Beautiful Yule Log You Can Make at Home (Really!)

yule logI've always thought of the Yule Log as sort of the Mount Everest of holiday baking. Otherwise known as a Buche de Noel, it looks fabulous and tastes even better -- but I never thought I could pull it off. (It's the whole cake-rolling thing that intimidates me.)

But this year, I'm determined. So what if the end result isn't perfect? After an exhaustive search to find the most, uh, do-able Yule Log recipe out there, I chose this one (mmm, mocha!).

I figure you can never go too terribly wrong with chocolate, and it'll give me a great excuse to talk like Julia Childs while I bake: And now we will make the classic Buuuuche! De Noel ...


Mocha Yule Log


Mocha Cake:

  • 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa, plus additional for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee or instant espresso powder or granules
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cups granulated sugar

Chocolate Glaze:

  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup

Coffee Cream Filling:

  • 1 cup(s) heavy or whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon(s) instant coffee or instant espresso powder or granules
  • 1/4 cup(s) confectioners' sugar


  1. Prepare Mocha Cake: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 15 1/2" by 10 1/2" jelly-roll pan; line with waxed paper. Lightly grease waxed paper.
  2. In small bowl, combine cocoa, baking powder, and salt. In cup, combine instant coffee and vanilla, stirring to dissolve coffee.
  3. In large bowl, with mixer at high speed, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Sprinkle in 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until whites stand in stiff, glossy peaks when beaters are lifted. Set whites aside.
  4. In another large bowl, using same beaters, with mixer at high speed, beat egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar 2 minutes or until thick and pale yellow. With mixer at low speed, add coffee mixture and beat until blended. Beat in cocoa mixture just until blended. With rubber spatula, gently fold egg whites into cocoa mixture, one-third at a time.
  5. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when lightly pressed with finger. Cool cake in pan on wire rack 10 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle clean kitchen towel with some cocoa. Immediately invert warm cake onto towel; carefully peel off waxed paper. Starting from a long side, roll up cake with towel inside, jelly-roll fashion. Transfer roll, seam side down, to wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.
  7. Prepare Chocolate Glaze: In 1-quart saucepan, heat chocolate with butter and corn syrup over low heat, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove saucepan from heat. Let glaze stand at room temperature 15 to 20 minutes to cool slightly and thicken.
  8. Prepare Coffee Cream Filling: In medium bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat cream and instant coffee until soft peaks form. Add confectioners' sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
  9. Gently unroll cooled cake. With metal spatula, spread filling evenly over cake almost to edges. Starting from same long side, roll cake without towel. (Cake may crack slightly as you roll it.) Cut 1 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slice off 1 end of roll and reserve. Transfer roll to large cookie sheet.
  10. Spread some glaze over roll, but do not spread glaze on ends. Place reserved end piece on side of roll to resemble cut branch. Spread remaining glaze over branch, leaving cut side unglazed. Refrigerate cake, uncovered, until glaze sets, then cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour or up to overnight.
  11. With 2 metal spatulas, gently transfer roll to long platter.

Image via Adriana Velez
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