Prep 15 mins
Cook 10 mins
A traditional dessert served during the Christmas holidays in France, Belgium, Quebec, Lebanon and several other Christian-populated francophone countries as well as in the UK. As the name indicates, the cake is generally prepared, presented, and garnished so as to look like a log ready for the fire. The traditional bûche is made from a Génoise or other sponge cake, generally baked in a large, shallow Swiss roll pan, frosted, rolled to form a cylinder, and frosted again on the outside. The most common combination is a basic yellow sponge cake, frosted and filled with chocolate buttercream; however, many variations on the traditional recipe exist, possibly including chocolate cakes, ganache and espresso or otherwise-flavored frostings and fillings. Bûches are often served with a portion of one end of the cake cut off and set on top of the cake or protruding from its side to resemble a chopped off branch, and bark-like texture is often produced in the buttercream for further realism. These cakes are often decorated with powdered sugar to resemble snow, tree branches, fresh berries, and mushrooms made of meringue.
- 4 eggs (these have to be at room temperature)
- 2⁄3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup cake flour (sifted before measuring)
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- 1⁄2 cup butter, softened (you can use margarine but the flavor will not be the same)
- 2 2⁄3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1⁄3 cup half-and-half cream (can use unwhipped whipping cream in place of half and half) or 1⁄3 cup milk (can use unwhipped whipping cream in place of half and half)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1⁄2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- Butter a 10 X 15 inch jelly roll pan. Line with parchment paper and butter that as well. Preheat oven to 370°F.
- In a mixer (a hand mixer and sturdy deep bowl work as well), beat the eggs until they are very thick and light colored (this takes about 7 minutes). Continue beating and add the sugar in 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each spoonful to mix in before continuing with the next. Beat in the vanilla as well.
- Stop the mixer and sift 1/2 cup cake flour on top of the batter. Using a spatula, gently stir the flour into the batter. Sift the final 1/2 cup flour on top and then very gently fold this into the batter. You want to stop as soon as all the flour is integrated into the batter. This will give you a lovely, airy cake.
- Pour and spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for just 10 minutes. Do not overbake or the cake will be too stiff to roll without breaking.
- As soon as you take it out of the oven, turn the cake out onto a clean dishtowel (I’ve seen people recommend that you put powdered sugar on the dishtowel so that it doesn’t stick, but I don’t find this necessary). Remove the parchment paper and allow the cake to cool for a couple of minutes. While it is still warm, roll the cake up from one of its short ends with the dishtowel inside (this way the cake gets used to being rolled and won’t tear when you fill it and roll it back up). Allow the cake to cool completely.
- Unroll the cake, and spread about 1/2 of the chocolate buttercream (recipe below) evenly on top. Carefully roll the cake back up and neatly place on your serving dish.
- Chocolate Buttercream: Cream the butter in a small bowl.
- Blend in the cocoa powder (the amount desired for a light, medium or dark flavor), vanilla, confectioners sugar, alternately with the cream.
- Beat with an electric mixer, until the desired texture is achieved.
- Optional: To enhance the yule log effect, cut off the ends at an angle and use these to create stubs on the log (they’re supposed to look like cut off branches), attaching them with some buttercream.
- Frost the outside of the log and, using a fork, trace irregular lines in the frosting to give it a woody effect. Cover the cake carefully with plastic wrap and allow it to “age” in the refrigerator for several hours.
I made this for Christmas dessert. It worked up beautifully. It looked great. I think I must have baked the cake a little too long b/c it was very dry. It didn't crack but it was dry. The frosting is FANTASTIC! Very tasty.