Bûche De Noël (Yule Log)

Let me show you how to make a lovely from-scratch yule log, also known as a Bûche De Noël in French. This traditional Christmas cake is decorated to resemble a log. My recipe starts with a cocoa flavored sponge cake that we’ll fill with cocoa hazelnut whipped cream. We’ll top it with chocolate ganache and a variety of fun optional garnishes including mushroom shaped meringues plus sugared cranberries and rosemary for a shimmery finishing touch. It’s show-stopping and elaborate, yet completely doable in your home kitchen! I set you up for success with my detailed recipe, step-by-step photos, and complete video tutorial.

yule log (buche de noel) with chocolate ganache and meringue mushrooms

Christmas is a time rich with tradition. Christmas cookies for Santa, ornaments and decorations, jingle bells and hot cocoa by the fire. For some and in European regions, it’s making a yule log cake, also known as a Bûche De Noël in French. I’ve tasted plenty during the holiday seasons, but hadn’t attempted a from-scratch recipe until this year. Initially overwhelmed by the process, I learned that it’s just like other at-home baking projects: fun quality time in the kitchen. Made even better with an extra dose of chocolate!

By the way, here’s another at-home baking project: a homemade gingerbread house with a free printable template for constructing it.

Tell Me About This Yule Log Cake

  • Texture: Underneath all this festive decor, we have a soft and airy sponge cake. If you’ve tasted angel food cake before, you’ve had sponge cake. What’s interesting about sponge cake is that, unlike most cake recipes, it’s (usually) made without butter or oil. All of the magic happens with the eggs, a crucial ingredient in any sponge cake recipe. Note: I include a touch of oil in this cake for added moisture.
  • Flavor: My Bûche De Noël includes a light cocoa cake, cocoa hazelnut whipped cream spiked with Frangelico (can definitely skip the booze if you want), and is topped with smooth chocolate ganache. Since ganache is incredibly rich, the other elements have lighter cocoa flavors. In fact, the cake tastes like a mug of hot cocoa.
  • Ease: Advanced, but it’s a fun project to do by yourself or with your family. If you watch the video tutorial and read through the very detailed recipe prior to beginning, you’ll be set up for success.
  • Assembly: If you’ve ever made pumpkin roll or any other jelly roll cake before, you’re familiar with this assembly. If you haven’t, it’s nothing to be nervous about as long as you have a solid recipe and the right equipment. (Tools list below.) Have fun with the garnishes and watch my video tutorial before beginning.
  • Time: Yule log cakes aren’t anything you can rush; this recipe will take you all day. My advice is to concentrate on one element/step at a time. Make sure you’re following the cooling and chilling times closely. I don’t want you to ruin all your efforts by not letting portions of this recipe cool/thicken/set up properly.

sliced yule log with chocolate ganache and meringue mushrooms

Yule Log Christmas Cake Video Tutorial


4 Parts to This Yule Log Cake:

  1. Cocoa Sponge Cake
  2. Cocoa Hazelnut Whipped Cream
  3. Chocolate Ganache
  4. Decorations

Let’s review each part with step-by-step photos to guide us along.


Cocoa Sponge Cake

Start by whisking a few of the ingredients together. In terms of volume, there isn’t much: cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder for added lift, and a little salt. Eggs are the cake’s main ingredients. Separate the eggs, then whip the egg whites with sugar into stiff peaks. Set those aside. Then whip the egg yolks with the remaining sugar, a little oil for moisture, and vanilla extract until thickened. You get more volume with room temperature eggs than cold eggs. Before beginning, set the eggs in a cup of warm water for 10 minutes to warm them up.

Below left: whipped egg whites + sugar. And below right: thickened egg yolk mixture.

egg white mixture and egg yolk mixture for cake batter

Below left: In 2 additions, fold the fluffy egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. And below right: In 2 additions, fold in the dry ingredients. Like the finished cake, the cake batter is very light and airy.

cocoa sponge cake batter

Bake the cake roll in a 12×17 inch pan. So there’s plenty of cake for sectioning off and decorating, this a larger roll cake than my champagne cake roll and red velvet cake roll, both of which are baked in a 10×15 inch pan. Feel free to use any of my roll cake recipes as the base of your bûche de Noël, but know that if they’re baked in a smaller pan, you’ll have a smaller cake.

yule log cake batter in pan

How to Shape a Yule Log

Shaping a cake roll is easier than it looks. There are two tricks:

  1. The 1st trick is to roll the cake up, without filling, while it’s still hot. Why? If the cake cools in the rolled shape, it will make rolling the cake with the filling inside EASIER.
  2. The 2nd trick is to roll the cake up with a clean kitchen towel or piece of parchment paper. Why? The warm cake will be sticky and stick to itself otherwise. Dust the towel or parchment paper with cocoa powder to prevent any chance of sticking!

These two tricks help guarantee no rips, no cracks, and no sticking.

rolling up a yule log cake

Cocoa Hazelnut Whipped Cream

As the warm rolled cake cools down, make your whipped filling. Heavy cream is the base and we’ll sweeten it with a little confectioners’ sugar and flavor it with cocoa powder and hazelnut liqueur. Feel free to swap with the same amount of another flavored liqueur such as amaretto, Baileys Irish Cream, Kahlua, Grand Marnier, or other. You can also replace the alcohol with strong (cold or room temperature) coffee or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

cocoa hazelnut whipped cream with frangelico bottle in background

Feel free to add finely chopped hazelnuts on top of the whipped filling. As you roll the cake, if it appears sticky and moist, dust with more cocoa powder.

filling and rolling a cocoa sponge cake roll with cocoa hazelnut whipped cream

Assembling the Yule Log

One end of the yule log cake is traditionally cut off and placed on the side or on top of the roll to resemble a branch. You can cut it at a diagonal angle as pictured below:

slicing yule log cake on a cutting board

shaped yule log on white serving platter

Chocolate Ganache

I have a separate and very detailed post showing you how to make chocolate ganache. Feel free to review it if you’re a beginner. You need 2 ingredients: pure chocolate and warmed heavy cream. The ganache is very thin right after you make it, so it’s imperative you let it cool down before using. Ganache thickens as it cools.

chocolate ganache in bowl

Spread the thickened ganache all over your shaped cake. This next part is easy– lightly drag a fork through the ganache so that it resembles tree bark.

running a fork in chocolate ganache to make the yule log design

Decorating Your Bûche De Noël/Yule Log

Your cake is nearly complete! Some garnish suggestions include:

  • meringue mushrooms (recipe below)
  • sugared cranberries & rosemary (recipe below)
  • pinecones set on your platter
  • herbs & edible flowers
  • shaped marzipan
  • chocolate shavings
  • a dusting of confectioners’ sugar to resemble snow

decorated yule log cake

slice of yule log cake on plate

I’m extremely detailed in these recipe directions, so don’t be overwhelmed. If I can do this, you can do this. See my make ahead instructions if you want to get prepared– there’s plenty of ways you can prep this yule log cake in advance. Take your time and enjoy the festive process. Wishing you a season of good cheer. We all need it! ♥

Tools You Need:

  • Electric Mixer (hand or stand) for cake batter, meringues, and filling.
  • An egg separator is very helpful for the eggs.
  • 12×17 inch baking pan for the cake.
  • Parchment paper for lining the pan. I love these sheets.
  • Offset spatula for spreading the whipped cream filling and ganache.
  • Fine mesh strainer for dusting cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar.
  • Wilton 2A piping tip or any tip with around a 1/2 inch opening (plus a disposable or reusable piping bag) for meringue mushrooms.
  • Thin kitchen/tea towel or parchment paper. You need either for rolling the cake, but I strongly recommend a towel because it’s better at helping to prevent cake cracks. It will get pretty dirty from the cocoa powder and cake, but stains should come right out in the wash especially if you rinse it with warm water first.
  • Plus the usuals: mixing bowls, whisk, rubber spatula, cutting board, saucepan, etc
  • Pictured: large white platter from Juliska’s Whitewash Berry & Thread line and square appetizer Christmas plates from Pottery Barn
Print
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yule log (buche de noel) with chocolate ganache and meringue mushrooms

Bûche De Noël (Yule Log)

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 8 hours (includes cranberries)
  • Cook Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes (includes meringues)
  • Total Time: 10+ hours
  • Yield: 10-12 slices
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: French

Description

The meringue mushrooms and sugared cranberries & rosemary are completely optional garnishes. The recipe below includes both. For all make-ahead instructions, see recipe notes. I recommend watching the video tutorial above and reading the full recipe below before beginning. There’s a lot of cooling down, chilling, and other moving parts here!


Ingredients

Sugared Cranberries & Rosemary

  • 1 cup (120g) fresh cranberries*
  • 45 rosemary sprigs (optional)
  • 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 cup (240ml) water

Cake

  • 1 and 1/3 cups (157g) cake flour
  • 2 Tablespoons (11g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) vegetable oil, canola oil, or melted coconut oil
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For Rolling

  • 3 Tablespoons (15g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder

Meringue Mushrooms

  • 1 large egg white, at room temperature
  • less than 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar (about 1/16 teaspoon)
  • pinch salt
  • 2 Tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder (optional for dusting)
  • 1 ounces (28g) semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped

Cocoa Hazelnut Whipped Cream

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) cold heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) Frangelico liqueur
  • 1/4 cup (30g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon (5g) unsweetened natural or dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup (60g) finely chopped hazelnuts (optional)

Ganache Topping

  • 6 ounces (170g) semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Make the sugared cranberries and rosemary: If you want to decorate the cake with sugared cranberries and rosemary, start them the night before because they need to sit for several hours. Place cranberries and rosemary in a large bowl; set aside. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup of sugar and the water to a boil and whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Remove pan from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Pour sugar syrup over the cranberries and rosemary and stir to combine. Let the cranberries and rosemary sit at room temperature or in the refrigerator (lightly covered) for 6 hours or overnight. You’ll notice the sugar syrup is quite thick after this amount of time. Drain the cranberries and rosemary from the syrup and pour 1 cup of sugar on top. Toss to coat. Pour the sugared cranberries and rosemary on a parchment paper or silicone baking mat-lined baking sheet and let them dry for at least 2 hours at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray a 12×17 inch baking pan with nonstick spray or grease with butter, so the parchment paper sticks. Then line it with parchment paper so the cake seamlessly releases. Spray or grease the parchment paper too. We want an extremely nonstick surface for this cake roll.
  3. Make the cake: Whisk the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside until the next step. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and 1/2 cup (100g) sugar together on high speed for 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Transfer to another bowl. Using the same mixing bowl you just had the egg whites in (no need to clean it), add the egg yolks, remaining sugar, oil, and vanilla extract. Beat together on high speed for 3-4 minutes or until thickened and light in color.
  4. Add half of the whipped egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Beat on low speed for 10 seconds. Repeat with remaining egg whites and beat on low for 10 seconds. Add half of the flour mixture and beat on low or fold with a rubber spatula until combined. Repeat with remaining flour mixture. Avoid over-mixing and deflating those egg whites. Batter will be very light.
  5. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Gently bang the pan on the counter a couple times to pop any air bubbles. Bake for 18-19 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly poked with your finger. Cake will look a little bubbly on top when it’s done. That’s ok. Avoid over-baking cake because it will crack if over-baked. As the cake bakes, get started on the next step.
  6. Prepare to roll: As the cake bakes, place a piece of parchment paper (larger than the cake) or a thin kitchen/tea towel flat on the counter. (Note: I find a kitchen towel is better to help prevent cracking.) Using a fine mesh sieve, dust parchment/towel with 3 Tablespoons (15g) of cocoa powder. Once the cake comes out of the oven, quickly run a knife around the edges to loosen it. Immediately invert it onto the parchment/towel. Peel off the parchment paper that was on the bottom of the cake as it baked. Starting with the narrow end, begin tightly rolling the hot cake up with the parchment/towel. Do this slowly and gently. The cake will be warm. Allow the cake to cool completely rolled up in the parchment/towel. Feel free to place it in the refrigerator to speed it up, about 3 hours and up to 1 day.
  7. During this time, make the meringue mushrooms: Preheat oven to 200°F (93°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. In a completely clean residue-free large glass or metal mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg white, cream of tartar, and salt together on high speed until foamy, about 2 minutes– this is a small amount and the whisk on a stand mixer might not reach it, so whisk by hand until foamy if needed. With the mixer running on high speed, slowly add the sugar and beat until stiff glossy peaks form, about 2 more minutes. Snip off the end of a plastic bag or fit a round piping tip in a piping bag. I use and recommend Wilton 2A piping tip or any tip with around a 1/2 inch opening. Pipe quarter-sized circles (these will be the round mushroom tops) and 1-inch tall cones (these will be the stems). You will have enough meringue batter for about 16 mushrooms. I usually only make 8-12 and discard leftovers, but feel free to make all 16. Using a moistened finger (just a dab of water is fine), smooth down any peaks. If desired, lightly dust mushroom tops with cocoa powder using a fine mesh sieve. Bake for 2 hours. Do not open the oven as the meringues bake. Turn off the oven after 2 hours and let the meringues sit inside the cooling oven for 20 minutes. Remove meringues from the oven and cool completely. When they’re just about cool, melt the 1 ounce of chocolate in a double boiler or use the microwave. If using the microwave, melt in 15 second increments, stopping and stirring between each until melted and smooth. Cool for 5-10 minutes. (Easier to adhere mushrooms if the melted chocolate is a bit cool.) Once meringues have cooled, use a flat spatula to remove them from the baking sheets. Dot a bit of chocolate onto the center of the bottom of a mushroom top. Adhere a mushroom stem to it. Place back on the baking sheet to set. If stems or tops still have a little peak, scrape off with a knife or your spatula, as you see me do in the video above. Leaning them against the rim is helpful if they keep toppling over. Repeat with remaining tops and stems to form mushrooms. Let chocolate cool and harden, about 1 hour.
  8. Remove the cake roll from the refrigerator and allow to sit on the counter for a few minutes to warm up as you prepare the whipped cream.
  9. Make the whipped cream: Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream, Frangelico, confectioners’ sugar, and cocoa powder on medium-high speed until medium to stiff peaks form, about 2-3 minutes.
  10. Gently and very slowly unroll the cake. Spread whipped cream evenly on top, leaving about a 1/2 inch border around the cake. I like using a large or small offset spatula to spread. Sprinkle chopped hazelnuts on top. Gently roll the cake back up, without the parchment/towel this time. Roll it slowly. This part is messy. Carefully place on a cutting board. If the exterior of the cake looks moist, dust with a little cocoa powder. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days before shaping and topping with ganache.
  11. Make the ganache topping: Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it begins to simmer. (Do not let it come to a rapid boil– that’s too hot.) Pour over chocolate, then let it sit for 2-3 minutes to gently soften the chocolate. Slowly stir until completely combined and chocolate has melted. Ganache will be thin, so it has to thicken before using. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour to thicken.
  12. Remove rolled cake from the refrigerator. Diagonally slice a 3-4 inch section off one end. At this point, I usually place the cake on a serving platter. Place the angled side against a side of the roll, forming a branch. Slowly pour and spread thickened ganache all over the top and sides of cake. Feel free to leave the cut ends exposed (as you see in these photos) or spread ganache over the ends– there should be plenty of ganache to use. Use a fork to make textured lines resembling tree bark. Feel free to wipe the serving plate if ganache dripped all over.
  13. Decorate with meringue mushrooms, sugared cranberries and rosemary, and a dusting of confectioners’ sugar just before serving.
  14. Cover leftover cake and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: You can get started on the sugared cranberries and rosemary 1 day ahead of time. See step 1. You can make the meringue mushrooms in advance (step 7) as long as the weather is dry. (Humidity will ruin them.) Store at room temperature for up to 2-3 days before using. You can make the roll cake in advance (steps 2-6) because it must cool/chill completely before filling. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 1 day. You can also refrigerate the filled cake roll (steps 9-10) for up to 2 days. You can make the whipped cream (step 9) 1 day in advance too. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. You can make the chocolate ganache topping (step 11) 1 day in advance, but if you let it sit for longer than 1 hour, it will thicken too much. If refrigerating for longer than 1 hour, cover it. To thin it out when ready to use, stir and warm it in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water for about 1 minute. Do not microwave it. Entire cake can be made 1-2 days in advance too. (Steps 1-12.) Cover and refrigerate until ready to decorate and serve. You can also freeze the assembled cake before or after adding the ganache. (Steps 1-11 or 12.) Cover and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before continuing with the recipe. It’s best to decorate with sugared cranberries, meringues, and a dusting of confectioners’ sugar (step 13) closest to serving.
  2. Cranberries: Use fresh cranberries, not frozen. The sugar syrup doesn’t coat evenly on the frozen berries, leaving you with plain shriveled cranberries.
  3. Frangelico Liqueur: This is a hazelnut liqueur. If desired, feel free to swap with the same amount of another flavored liqueur such as amaretto (almond), Baileys Irish Cream, Kahlua, Grand Marnier, or other. You can also replace the alcohol with strong (cold or room temperature) coffee or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or other flavor extract.
  4. Chocolate: You need 6 ounces of pure chocolate for the ganache topping and 1 ounce for the mushrooms. Pure baking chocolate is sold in 4 ounce bars, so 2 bars will be a little more than enough. I recommend Baker’s or Ghirardelli brands, both sold in 4 ounce bars in the baking aisle. You can use semi-sweet or bittersweet. If using white chocolate, reduce the amount of heavy cream in the ganache to 1/2 cup (120ml).

Keywords: yule log, Christmas cake, chocolate, hazelnut

Have you made it down this far? Let me show you how to make the optional garnishes.


Meringue Mushrooms

I taught you how to make meringue cookies before. Meringues require precision, so feel free to visit that post if you need a little refresher. As instructed in step 7 above, pipe mushroom tops and stems using a round piping tip. Moisten your finger with water to smooth down any peaks. Bake in a relatively cool oven, then adhere the cooled pieces with melted chocolate.

This seems to be the only way my daughter will eat mushrooms. HA!

the making of meringue mushrooms in 4 step by step photos

meringue mushrooms

Sugared Cranberries & Rosemary

You need sugar, water, fresh cranberries, and rosemary. Feel free to skip the rosemary if you’d like. As instructed in step 1 above, make your sugar syrup on the stove. Pour over cranberries and rosemary and let it all soak for several hours. (Great to make these in advance.) Drain, then toss in sugar. Let it all dry out for about 2 hours before using as decor. You can also use this glitzy garnish on pumpkin pie, cranberry orange bundt cake, gingerbread snack cake, too.

sugared cranberries and rosemary in glass bowl

287 Comments

  1. Hi Sally!! Let me first say that whenever I want to try a new recipe, your website is the first place I check! You have never steered me wrong 🙂 I’m making this for Xmas and just did a test run today. My cake ended up cracking when I rolled it after adding the filling, I think it may have been a minute or 2 under-baked as even with cocoa powder the cake stuck to my tea towel (and I used a lot!). But hey, that’s what test runs are for! I’m planning one more test run to work out the kinks before Xmas with my family.

    My question is, when decorating with the ganache my perfectionism kicked in as I couldn’t *perfectly* wipe up the dripped ganache from the serving platter. So I was curious if I could put my rolled up cake on a cooling rack to pour the ganache over so any excess drips off, and then after letting it set for a bit, moving it to a serving platter? I was thinking of using two spatulas to pick it up on either end and attaching it’s branch after moving it. Thoughts?

    (My cake is slightly smaller than your recipe’s as my jelly roll pan is 10×15” so I’m using your Chocolate Swiss Roll recipe for the cake instead)

    1. Hi Rachael, I’m so glad you’re making this recipe and that you always trust my site to find new inspiration! You could certainly apply the ganache that way OR wait for it to cool a bit longer so it’s thicker and won’t drips as much. Careful transferring it with 2 spatulas– make sure you have it secure on both. The Chocolate Swiss Roll also requires a 12×17 inch cake pan, so I wonder if your cake is just too thick and that’s why it’s cracking?

      1. Thank you! I will have to measure my other pans to see if I have a 12×17. When I was doing research on what I wanted to bake for Xmas, and when I decided a Yule Log cake, all the websites said I needed a jelly roll pan so I specifically went out and bought one!

    2. Hope I’m not out of place by replying. I’m in the process of making the cake (just finished baking and rolling the sponge). I was thinking of slipping small pieces of waxed paper under the edges of the cake before I start icing it. Then once the ganache is mostly set, I’ll pull them away to hopefully reveal a clean platter!

      1. Totally not out of place! Appreciate any and all ideas 🙂 For my second test run of the cake I ended up cooling the ganache and then whipped it until it became more of a frosting texture. Just as tasty, I can still get the log details, and not as messy!

  2. Sally, this was amazing, so delicious and light and everyone at work loved it! Still amazed I created something so complicated successfully. I made it with the vanilla extract because most of my coworkers are Muslim but for my family, I can go ahead and use alcohol; would rum work? it’s what I have a big fancy bottle of hahah.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Rawan, We are thrilled this was such a hit! We’ve tested this with other flavored liqueurs such as amaretto (almond), Baileys Irish Cream, Kahlua, and Grand Marnier, but rum should work also. Enjoy!

      1. Thanks, can’t wait to try it! Another q I have is about the meringue mushrooms; I’ve been dying to make them but it’s super humid where I live right now; how long would they make it without collapsing were I to try to make them anyways?

  3. Once made with ganache, how long does it keep, presumably in the fridge?

    Not sure it will last long but you never know.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ruth, You can cover any leftover cake and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Enjoy!

  4. hi sally
    at what temperature should i bake the cake ?
    thnx

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Samia, this cake bakes at 350°F (177°C) for 18-19 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly poked with your finger.

    2. Can I omit the cocoa powder from the cake recipe for a vanilla cake?

  5. This looks lovely! Are the candied cranberries and rosemary mean to be eaten with the cake or just a nice decoration?

    Thanks for the detailed instructions and video. It’s really helpful.

    1. Hi Joyanne, you can eat them if desired– especially the sugared cranberries. They are delicious.

  6. Is there anything that I can use in place of Frangelico liqueur?

    1. Hi Marissa, see recipe note.

  7. Hello, I want to try your sponge recipe, but got a little confused with the directions, by mixing in the egg whites before I add the dry ingredients, doesn’t that increase the lose of air from the egg whites? Can I add the dry ingredients first before folding in the egg whites? Personally I don’t have a great tract record with egg white folding so I am trying to look for ways to decrease leveling loss.

    1. Hi Meagan, you can certainly try folding in the dry ingredients first– especially if you’ve had trouble with sponge type cakes in the past. Let me know how it turns out.

  8. Juliane McDavid says:

    I’m in the process of making this after a previous failed attempt of another recipe. Can I add additional cocoa powder (an extrac 2 T) without it effecting the recipe? Please advise.

    1. Hi Juliane, I recommend following the recipe as written. I haven’t tested it with additional cocoa powder and I fear the baked cake will be too dry.

  9. Hi Sally, thank you for this recipe! Is it possible to replace the Frangelico liqueur with Nutella to get the hazelnut flavor?

    1. Hi Purvi, Nutella will weigh down the whipped cream, but you can certainly try it. (Or you may want to try a Nutella buttercream frosting instead.)

      1. Thank you for getting back to quickly, Sally! My baking pan has ridges in it. Is that okay? Thanks again for your help!

      2. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        That should be fine, Purvi!

  10. Hi Sally, the recipe was awesome but my cake came out somewhat ‘flat’ (shape wise) and dense. My husband loves his snacks less dense. Is there anyway to make the cake less dense or fluffy like a sponge cake?

    1. Hi Felicia, I wonder if the egg whites OR egg yolks weren’t beaten long enough? Most of the lift comes from the air whipped into the eggs. Or perhaps the batter deflated because it was over-mixed?

      1. Hi Sally, I’m really new to baking and was wondering how to tell if the eggs were not beaten enough? Is there a ‘tell’?

      2. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Felicia! You’re looking for stiff peaks: if you take off your whisk attachment and turn it right side up, it should hold its peak.

  11. Hey Sally! So pumped to try this. If I’m planning to let the cake cool for a day while it’s rolled up in the tea towel, should I wrap it in plastic wrap before placing in the refrigerator? Thanks!

    1. Hi Adam, since it’s rolled up in a towel– all parts of the cake will be covered, so there’s no need to cover it again. (Though you certainly could if you wanted.)

  12. Hi Sally! Thank you so much for this recipe — looks delicious!!
    I only have a 12×16 baking pan… would that work?

    Thank you!!

    1. Hi Sophie, that’s close enough in size that it could work. I would extend the bake time by a minute or so.

  13. My jelly roll pan is 16″ x 10.5″. I’m not able to get a different one and really want to make this cake. Any suggestion on how much of the batter to hold back for best results? Is that possible?

    1. Hi Marilyn, that’s a little too small for this amount of cake batter. You could try it, fill about 2/3 full, then discard leftover batter or make a few sponge cupcakes on the side. Or you may want to try this strawberry cake roll (just the sponge cake batter) instead.

  14. Alright, so I had already mixed the dry ingredients when I saw my mom only had a 10 by 15 pan. So I made the cake anyway and… putting these dots for suspense… it turned out BEAUTIFULLY! It was so gorgeous! As a almost teenager I love making cookies and cake, but I had never made anything this intricate! I was so proud when it turned out so well! Thanks so much Sally!
    I would also suggest making the cranberries AND mushrooms! The cranberries were absolutely delicious. My Dad really liked the mushrooms too. They really added color and class to the dessert.
    I usually go for taste rather than looks, but in this dessert you get both!
    One question, when I was whipping the egg white for the meringue mushrooms, they took at least ten minutes. I didn’t see your instruction for a glass bowl so I used a plastic one. Is that why they took forever? Or is there something else I did wrong?

    1. Hi Emma, I’m so glad that this yule log was a hit! Thank you so much for trying it and reporting back. The length of time it takes egg whites to reach stiff peaks varies a lot and there are so many factors at play such as freshness of eggs, weather, humidity in the air, depth of bowl, speed of mixer, and so on. I wouldn’t be concerned that it took 10 minutes.

  15. Hi Sally, any thoughts about this cake at altitude? We are at 6000 feet… I usually reduce leavening but wonder about this cake with egg whites.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Nancy, I wish we could help, but we have no experience baking at high altitude. I know some readers have found this chart helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html

  16. Hi Sally!!

    Firstly I want to say that I love every single recipe of yours that I have tried (and there have been a lot)! I can always trust that your recipies will come out great!

    I have a ton to bake in the next few days and am wondering which parts of this masterpiece I can do a day or two in advanced?

    Thank you!!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jess, See the recipe notes for detailed make ahead instructions. Happy baking!

  17. This recipe looks great, but I have little kids is the liqueur going to come through a lot?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ava, With only 2 TBS it’s not super strong but definitely use your best judgment here. You can also replace the alcohol with strong (cold or room temperature) coffee or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or other flavor extract (see recipe notes for details).

  18. The sponge is dry and lacks flavour as does the filling.

  19. This is an awesome recipe! I tried it and it came out perfect! Thank you Sally!!

  20. I am 55 almost 56 years old and I’ve always wanted to make one either never had the time or patience and my X mother-in-law used to beat me to it! She was very competitive and made me feel like I could never make one of these! she love to be basking in the glory of her complements which I understand but she was not willing to share bed before the Internet! These directions are absolutely spot on for proof as long as you follow them precisely! I just gifted this a few minutes ago after working on it all day and gave it to my sons friends mom who drove him all the way from practically in Canada to the southern tier of New York to bring him home from college as she often is so kind to do! made her a Swedish meatball dinner or egg noodles and this was the dessert All were impressed.

  21. Hi Sally, I made this recipe for our solstice party, boy was this a fun project, thanks! One question: I made cake flour with the cornstarch/sift method, and a cup and a third of that very airy flour was nowhere *near* 160g. My instinct was to go with the weight, but that was, like, 2c flour. That cake was tough and cracked a lot but nothing that covering with cream and then ganache couldn’t hide [grin]! So my question is, what should I have done?
    Also I made marzipan mushrooms.

  22. I don’t have easy access to hazelnut liquor, could you use torani syrup or even coffee creamer instead?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Shauna! See recipe note 3 for alternatives to hazelnut liqueur.

  23. I am looking forward to making this but have a question. I don’t have cake flour and looked on your site about a substitution. You give very clear directions about how to make cake flour but mention that you don’t use it in chocolate cake recipes made with cocoa. However, you use cake flour in this chocolate cake. Why?

    1. Hi Kathy, this is a sponge cake so it’s meant to be very light and delicate. We’re also only using a bit of cocoa powder, as opposed to the layer cake where we use 3/4 cup (a considerable amount).

  24. Hi Sally! Will the whipped cream filling begin to melt/ weep if it’s made a couple days in advance and spread into the cake? I’m trying to make this in advance and I don’t want the whipped cream to weep and make the cake a soggy mess. Thanks!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Claire, you can store the prepared cake in the fridge for up to two days in the refrigerator. For other make-ahead options see the recipe notes. Happy baking!

  25. Hi Sally,

    I am looking forward to making this for Christmas, but we don’t have cranberries here at the moment. I know it’s optional, but would the sugaring step work with other berries, e.g., raspberries?

    1. Hi Patricia, if using another berry such as raspberries or strawberries, I don’t recommend sugaring them in this same way– they’re simply too wet. Use them fresh.

  26. Hi Sally, if I can’t get fresh cranberries here, what should I replace it with?
    Thanks.

    1. Hi Mirah, they’re mostly for decoration, so you can really use anything. Fresh raspberries or strawberries would be an easy, yet colorful touch.

  27. Hi Sally,
    I want to try your Yule Log recipe for Christmas. Is there any way to reduce the sugar in the cake batter without losing the texture? My family doesn’t like cakes that are too sweet. Looking forward to trying it!

    1. Hi Faye, sugar supplies structure to this sponge cake, in addition to sweetening it. I really don’t recommend altering the recipe. It’s not overly sweet especially when paired with the dark chocolate ganache.

      1. Hi Sally, Thanks for the reply! I reduced the sugar slightly by 30g (15g in the egg white mixture and 15g in the egg yolk mixture) and it worked out great. It rolled up perfectly and didn’t crack at all. And my family loved it (and already requested it for next year)! Thank you and happy holidays.

  28. The recipe says to use a 12×17 inch pan, but it hyperlinks to a Nordic Ware 13×18 inch half sheet pan. Are we able to use either or are there modifications? (I’d like to use my half sheet pan.) Thank you!

    1. Hi Fae, happy to help. The pan I use and recommend has the inner dimensions of 12×17. (Close to it, at least!) Your 13×18 inch pan should be fine.

      1. Thank you for your quick reply! Good point about the inner dimensions. I actually have the pans you linked and love them. Happy to hear this works!

  29. I made this cake as a test run over the weekend. The video was very helpful! I did not use the liqueur but almond and vanilla extracts instead. I didn’t use very much and probably should’ve used more but it still tastes delicious. The hazelnuts are a nice addition and texture. My baking sheet was a size smaller than the 12×17 mentioned in the recipe. The cake baked up nicely but needed about 21 minutes in the oven. With your video instructions, it rolled up perfectly. I used a knife to score a line about 1-2 inches from the end of the cake where I began the roll and think that helped make a tighter roll. I’m so thankful Sally, for all your instructions and making me feel confident enough to make this Yule log. I’m sure to impress my family on Christmas! Can’t wait to make another!

  30. Roman Furberg says:

    Can I use a silicone mat instead of the towel?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Roman, That’s a great idea but I’m afraid that the silicone mat wouldn’t stay rolled – you can use a piece of parchment paper dusted with cocoa powder instead.

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