Bûche de Noël

This vanilla twist on the holiday classic Yule Log cake is inspired by bonfires used to celebrate the winter solstice. A light sponge cake filled with chocolate ganache becomes a pretty log when decorated with that same creamy ganache. It's a delicious way to welcome the season. Note: Thanks to feedback from you, our readers, we've retested this recipe and as of October 2019 have made some significant changes, resulting in a much better final product.  

Prep
40 mins
Bake
15 to 18 mins
Total
1 hr 50 mins
Yield
1 cake
Buche de Noel

Instructions

  1. To make the ganache: Place the chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan or in the microwave, until the mixture begins to steam. Pour over the chocolate, let sit for 2 to 3 minutes, then stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Set aside to cool to room temperature. While the mixture is cooling, make the cake

  2. To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet (half-sheet pan) with parchment paper and spritz the paper with cooking spray.

  3. In a large bowl, whip the egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add 1/3 cup (66g) of the sugar, and continue beating the whites until medium peaks form. Set the whites aside.

  4. In a small bowl whisk together the dry ingredients, including the remaining 2/3 cup (133g) of the sugar. Set aside.

  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the reserved egg yolks, oil, milk, and vanilla until blended. Beat on medium speed until lightened and pale lemon colored. Add the dry ingredients and continue to mix until smooth, about 1 minute.

  6. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a large spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the batter, 1/3 at a time. Use gentle motions to preserve the air in the whites.

  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake the cake for 10 to 14 minutes or until it's set in the middle and springs back when pressed gently.

  8. Remove the cake from the oven, let it cool in the pan for 1 to 2 minutes, then loosen the edges with a knife. Turn the cake out onto a tea towel lightly dusted with confectioners’ sugar and peel off the parchment paper. Allow the cake to rest for 1 to 2 minutes, then roll it up loosely in the towel (starting with a short end) and let it cool completely.

  9. To finish the filling: Once the ganache has cooled to room temperature, transfer it to a mixing bowl and add the salt and vanilla. Using an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the ganache on low speed and slowly add the butter in three additions. Once all the butter has been added increase the speed and whip until fluffy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

  10. To assemble the cake: Unroll the cooled cake and spread it with approximately 3/4 cup of the filling. Re-roll, and place seam-side down on a serving plate. Use the remaining filling to frost the outside of the roll. If desired, dust with confectioners’ sugar and decorate with candied cranberries or meringue mushrooms.

  11. Serve the cake immediately, or refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 24 hours. Freeze for longer storage. If refrigerated or frozen, let the cake come to room temperature before serving.

Tips from our Bakers

  • To sugar cranberries and leaves for decoration, dip the berries in lightly beaten egg white. Wipe off any extra white and roll in granulated sugar. Set aside on parchment to dry. Use the same technique on edible leaves to add sparkle to your plate.