Looking for an impressive holiday cake? Try a Buche de Noel, also known as a Yule Log Cake! This light, chocolatey sponge cake is rolled up with a thick layer of a rich, whipped cream and mascarpone filling. The presentation is elegantly finished with an espresso, chocolate buttercream. So beautiful and tasty!
Half sheet pan
Cooking or baking spray
6 large eggs, separated
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powd
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces mascarpone
Chocolate Espresso Buttercream Ingredients:
1 stick butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon espresso
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Pinch of Kosher salt
1. Prepare a rimmed half sheet baking pan, 12” x 17” x 1”, by spraying the bottom and sides lightly with baking spray, then line with parchment paper. Then, also spray the parchment paper lightly for super-easy removal later. Trim the paper lining and cut the corners so that the paper fits snugly in the pan. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Separate the eggs placing the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl, and the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer.
3. Using a stand mixer, whip the egg whites for 2 minutes. Slowly add 1/4 cup of sugar a little at a time until the egg whites reach the “stiff peaks” stage. Set aside.
4. Using a whisk, beat the egg yolks until lightened in color, about 2-3 minutes. Add the melted butter to the egg yolks slowly while whisking, then add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and beat until combined.
5. Fold in one-quarter of the whipped egg whites into the egg yolk mixture until evenly combined and the yolks are lightened. Add the remaining egg whites in two more portions; continue to fold (not stir) until any white streaks disappear.
6. In another medium-sized bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together – the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture by sprinkling on top and carefully folding until evenly combined.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan spreading to the edges until level. Bake for 10-12 minutes in a preheated oven – preheating is very important for this cake. The cake is done when the cake springs back from a light fingertip touch. Do not over-bake.
8. Remove the cake from the baking pan immediately by placing an un-rimmed baking sheet on top of the cake and inverting the baking pan.
9. Immediately place a clean kitchen towel over the cake and roll the cake into a log with the towel rolled inside beginning at the short side. Allow the cake to cool while wrapped up. This ‘wrapping-while-warm’ process keeps the cake from cracking too much when filling and re-rolling later.
10. Make the cake filling. Whip the cream in a stand mixer. Combine the whipping cream, powdered sugar, brandy, and vanilla extract and whip with a stand mixer until stiff peaks are formed. Once the cream is whipped, fold in the mascarpone until combined.
11. Once the cake has cooled completely, spread the filling on the cake. Unroll the rolled cake gently. (Resist the urge to flatten the cake if it's slightly curled, that's ok!) Spread the filling evenly over the cake to within an inch of the edges. A consistent, even layer of filling will yield the best spiral design once sliced. Carefully re-roll the cake (without the towel). Wrap the rolled cake in the towel or
with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator until ready to frost, up to one day ahead of time.
12. Prepare the chocolate espresso buttercream. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and powdered sugar until light yellow and creamy. Add the cocoa powder, vanilla extract, espresso, heavy cream, and a pinch of salt. Beat until well-combined and smooth. (Go ahead and take a little taste. Yum!)
13. Unwrap and plate the cake roll. Trim both ends to achieve a cleaner edge. If desired, make a "branch" for your log, or keep it as one solid log. Frost the outside with the buttercream, and add tree-trunk lines with a fork, if you'd like. Embellish as desired. Sugared cranberries or pomegranates could be used for a red pop with rosemary or other greenery. Dust lightly with powdered sugar.
14. Slice with a serrated knife into 3/4-inch thick slices. Serve and enjoy!