Yule Log Cake Recipe with Chocolate Ganache Icing

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Delicious and chocolatey Yule Log cake recipe to celebrate the holidays. This classic Christmas dessert is a chocolate sponge cake that you spread with cream and then roll up and decorate like a Yule log. The recipe also features a rich chocolate ganache instead of icing.

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

Also known as Bûche De Noël and Swiss rolls, Yule logs are a traditional Christmas cake made to resemble a Yule log. What makes this cake recipe special is that you first make a thin layer of airy sponge, then spread cream filling over it and carefully roll it up. You finish it by decorating the roll to look like a log with chocolate icing and other decorations like marzipan mushrooms, cranberries, and rosemary sprigs. Then, when you cut slices to serve, each slice will have a beautiful spiral of cream filling reminiscent of tree rings. It looks gorgeous in the middle of a holiday table, and each slice is an airy miracle of chocolate and whipped cream.

How to Make a Yule Log Cake

The easy way to make a yule log cake uses a boxed cake mix and supermarket icing. As you can probably guess, they’re not as good as one made from scratch. That’s because the batter of a traditional yule log cake is different from a standard sponge cake and doesn’t require baking powder or baking soda to help the sponge rise. Instead, it’s made by gently folding together homemade meringue and a frothy egg yolk mixture. That simple, frothy batter creates a lighter-than-air sponge that is both delicious and easy to roll up.

Delicious and chocolatey Yule Log recipe to celebrate the holidays. This classic European Christmas dessert is a shallow cake that you spread with cream and then roll up and decorate like a Yule log. This recipe also features a rich chocolate ganache instead of icing #christmasrecipe #christmascake #yule

The other thing that makes this recipe different is that it uses chocolate ganache for the icing. Standard icing is heavy on sugar, but chocolate ganache is more about deep chocolate flavor. It also hardens into a firm coating that holds a design well and is more like a chocolate truffle shell than frosting. It really is the icing on the cake in this recipe.

Making a yule log cake from scratch requires quite a few steps, so I’d like to take you through the process with photos to help explain. It’s also important to be 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 making this simple Yule log recipe. Who knows? It may become your family’s tradition as well.

Yule log cake recipe with step-by-step images showing how to make a thin sponge, roll it with filling, and coat it with chocolate ganache #christmasrecipe #christmascake #yule
Each slice of yule log cake will have a spiral of cream filling

More Ideas to Celebrate the Holidays

Before we move on to the recipe, here are some other ideas to help you celebrate and enjoy the holidays. There’s nothing like handmade for a memorable and fun Christmas. Fill it with nature crafts, recipe ideas, outings, and unique ways to mark the season. Tis the season!

Traditional Yule Log Cake Recipe

Tanya Anderson
Delicious and chocolatey Yule Log cake recipe to celebrate the holidays. This classic European Christmas dessert is a shallow cake that you spread with cream and then roll up and decorate like a Yule log. The recipe also features a rich chocolate ganache instead of icing
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 10 minutes
Cooling time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine British, French
Servings 10 people
Calories 214 kcal



for the Sponge

for the Filling

  • 3 Tbsp confectioners sugar (powdered sugar) (25 g)
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
  • 1 cup double cream (heavy cream) (240 ml / 235 g)
  • 1 Tbsp sour cream (or cream cheese / 15 ml / 15 g)

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 use a brush to coat the pan well, including the corners and sides. Next, line the pan with baking paper and brush the top of the paper with the remaining butter. Ensure that every part of the paper and the inside of the pan is well greased.

Make the cake sponge mixture

  • Crack the eggs and separate the yolks and whites into different bowls.
  • Using the sieve, sift the flour, salt, and cocoa powder for the sponge together in a large bowl.
  • Sift the icing sugar with the sieve into another bowl.
  • Pour the egg yolks into the electric mixer's bowl. Add the vanilla and ¼ cup of the sugar and mix on medium speed for two to three minutes or until well-mixed and frothy on top. Since there's such a small amount of egg in the bowl, I use the spatula to help direct the egg into the mixer's beaters.
  • Take the mixer's beaters off and rinse thoroughly. If you have a second bowl that will fit your mixer, get that out now and set the one with the egg yolk mixture aside. If not, pour the egg yolk mixture into another bowl and set aside. Clean and dry the mixer bowl thoroughly.
  • Add the egg whites to the empty mixer bowl and begin beating at medium-high speed. When they begin forming soft 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. Folding simply means working from the edges of the bowl and turning the outside ingredients into the center of the bowl. Do not stir, or you'll lose the fluffiness of the mixture.
  • Next, sprinkle over the sifted cocoa powder and flour and gently fold it in too.
  • The cake batter will be fluffy yet fully incorporated when it's finished. Don't be tempted to over-mix it since stirring too much can flatten the airiness of the batter.

Bake the Yule Log Cake Sponge

  • Pour the batter into the pan and smooth with your spatula. If the baking paper sticks out beyond the pan's edges, trim it off now to ensure it doesn't fall back into the sponge while baking.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cake springs back a little when touched. Using a 9×12" pan will take closer to ten minutes. Larger pans like the 11×16" in the photos needs less time.
  • As soon as you take the cake sponge out of the oven, gently pull the sponge out of the pan and onto a damp and clean kitchen towel. It should come out fairly easily thanks to the butter used to grease the pan.
  • Once the cake is on the kitchen towel, sprinkle it with sifted icing sugar.
  • Lay another piece of baking or parchment paper on top of the cake, then roll it up while it is still warm. Doing this helps mold the sponge into a rolled shape and can reduce the chances of it splitting later on.

Make the Filling

  • Wait until the cake cools to room temperature before moving on to the next step.
  • Whip the cream, sour cream, and three tablespoons of sifted icing sugar in the mixer until it forms stiff peaks. Although optional, you could also sift 1-2 teaspoons of cocoa powder into the mix. This will give the filling a light brown color and a hint of chocolate flavor.
  • Gently unroll the cake and remove the top layer of baking paper. Spread the whipped cream filling evenly over the top of the cake sponge, except for a one-inch strip on one of the shorter ends.

Roll the Yule Log Cake

  • Roll the cake, beginning from the short end that is covered with cream. Lift up the edge of the sponge and pull it away from the lower layer of baking paper. Roll the sponge onto itself as gently but as tightly as you can. Peel the paper away as you go and use it to help push the sponge as you roll.
  • If the cake cracks a little as you roll, don't worry. The roll should hold it in place, and the last steps can cover all manner of imperfections.
  • Roll all the way to the uncreamed side. The result is a rolled-up cake, and most of the hard work is over! If the cream filling was spread a bit thin on the sides, the ends of the cake might look thinner than the middle. This is completely fine but if you are aiming for a more uniform shape, you can trim up to an inch of cake from the ends using a sharp knife. It's a great way to sample the cake before you decorate it too.
  • When you've finished, lift the cake and place seam side down on a serving platter. Tuck baking paper under the edges of the cake (not too far under, though) in preparation for the next step. You surround the cake with paper to protect the plate from too much chocolate mess.

Make the Chocolate Ganache

  • Place the cream in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Take it off the heat, add the chocolate and let it sit together for up to five minutes. Stay with it and stir every thirty seconds or so. The result will be a gorgeous and even chocolate mixture.
  • Once the chocolate ganache is fully mixed, allow it to cool for five to ten minutes before the next step. This allows it to set up a bit so that it isn't too liquidy.
  • Next, slowly pour the chocolate ganache over the yule log cake to cover it. If the ganache runs down from the cake, the paper will protect the plate from mess and you can use a silicone spatula to pull it back up on the cake.
  • Wait another ten minutes for the ganache to fully set before gently pulling the paper out from under the edge of the cake. If the paper feels stuck under, you hold a spatula against the cake while you pull, and that helps to keep the ganache in place while you pull the paper out.
  • To create tree bark texture, use a fork and gently run it along the chocolate ganache. If you wish, lightly sift icing sugar on top for a dusting of snow.
  • Lastly, decorate the cake with optional decorations and garnishes. Creating a woodland theme is popular, but simple sprigs of rosemary or holly are perfect, too.


Serving: 1sliceCalories: 214kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 4gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 75mgFiber: 1gSugar: 14gCalcium: 31mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Chocolate, Christmas
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Recipe Rating


  1. CooknCrochet says:

    I’m going to make this the night before taking it to my son’s house for Christmas. Should I keep it in the fridge or is room temp okay?

    1. I’d keep it in the fridge if you’re making it the day before, and take it out about an hour before serving.

  2. This looks great but is there any way of getting the recipe without the pictures as the computer says it will take 17 pages to print out! thanks

    1. Hi Sharon, when you press print it opens a second page where you have to press the print button again. Before you press it, untick the box ‘instructional images’ and it won’t print the photos. Hope you enjoy the Yule log cake recipe :)

  3. I’m about to make this recipe but it doesn’t say when to add the salt. In the dry ingredients or into the egg whites.

    1. Hi Lorraine, you sift it in with the flour and cocoa powder. Have fun making your yule log cake, and let me know how it goes? :)

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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 :)

  7. 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 :)

  8. 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 :)

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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…

  12. 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.