Sponge cake with a light cream filling, coffee undertones, and a rich chocolate ganache frosting.
This cake is called a bûche de Noël which is French for Yule Log. This dessert has some pretty neat history behind it. It originates out of the European tradition of burning a specially selected log on the winter solstice. The tradition gradually morphed through time and in different regions. And then some smart French person decided to make a cake that resembled a log and the tradition changed from burning a log to eating cake… a huge improvement if you ask me!
A Yule Log cake is just a Swiss Roll decorated to look like a log. So if you want to make this during another time of the year, don’t cut a chunk off and put it on top of the cake and just leave the frosting smooth by not running a fork through the frosting.
This cake is not as time consuming as you would thing. I spent the same amount of time I would have on a simple 3-layer cake.
The base is a sponge cake and a lot of it’s airy texture comes from whipping the eggs up to be really light (picture 1). Then you have to gradually fold in the flour (picture 2)… does anyone else cringe when folding in stuff? Like flour into whipped eggs or chocolate into egg whites or something into whipped cream? I need a mouth guard to stop the teeth grinding that I accomplish by just folding stuff together… I always feel like I’m destroying the fluffy soul of my batter.
Then you’re going to bake the cake and here is the important part. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, trade out the parchment paper for a fresh sheet by flipping it over and then back to a clean sheet (picture 5). Then you’re going to roll it up into a spiral and let it cool like that. This is super important because if you try to roll it up once it is cool, it will crack down the sides and you won’t have that pretty spiral shape anymore.
Since this is a Tiramisu Yule Log, you’ll unroll the cake and brush it will coffee (picture 1 and 2). I just made a little extra of my morning coffee and let it sit for a while to make it stronger. I didn’t use much because I was going to serve this cake at night and didn’t want all the caffeine in my cake. If you don’t like the taste of coffee, you can just skip this step. Then you’ll smear the cream filling on and roll it up again (picture 3 and 4). Then you’ll trim off one end just to make it look clean cut (picture 6). On the other end, cut a chunk off at an angle (picture 7). This will be the piece that you stick on the top to make it look like a branch (picture 8).
Then you’ll frost it with the whipped up chocolate ganache and run a fork through the frosting to make it look like the texture of bark.
This would be a great dessert to serve for Christmas Eve or Christmas!
- ¾ cup +2 T all-purpose flour
- 2 T. cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 5 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 8 oz or 1⅓ cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup black coffee (optional)
- ½ teaspoon sugar (optional)
- Powdered sugar or cocoa for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- Lightly spray a little oil on a 11 x 17 inch baking sheet that has edges. Then line the baking sheet with parchment paper and spray the parchment paper very lightly with oil. The first spray was to get the parchment paper to stick to the pan.
- Measure 2 T. of cornstarch into a 1 cup measuring cup. Fill the rest up with the all-purpose flour. This makes cake flour. If you have cake flour, you can just use 1 cup of that.
- Sift the flour/cornstarch, baking powder, and salt together two times. Set aside.
- Beat the eggs and vanilla together on high in an electric mixer. Gradually add the sugar while you beat the eggs for about 5-7 minutes. You want to the eggs to whip up to look pretty thick and airy. As your beaters are mixing the eggs on high, you’ll see the beater leaving tracks in the batter. When you stop mixing you’ll see some of the air bubbles rising to the top.
- Now sift the flour mixture again into the egg batter in two parts. Fold the flour very gently into the batter and try not to deflate the eggs. Fold until you can’t see any flour bubbles.
- Pour the batter onto the lined pan and spread it out so it’s even. A good way to get the batter to spread out without beating the air out of it is to tilt the pan.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and it bounces bake when you press on it.
- As soon as you take the cake out of the oven, flip the cake onto another piece of parchment. Remove the oily piece of parchment. And then flip the cake back onto a third piece of clean parchment. So the cake should be sitting how it was in the pan but on a clean piece of parchment.
- Roll the cake up so it’s wrapped around that third piece of parchment. And leave it that way to cool. If you try to roll the cake once it has cooled, it will crack.
- Whip the cream until you have stiff peaks.
- In another mixer bowl, cream the softened cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla together until they are smooth and sort of fluffy.
- Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.
- Bring the cream to a simmer on the stove.
- Pour the cream over the chocolate chips and cover with a lid. Let sit for 3 minutes.
- Now whisk the chocolate and cream together until smooth and there are no lumps.
- Let the ganache sit until it is room temperature. I let it sit for about 15-20 minutes and then stuck it in the fridge for 5 minutes. While you are waiting make the cream filling.
- With an electric mixer, beat the ganache for about 45-60 seconds until it has turned light brown and is a frosting consistency, maybe a little softer than frosting.
- Unroll the cake and leave on the parchment.
- Mix the coffee and sugar together and then brush over the unrolled cake. If you really love coffee you can use ½ cup of coffee or even espresso.
- Spread the cream filling evenly over the cake.
- Roll the cake up tightly. Make sure to roll up the cake starting from the same end of the cake that you let it cool in.
- Trim one end off just to get rid of the drier piece and make it presentable.
- Trim off the other end of the cake at an angle to make the stump.
- Now transfer the big piece of cake to your serving platter either with your hands or two spatulas.
- Using left over cream filling or some of the ganache frosting, glue the stump onto either the side or the top of the log.
- Now frost the cake with the ganache filling.
- To make it look like bark, run a fork through the frosting.
- Dust with cocoa to look like dirt or powdered sugar for snow.
Adapted from Natasha’s Kitchen.