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

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
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


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!


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*


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.


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

  1. April

    If I wanted to make this ahead of time, how long do you think it could be refrigerated before serving? Or would it just be better to freeze the unfrosted cake and frost after thawing?

    1. Lindsay

      You could refrigerate it for 1-2 days prior to serving. Or you could try freezing it, but I’d probably fill it and then freeze it.

  2. Trisha

    Lindsay, I see that you recommend finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate. Are you referring to a chocolate block, or are you saying that even morsels have to be chopped further? Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Gina

    I’ve got to say this recipe rocks. I do wish I’d gone with my gut and used a sugar dusted tea towel to roll it, but the flavors of the dark chocolate & mascarpone whipped cream melded together well. The whipped ganache set it off perfectly! Debating on a touch of espresso next time to really bring out the dark chocolate.

  4. Caitlin

    I made this for my dads birthday today. My cake cracked a lot as I was unrolling it but once I covered it in the ganache you couldn’t tell. It looked beautiful and tasted great!

    1. Trisha

      Caitlin, can you tell me how you handled the finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate for the ganache? Did you use morsels and chop them further or did you start with a block of chocolate? Not sure what to do. Thank you!

  5. Amanda

    I know in your chocolate cupcake recipe you said we shouldn’t use Hersheys Dark Cocoa Powder anymore, should we use it in this recipe?

    1. Lindsay

      Hmm, I can’t remember when it changed, so it’s hard to say. I haven’t heard of anyone having issues though and I’m assuming they are using the dark cocoa.

  6. Carol

    Can I freeze this? If so…with or without being frosted and how do I wrap it?
    Then…what’s the best way to thaw it? Thanks!

    1. Lindsay

      You should be able to freeze it frosted or unfrosted. It’s obviously easier to wrap it unfrosted so you don’t mess up the frosting. Thaw in the fridge.

  7. Trisha

    My paranoia is kicking in. I have a Farberware pan that is 17 by 11.25. Is that going to work or should I look around for the exact pan, 17 by 12. I don’t mind doing the latter if it is going to make a difference in the outcome. Thanks!

  8. Debbie

    I have a question about the roll up process. Most recipes say to turn the cake onto a towel to roll as it sticks too much to the parchment paper. Is there any problem with rolling this cake with the parchment paper?

    1. Lindsay

      It may come down to personal preference. I don’t think it sticks to the parchment any more than the towel. I think the towel sticks and is far more messy.

  9. Georgia

    I can never get my cake to be a thick of the picture with the batter from this recipe and I even tried a bit of a smaller baking pan to the one at states what am I doing wrong help

    1. Lindsay

      It can be hard to say. Are you using Hershey‘s special dark cocoa? Because they have changed that cocoa since I made this recipe. It might be better now to use regular cocoa powder.

    1. Lindsay

      The ganache may be a little thinner with milk chocolate so you may want to reduce the cream. And you can use cream cheese.

    1. Lindsay

      I don’t typically recommend freezing fully done cakes, but you could try it. I would just be sure to thaw it in the fridge, not on the counter.

  10. Debbie

    I made this recipe last year at Christmas. The cake was great, very moist and easy to work with. I made two substitutions. I used cream cheese instead of mascarpone to stabilize the whipped cream, and I used chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream for the frosting.
    I’ll definitely make it again this year!

  11. Katy Modrak

    We made several of these as the main dessert for my son’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor along with chocolate hatchet we made with a 3D printer form and meringues made into mushrooms . Making multiple of this taught me the Ganache recipe needs more heavy whipping cream to work. It calls for 8 oz of Chocolate and 1 cup of cream. I needed 1 1/4 -1 1/2 cup per 8 oz of chocolate. It also makes significantly more ganache than is needed for one cake recipe. I was doing at least 2 cakes per batch of ganache. I did freeze them before adding the ganache as I needed 6 cakes. No problems at all. The dessert was a huge hit and several people asked for the recipe. Thanks!

  12. Cathy

    Excellent! I adapted the following. Used 1 t Kahlua instead of the vanilla for both the cake and filling. Also, brushed the cake with Kahlua before adding the filling. I’ve make a note to start the ganache while the cake is baking. Hopefully, I won’t be waiting so long to be ready to whip it.
    Overall great recipe.

  13. Jill Kristal Feuerstein

    I made this today for a family gathering this evening. The recipe was absolutely delicious. Everyone really raved about it. I decorated with sugared raspberries, rosemary sprigs and 2 fresh flowers. it was stunning.
    I also had trouble getting the chocolate ganache to whip (as I read in some other reviews.) I added more whipping cream but that didn’t help. I put it in the freezer for about 1/2 hour and then it was thick enough to spread and that worked well.
    Everyone asked if we can have this cake at other times of the year and not just save it for Christmas. 🙂
    Thank you, Lindsay.

    1. Lindsay

      The ganache needs to be firm enough when you whip it so adding more cream will only thin it and make it harder to whip. You may have just needed to let it cool longer.

  14. ELLEN

    Your Yule log looks amazing.  I’ve never made a Yule Log before.  I’ve made different jellyroll cakes that can be frozen.  Could I possibly freeze this one?  Even if I had to put the outer chocolate bark look on the day of.  

  15. Nicole S

    Absolutely loved this cake! Stunning and and even better it was delicious!

    I agree with other commenter though about the ganache making a bit more than you need. We ended up using the extras on waffles the next morning though so no chocolate wasted here. Might be on me though because I did have to add in a bit of extra chocolate to get the ganache to thicken up enough to spread on the cake. Overall I used one 12 oz bag semi sweet chocolate chips and one cup of the heavy whipping cream.

  16. Leslie Knight

    Hi there. I’ve just made this and it’s going wonderfully. I’ve just eaten the trimmed ends with my daughter while the ganache cools and it’s delicious. Our roll looks incredibly overfilled though and we followed the recipe exactly. Do you use all the filling?  Ours looks twice as full as yours in photo. Just curious?

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