Simple Yule Log Cake Recipe for the Holidays

This page may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Delicious and chocolatey Yule Log Recipe to celebrate the holidays. It’s a shallow cake that you spread with cream and then roll up and decorate.

The first time I was introduced to a yule log cake was in French class. Called a Buche de Noel in France, it’s a traditional Christmas cake made to resemble a yule log. A big traditional log put on the fire to burn at Christmas. The cake is rich and chocolatey and no doubt inspired by ancient European traditions surrounding the winter solstice. Now that I live in Britain, yule log cakes are more the norm at Christmas. In fact, my OH’s grandmother proudly makes one each year for the big day. They’re lovely served in the middle of a holiday table and each slice is an airy miracle of chocolate and cream.

Making one of these is a lot less complicated than you’d think but you do need to be gentle. Gentle with the mixing, gentle with the baking, and most importantly, gentle with the rolling. Once that’s done it’s a sturdy cake that transports well and will earn you oohs and ahhs of delight. For something different this year, try this simple yule log recipe and who knows, it may end up becoming your family’s tradition as well.

Delicious and chocolatey Yule Log Recipe to celebrate the holidays. It's a shallow cake that you spread with cream and then roll up and decorate for Christmas. It's simpler to make than you'd think and the perfect combination of chocolate and cream filling #christmascake #yule #buchedenoel #yulelog #cakerecipe
Delicious and chocolatey Yule Log Recipe to celebrate the holidays. It's a shallow cake that you spread with cream and then roll up and decorate for Christmas. It's simpler to make than you'd think and the perfect combination of chocolate and cream filling #christmascake #yule #buchedenoel #yulelog #cakerecipe
It took me 22 Years to make Bûche de Noël

Traditional Yule Log Recipe

Tanya Anderson
Make a traditional French rolled sponge cake with chocolate ganache 'bark' for the holidays. You'll need a jelly pan for this recipe, basically a smaller version of a baking tray with raised edges. It helps you make a thin cake sponge that you can easily roll into a log.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 50 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Cooling time 1 hr
Total Time 2 hrs
Course Dessert
Cuisine British, French
Servings 8 people
Calories 214 kcal


for the Sponge

for the Filling

  • 3 Tbsp powdered (confectioners) sugar 25 g
  • 1 cup double (heavy) cream 240 ml
  • 1 Tbsp sour cream 15 ml

for the Chocolate Ganache



  • Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C or 160°C if you have a convection oven
  • Melt the butter and pour it into the jelly pan. Use a brush to coat it well, including the corners and pour the excess butter out into a dish. Next line the pan with baking paper and then brush the top of the paper with the remaining butter. Get every inch of it.

Make the chocolate cake sponge

  • Whisk the dry ingredients for the sponge together in a bowl. Set aside.
  • Pour the yolks into your electric mixer's bowl. Add the vanilla and ¼ cup of the sugar and mix on medium speed for a few minutes or until pale yellow.
  • Take your mixer's beaters off and rinse thoroughly. In a second bowl that will fit with your electric mixer, add the egg whites and begin beating at medium-high speed. When they begin forming peaks, add the remaining ½ cup of sugar a spoonful at a time. The peaks will look glossier after and the entire step only takes a few minutes.
  • With a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites. Next, sprinkle over the dry ingredients and fold those in too. Mix until incorporated but don't over-mix. You want the air from the egg whites to stay in the batter.
  • Pour the batter into the pan and smooth with your spatula. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cake springs back a little when touched. Take the cake out of the oven and cool.

Fill and Roll the Cake

  • When the cake has cooled to room temperature, make the filling. Whip the cream, sour cream, and three tablespoons of powdered sugar in the mixer until it forms stiff peaks.
  • Spread this cream evenly over the top of the cake sponge, except for a couple of inches on one of the shorter sides.
  • Rolling the cake is pretty easy at this point, don't worry. Begin from the short end that you did cover with cream and lift up the edge. Begin rolling it towards the other end, peeling off the paper as you go. If the cake cracks a little, don't worry since the roll will hold it in place. Roll all the way to the un-creamed side then lift the cake up and place it seam-side down on the serving dish.

Make the Chocolate Ganache

  • Place the cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Take it off the heat, add the chocolate and let it sit together for five minutes. While it's sitting, place baking paper all around the cake and tuck it just under its edge. This helps with chocolate spillage.
  • Stir the chocolate and cream together and then let it cool slightly — about ten minutes. Next, slowly pour it over the yule log so that the cake is covered. You'll see what I mean about the paper helping with the spillage here. Wait another five minutes before running a fork along the ganache to create tree bark texture.
  • You can leave this cake at room temperature if you're planning on serving it the same day. If you're making it the day before, refrigerate it and take it out to come to room temperature before serving.
    Bûche de Noël recipe


Serving: 1sliceCalories: 214kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 4gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 75mgFiber: 1gSugar: 14gCalcium: 31mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Chocolate, Christmas
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

More Ideas to celebrate the Holidays

If you enjoyed this Yule Log cake recipe (and I think you will have!), check out these other ideas to help to you celebrate and enjoy the holidays. There’s nothing like handmade when it comes to a memorable and fun Christmas. Fill it with nature crafts, recipe ideas, outings, and unique ways mark the season. Tis the season!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. Ellen J Harrison says:

    5 stars
    I made this many years ago and it turned out wonderfully. The recipe I used was more than likely a Betty Crocker recipe, but it called for turning over the the cake onto a clean cloth towel that has been sprinkled with powdered sugar, so it won’t stick to the towel. Once cool, use the towel to help in wrapping it up – after you’ve added the sweetened whipped cream to the top of the cake.
    I’ve also been known to use non-stick aluminum foil, or vegetable oil to grease the aluminum foil so that the cake is removed without any cake chunks stuck to the bottom of the pan.

  2. 5 stars
    I’m in a baking and pastries class, and my class was assigned to make a cake based on nature, it also had to be something that was not from\ part of your bloodline, I’m from Seoul, so I figured I’d try making yule logs, of course… I personally don’t think they looked a thing like they should’ve, but my instructor complemented how realistic my attempt was.

  3. ok to sub regular refined sugar for the confection sugar?

    1. You need to use confection sugar for the recipe. It’s also known as powdered sugar :)

  4. It says to mix the dry ingredients but later add the sugar… is that a mistake or am I adding more sugar. I have no baking skills, and, am very confused:(

    1. Hi Ashley and have a look at the recipe again. There are two amounts of sugar — one for the sponge and one for the filling :)

  5. Alexandra says:

    What is a jelly rolled pan and is it essential? Can I just use a regular 9x 13 pan?

    1. If you have a pan of that size with short raised edges then it is a jelly pan :)

  6. How many days in advance can you make the cake?

    1. You can make it up to a couple of days in advance, but I wouldn’t recommend making it any earlier.

  7. Tammy Vittum says:

    Is there an error in the ganache ingredients?:
    This is what is says:
    for the Chocolate Ganache
    ⅓ double (heavy) cream 240 ml
    I’m assuming it must be 1 Cup of heavy cream instead of 1/3?

    1. Yes, that was an error Tammy, and thanks for pointing it out! All fixed now

  8. Lisa Marie Lindenschmidt says:

    5 stars
    What a work of art! Such a beautiful cake. I love that you turned your fear into food. : )

    1. lovelygreens says:

      I’m so glad too! It took such a long time to really feel motivated enough to try though. It’s hard to unlearn some lessons…

  9. Was it particularly delicious? It took me nearly 40 yrs to make my *second* buche de noel, also due to a school incident!
    In 7th grade we were asked to bring a dessert to a ‘potluck’ for the holidays. My mom worked but I figured I could do this on my own. I actually did really quite well with methodically measuring the ingredients beforehand, pre-heating oven, and using the required utensils. However, I could not believe that the recipe was correct when it called for Baking Soda. I mean, there was a box of it in the bathroom for my mom’s teeth! gross! So, I replaced baking soda with baking powder, sure it was an error. Yes, you imagined correctly. I was able to get the cake rolled up because it was still warm from the oven, as instructed, but by the morning, it was as hard as … a log! I was mortified to hand it in the next day but I had worked so hard and wanted a grade on it. Fortunately, there was so much food on the table, it went without much notice.
    Although I’ve baked many cakes since, all without similar incident, it was only just the Solstice before last that I could bear to try it again. I very methodically measured out all ingredients, followed all instructions meticulously, and rolled it very gently. You know what? That was the best damn cake I ever made!

    1. lovelygreens says:

      Oh lawd…we’ve all done something similar. Salt instead of sugar, baking powder instead of bicarb… I’m so glad you had a ‘Phew’ moment when you were able to disguise your log among the other cakes. I’d have totally felt the same :D How funny that you decided to give the ole Yule Log another go the same year as me. Something was in the air!

    2. After sifting dry ingredients, it says to add 1/4 C of sugar to the yolk. A 1/4 C of what sugar? Was i not supposed to add the 3/4 C sugar to the dry ingredients? (It is a dry ingredient, after all) The way you have some of this recipe worded is confusing. Wish I had realized this before starting, as I now have a bowl full of sifted dry ingredients that I can’t do anything with. Thanks! ?

      1. The ingredients list is divided into ingredients for the sponge, filling, and icing. Use the called for ingredients for the steps to make said parts of the cake. If you’re making the sponge, use the dried ingredients called for in the sponge section of the ingredients list.