My friend lived in France for a few years and loved their Christmas tradition of making Buche de Noel -- a yule log cake. It's a rolled cake that's a little difficult to make, but comes from a surprisingly easy recipe.

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • confectioners' sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 375.

Line a cookie sheet with tall sides with parchment paper. Spraying the top and bottom of the parchment paper is recommended by some.

Crack six eggs and separate the whites from the yolks.

Whip the cream, 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until stiff. Refrigerate.

Use an electric mixer to beat egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar until thick and pale (over 5 minutes). Blend in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, and salt.

Whip egg whites to soft peaks (must have metal or glass bowl). Slowly add 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating. Fold the yolks into the whites.

Spread the batter evenly into the sheet with the parchment.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the cake is spongy to the touch.

Dust a clean dishtowel with confectioners' sugar. Turn the warm cake out onto the towel. Throw away paper. Starting at the short edge of the cake, roll the cake up with the towel. Put in refrigerator for half an hour.

Unroll the cake and spread on the filling. Roll the cake with the filling inside.

Place seam side down and cover with remainder of filling for a "bark" look and dust with sugar and/or nuts and add any decorations desired to make it look like a yule log!

So it's not hard, but there are a lot of ways to mess it up!

Andrew Kirk
Andrew Kirk

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