lindsay this cake was amazing! I’m a 14 year old girl and love to make desserts for my family and I also sell cakes to my neighbors! I have made so many of your recipes and this one by far is my favorite and my family loved it! You have inspired me to make so many cool desserts. I made this cake for Christmas dessert and it was so delicious! I added raspberries to the mascarpone whip cream filling and it took it to a whole other level. I also used a towel to wrap up the cake instead of parchment paper and it worked great. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe because it was amazing and I’m excited to keep trying more of your recipes!

  25. nadine b

    I followed the directions to a T and it came out GREAT! Two things I would do differently the next time. When I roll it up filled I would do it a little tighter so I had more cake rolled in there. I think I have 1.5 rolls vs. what looks like 2.5 in the photo. Also, I think I would use a little less filling, which would help the rolling later. Thank you!

    1. Lindsay

      I wouldn’t. I would think that the longer the cake roll sits, the harder it will be to unroll without cracking. For the whipped cream, if you make it and then it sits for a while and then you stir it up again, it might deflate.

  26. Danielle

    My cake is very thin. I added the cream filling and rolled it up.. it’s all cream? I followed the recipe exact.. any ideas? 

  27. Cheryl

    You cannot spray or grease the pan before putting the parchment paper in can you?  Getting my paper to lay right in the corners is difficult.  I’m guessing any type of oil/butter will not work to roll up the cake.  I have always dumped mine on a towel as people have suggested. 

  28. Cece

     So happy I found this recipe, used it to bake my first ever yule log and it turned out perfect! From the filling to the frosting, my whole family loved it! 

  29. Barb

    Yesterday I decided to make a cake like this using another recipe I found online. That was a big mistake because it wouldn’t even peel off the parchment paper after baking. My husband told me to forget about it because we “had enough desserts for Christmas.” Ha! I was not going to let this cake get the best of me. 

    I found your recipe and the finished product looked so pretty that I tried again. I followed your directions EXACTLY and didn’t change a thing. I now have the most delicious and beautiful cake I’ve ever made, all thanks to you! I’m so grateful. Merry Christmas and happy, healthy new year!

  30. Madeline Webster

    Hi!

    I love your baking recipes, they are seriously amazing! You are usually the first person I love for when I need to make a good cake.

    I do think you should modify this recipe a bit, so it’s more user friendly. 

    I think it’s important to note that the marscropone needs to sit at least 45 mins room temp, if not an hour, before incorporating it into the whipped cream mixture. I think it’s also worth noting that whipping the marscropone with a hand mixer before incorporation also makes it much smoother and a more desired texture. Your instructions for this were a little vague and I ended up the first time with super chunky, grainy, whipped filling that I needed to remake. 

    I also had an extremely hard time with the cake itself cracking on me when unrolling it. The first time with the parchment paper you suggested was worse. The second time I used a towel after some research and had better luck with that, but there still was a crack. Fortunately this time it was salvageable. Do you have any tips on how to avoid this? 

    1. Lindsay

      I’m so glad to hear you enjoy the recipes!

      As for your suggestions, I appreciate the feedback. It’s always a challenge when working on and writing a recipe because everyone has opinions on the best way to approach things and it seems no matter what approach I take, there are always questions, etc. I do my best to chose the best approach for the most amount of people based on my experience and feedback I’ve gotten in the past.

      The thing about the mascarpone cheese – First, the time it takes to “warm up” a bit will vary depending on your climate, air conditioning, etc. Second, mascarpone is finicky and if you over mix/beat it, it breaks down and gets watery and you can’t save it. So whipping it beforehand could be problematic for some. But you can certainly do it. I personally have never had trouble with lumps and for the most part don’t get that feedback.

      As for the cake, this also varies by person. I tested the towel method several times and truly hated that method. But if it worked well for you, I’m glad. As for suggestions, you have to roll it when hot and unroll it when cooled. Just be very careful and work slowly when you unroll it. I do think this is something that gets better with practice and working with it a bit, but there’s no doubt that cake rolls can be a challenge.

    2. Sandra

      I made two cakes and cut the logs to make 4 smaller logs for gifts. They turned out great! I am not an experienced baker. The instructions were clear and easy to follow and the result was delicious. The sugared cranberries and rosemary were a beautiful touch.

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!

Scripture I’m Loving

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