IMPRESS YOUR GUESTS WITH THIS DESSERT This is one dessert sure to please everyone. Bûche de Noël is French for Christmas log. This festive holiday dessert is made of classic chocolate sponge cake rolled around a filling of cream and mascarpone and decorated with frosting to represent a yule log. Add confectioner sugar snow, nuts, mushroom-shaped meringue or Christmas cookies to kick the decorations up a notch. This is a classic Bûche de Noël recipe, but there are many variations online.
PREP: 1 HOUR | MAKES 12" CAKE WITH BRANCHES | BAKE 11 MINS
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed half-sheet pan with parchment and grease the parchment and pan.
START THE FROSTING
Start by making a ganache. Place the chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan or in the microwave until it begins to steam. Pour over the chocolate, let sit for 2 to 3 minutes, then stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Set this ganache aside to cool to room temperature while you make the cake.
MAKE THE CAKE
In a large bowl beat the eggs until thick and pale, then add in the sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat until the mixture is thick; this can take up to 3 minutes.
While the eggs are beating, sift together the flour, cocoa, cornstarch, and baking powder. When the egg mixture is ready, sift a third of the dry ingredients into the bowl and gently fold in. Continue to add in until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated.
Whisk together the oil and buttermilk and fold into the batter, mixing just until combined.
Pour the batter into the pan and lightly smooth the top with a spatula. Batter will be thin and may not reach the corners of the pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the top springs back when lightly pressed.
Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 2 minutes. Loosen the edges with a knife. Use the parchment paper under the cake, loosely roll the cake up from the long side. Place the rolled cake on a rack and let it cool completely, leaving it rolled as it cools.
MAKE THE FILLING
Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Mix in the vanilla. Stir together 1 tablespoon of the sugar and the gelatin powder and beat into the cream; this will thicken the filling.
Stir the remaining tablespoon of sugar into the mascarpone and mix it into the whipped cream by hand. Do not overwip the mascarpone — too much can make it grainy. Gently fold in 1/4 cup at at time of the mascarpone mixture until blended.
FINISH THE FROSTING
Once the chocolate ganache has cooled to room temperature, transfer it to a mixing bowl and add the salt and vanilla. Using an electric hand mixer beat the ganache on low speed and slowly add the butter in three parts. 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.
ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
Carefully unroll the cooled cake and spread the filling inside, leaving 1” on a long end uncovered. Gently roll the cake back up and place seam-side down on a large serving platter. Cut a 3-5” piece of the cake off one end at a 45° angle. Place the angled edge of the cut pieces against the larger log to simulate a branch. Square off the pointed end of the larger log and place that slice on the top or side of the cake to make another "branch."
Spread or pipe the frosting all around the outside in a layer at least 1/4” thick. Score the frosting with a fork to make it look like bark. Refrigerate, lightly covered, until ready to serve.
JUST BEFORE SERVING
Dust the top with confectioners sugar, add nuts or other decorations if desired. Refrigerate any leftovers, well wrapped, for several days; freeze for longer storage.
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 5 large eggs at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 6 tablespoons buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon clear gelatin powder
- 3/4 cup mascarpone cheese at room temperature