This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Using a detailed recipe, step-by-step photos, and a complete video tutorial, 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!

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.

Or if you want to skip the cocoa and liqueur in the filling completely, make this whipped frosting instead. 

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
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
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: 1012 slices 1x
  • 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

Scale

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 (10g) 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

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I’m a newcomer to Sally’s website and love love love it!! Thank you Sally for your informative and easy-to-understand blogs. I made this Buche de Noel for Christmas this year and it turned out absolutely fantastic. I dislike Frangelico so I used espresso instead, but I don’t know what I was thinking; I should’ve used Kahlua, and I will next time. My cake came out just a touch dry, but that was my fault; I overbaked it. I think next time I will try brushing just a bit of simple syrup on the finished cake to help the ganache adhere better and also just because I like SWEET stuff haha! I love the fact that so much of this can be made ahead, and it was WAY easier than I thought it would be. Everybody oohed and aahed when I brought this out, and I will be making this every Christmas from now on!

  2. I made this for Christmas and it was incredibly delicious. I was definitely apprehensive to tackle such a project but Sally’s directions were clear and easy to follow; it just takes time – I devoted 2 days to the process.
    Day 1:
    – I made the cake first, baked and rolled it; let it cool at room temperature for a few hours.
    I used well greased (with butter) parchment paper and it worked perfectly. I dusted the cake with cocoa powder and nothing stuck and the cake did not crack. [It rolled so beautifully I couldn’t believe it!]
    – While the cake cooled, I made the whipped cream filling. [I substituted strong brewed (decaf) coffee for the Frangelico.]
    I unrolled the cooled cake, filled it with the whipped cream and re-rolled it. Again, the cake didn’t stick to the parchment and it was easy to roll up with the filling. I wrapped the filled cake in plastic and refrigerated overnight.
    – I mixed up the ingredients for the sugared cranberries & rosemary sprigs and let sit overnight on the counter.
    Day 2:
    – I made the mushrooms; easy!
    – I made the ganache; also easy.
    I used some of the ganache to ‘glue’ the mushroom tops to the bottoms instead of melting additional chocolate. (FYI it was pouring rain all day but the meringue mushrooms stayed crisp at room temperature, un-covered. The ones I refrigerated with the cake were ruined.)

    I cut off a 4″ section of the cake for the ‘branch’, placed cake and ‘branch’ on serving platter, covered with the ganache and decorated with the sugared cranberries & rosemary sprigs; covered loosely and refrigerated until dinner. Perfection!
    I really could not believe how delicious this cake was. Every year we buy a Bûche de Noel from a fancy French bakery, but this was equally delicious (maybe not quite as beautiful but for a first attempt, not bad!).
    Our family of 3 ate this for dessert for 4 days; the cake remained moist & delicious.
    I’ve never made a rolled cake before – Sally’s instructions were perfect and easy to follow. Before I started, I read and re-read the instructions and watched her video many times which definitely helped me prepare.
    ***Oh and use the correct pan size and don’t over bake the cake (check it early for doneness)!***

  3. Sally I’ve been using your recipes for some time now and I thought it was right to leave a comment as I can’t give you enough praise! How do you not have your own TV show?! This buche de Noel in particular came out perfectly. I followed your recipe to a t and it was such a show stopper. You are my go to for anything I want to bake! Please keep doing what you’re doing!

  4. Thanks for the great instruction! I turned mine into a roller skate for a birthday party (pinwheel cookies for wheels, laces made of candy) and it turned out great (with the help of some long toothpicks to keep the two pieces together. Having to ganache over the seam on one piece wasn’t bad. But the sponge was dry, I thought. Perhaps overbaked or maybe I didn’t do an adequate seal with the plastic wrap before refrigerating overnight.

  5. This recipe is truly a hit with everyone I make it for! I will say that instead of using Frangelico Liqueur, I swap it out with Nutella because I still want that hazelnut taste. Thank you for the fun recipe!

  6. Hello Sally!
    I was wondering if I could replace the parchment paper you use to bake the cake for a silicon baking mat.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Miranda, that’s a great idea but the silicone mat wouldn’t stay rolled. We suggest sticking with parchment paper or a kitchen towel.

  7. Ms. Sally,
    I am not on any social media nor do I comment on recipes, maybe 3 times in my life.
    I made this for Christmas. Word for word. Even went to Michael’s and got the tiny gold pinecones. *they had rose gold too!* My Yule Log turned out so perfect that the crowd that gathered around it as I put on the final touches couldn’t believe what they were looking at! It is something from a Christmas Williams Sonoma catalog. A sight to behold. I barely skimmed through the recent comments on this recipe, regarding changes, etc. and I couldn’t believe people actually did that! Your recipes are your art, and each recipe I make, whether it is the Biscoff White Chocolate blondies I made last week or your delicious fresh strawberry cake *which i am making my husband this week for his bday party on saturday! he got a cookie monster cake from 1981 from ebay and i’m piping the fur on him and everything*…whichever recipe I make from your beautiful recipe book and index, they are all perfect. Spot on, each and every time. As long as you follow directions! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for pouring your heart and soul into this, your baking art and techniques. You are appreciated and I wish you all the happiness in the entire world. You are amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Sally,
    This is an extraordinary dessert and recipe. Thanks so much for it! I made it and it tasted delicious. I went as far as I could and added all of your suggested additions!

    I had one major problem though. I do not have a stand/hand mixer and although I always bake desserts from your blog, it is very hard to do it. The cream and egg whites were hard to whip and I was wondering if you have any good tips for me? If I am beating it for about 20 minutes it will go a pretty good texture, but it doesn’t go foamy. Do you have any tips for hand whipping? If you do please share them with me because I am desperate for some.

  9. I don’t have a square cake bake tray for this!!! I am planning on baking this cake but don’t have a rectangle cake tray! what should I use? Desperate for advice.

    1. Unfortunately for the best shape we really recommend using the specified cake pan.

  10. I had multiple problems with this cake.
    1: I did not have the right tray so the cake turned out too thick.
    2: Although I only baked it for 16 minutes instead of the 18-19 that were recommended, the cake was dry and crumbly when I tried to roll it. I even put double the oil to make it moister, after reading the comments.
    3: I do not have a stand/hand mixer so it was impossible to fluff up the eggs. it turned out a million times smaller than it should’ve.
    4: It was too thick to roll up properly.
    5: The cream oozed out as I tried to roll the cake so I had to stack it up.
    6: It was a giant mess.
    7: The ganache was good and delicious, but it wasn’t enough.
    8: I don’t have a hand/stand mixer so my meringues were liquid. Plus I accidentally tipped the tray a bit and half of them oozed out.
    9: My meringues were half-toasted and half-liquidy, which wasn’t really a bad thing, the inside was like gum though.
    10: The cake was a very little amount, even after all that hard work. Probably because of not having fluffy egg whites.
    But when I bit into the cake… wow. It wasn’t just the 200 calories per bite, but it was DELICIOUS! Thanks for this recipe, Sally! When I try again, will definitely have a hand mixer! I had lots of fun making it.

    But one small question so I can remember for next time. Is it the thickness of my cake that made it impossible to roll? Or is it possibly something else? Lots of thanks for all your recipes! I will definitely try out this month’s Sally’s Baking Challenge. I saw that ice cream loaf cake and suddenly felt so hungry! Thanks for everything!

    1. Hi there, thanks so much for giving this cake a try! You’re correct, it was likely the incorrect pan size that made the cake so difficult to roll and caused the change in texture. Cake rolls are very particular and without following the recipe closely, it can often make it very difficult to roll and keep together properly. For the future, our cake pan sizes and conversions guide will be helpful if you ever need to scale this recipe or another one for a certain size pan. Having a hand mixer will definitely help with the eggs, too! Hope you will get the chance to try it again.

      1. Yes, will definitely try again! It was great fun. This month I am tackling Sally’s Baking Challenge and although I am not aiming to win, just to have fun, that amazon gift voucher would come in handy for a hand mixer! I have a Thermomix but it isn’t the same, so it can’t whip any more.

  11. Hi Sally! I’m curious if you’ve ever rolled this from the long side for a less swirls but a longer log?

    1. Hi Anna! We’ve always rolled it the way we detail above (for the prettiest swirls), but you can certainly roll it the other way if you prefer.

    1. Hi Francesca, the entire cake can be made 1-2 days in advance, but it’s best to decorate with sugared cranberries, meringues, and a dusting of confectioners’ sugar (step 13) closest to serving. See recipe notes for other make ahead options.

  12. Hi sally,
    If we don’t use the liquor, can I replace it with cocoa powder and more heavy cream? Thanks!

    1. Hi John, no need to replace it with anything (the whipped cream will still set up without that extra liquid). However, feel free to add more heavy cream or replace with strong coffee or 1 teaspoon flavor extract. See recipe note.

  13. Hey,
    I’m not going to make the sugared rosemary, but I’m making the cranberries. Should I reduce the amount of syrup? TIA!!

  14. Hello, if I am making the mushrooms smaller (mini meringue mushrooms), should i also change the baking time?

    1. Hi Jenn, for mini meringues, the bake time will be slightly shorter (we’re unsure of the exact bake time).

  15. Hi Sally, I made this cake yesterday planning on freezing it (for a December Christmas dinner) and waiting to put the decorations on until the day of the dinner. I trimmed off the edges to give it a clean look. Naturally, I treated myself to the scraps. I was disappointed because the sponge cake was so dry. I have a suspicion that my eggs had an over abundance of egg whites. When I cracked them open I was surprised at the amount of egg white each held. The cake really puffed up much higher than expected too, and it only took 15 minutes to bounced back to the touch. I plan on starting over and remaking the cake for the dinner party. I’m hoping you can suggest what might have gone wrong. All directions were followed to the letter. I whipped the egg whites for about four minutes to get stiff peaks, the yolks for about 3 minutes nice and light in color, added the egg whites 10 seconds each time and folded in the dry ingredients in two steps with a spatula. I’m wondering if you can tell me how many grams of egg whites should a large egg contain. I’m seeing both 30 and 36 grams on the internet. I did not weigh mine, but will next time for sure. I double checked your ingredients and it didn’t list it by grams so I took a chance when I think I should have trusted my instincts that there was too much. My bad! Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Marie, slightly reducing the amount of egg white could help– there may have been too much volume of stiff egg whites which can absolutely dry out the sponge. I usually get 30g per 1 egg white, making it 180g total for this recipe. I will say– the filling helps moisten the crumb as it sits. So even if it tastes dry now, it may not after thawing!

      1. Thanks, Sally. I think I will take my chance then and hope the filling helps it. You are absolutely awesome!!!

  16. I am excited to try this but am wondering if I can freeze the rolled, but unfrosted, cake for a few weeks? I will be having a full house and don’t want to attempt this while I am distracted.

    1. Hi Theresa, You can freeze the assembled cake before or after adding the ganache for up to 3 month. See the recipe notes for details.

  17. This looks amazing, and my daughter and I will give it a whirl this year! However, the video doesn’t show how, after you spread the ganache, how. you cleaned up the plate, or did you transfer it ever so carefully to another plate? Tips?? Thanks.

    1. Hi Marnie, We decorated this right on the serving plate as it’s difficult to move once it’s assembled and covered in ganache. If any of the ganache drips onto the plate you can simply wipe it up with a paper towel or clean kitchen rag. But keep in mind that if you are adding decorations around it, the drips will be hidden!

    1. Hi Aliyyah, Hi Jennifer, We don’t recommend all purpose flour for this particular recipe. Cake flour is necessary for this light cake. If you have cornstarch on hand, you can follow our DIY cake flour recipe. Hope this helps!

    2. what are your recommendations to make this gluten free? Wondering about substituting cake flour with a one-to-one GF flour and adding corn starch Thoughts?

      1. Hi Teresa, We haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flour but let us know if you try it!

  18. I’m really excited to try this recipe. But I have a small oven and cannot for that size baking sheet in there. I do have two rimmed 10×15 sheet. Can I split it into two and just make two smaller roll cakes

      1. I have the right size pan to make this but I was thinking of using a 10×15 pan twice so I could add an extra stem onto my Buche De Noel. So when I came across Shannon’s question and your reply I thought it would be doable however the 2 roll recipes you linked are not chocolate. Basically I’m a bit confused as to why you would recommend either of those recipes in order to achieve a Buche De Noel. Am I missing something here? Please advise. Thanks…

      2. Hi Tammie! Those recipes would yield a smaller cake, but with the sponge desired. Multiple batches ensure you have enough to work with. Hope this helps!

  19. I’m excited to give this a try! I would love to have the hazelnut flavor without the liquer. Any suggestions on how to incorporate Nutella into the whipped cream filling? Thanks in advance. Your instructions always lead to yumminess!

    1. Hi Tara, we’re sure you could add a Tablespoon or 2 of Nutella to the heavy cream mixture before beating into whipped cream, but we fear the consistency won’t be stiff enough. Let us know if you try it!

  20. HI Sally, I plan to make this cake over the weekend, but want to add some coffee flavor to the sponge as I feel chocolate, hazelnuts and coffee just go so well together. How would you recommend I add the coffee flavor to the sponge to achieve a more mocha flavor without jeopardizing the overall texture of the cake? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Valerie! We would recommend adding espresso powder to the sponge. You could start with 2 tsp – let us know how it goes!

  21. Hey Sally,
    I want to use peppermint extract in the filling. What do you think about that and how much should I use?
    Thanks,
    Ashley

    1. Hi Ashley! Peppermint extract is quite potent – we would start with 1/4 tsp and add to taste. Enjoy!

  22. My 12 year old daughter and I made this today. The recipe is wonderful and so easy to follow! Thank you for making it clear how long it would take. We planned well and it was such a satisfying experience! Thanks, Sally!

  23. Hi Sally, how many Grams or Kgs would this Yule weigh?
    would be great to know, thanks 🙂

  24. I wanted to make this as a vanilla roll. If I omit the cocoa do I need to replace it with flour. Thanks

    1. Hi Maria! Unfortunately, a vanilla cake roll would not be as simple as removing cocoa powder from this recipe. We suggest using this cake recipe instead – enjoy!

  25. Could I use Kirsch for the liquor? Thinking of cut up brandied cherries instead of the hazelnuts or would that make it too moist. I love Black Forest cake and don’t love hazelnut.

    Can’t wait to try this. So much fun.

    1. Hi Shannon, that should work just fine! The filling may be a little more thick and you may want to consume it more quickly with the wet cherries, but it should be a delicious pair. Let us know what you try!

  26. Hello!

    My father in law is allergic to hazelnuts. Is there something you’d recommend in its place?

    Thank you!!

    1. Hi Shoneth! You can leave out the chopped hazelnuts. See recipe note 3 for alternatives to hazelnut liqueur. Enjoy!

  27. Sally, could this cake be made and filled then put in the freezer say, weekend before Christmas then assembled and frosted a couple of days (23rd) before Christmas then, decorated 1 day before? Wasn’t sure if the whipping cream filling could freeze well or not. Also, how far in advance could the mushrooms be made and stored? Thanks for the recipe and your help!

    1. Hi Kit, 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. 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.

Leave a Review!

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.