Buche de Noel

This yummy post is contributed by Caroline of Armelle Blog

Bûche de Noël literally means “Christmas log” in French, referring to the Yule log that would be burned in the the fireplace in centuries past for good luck and healing properties.

Today many families, like mine, celebrate this tradition, and bake a Bûche de Noël around Christmas time.  Growing up, and still today, we prepare and eat a Bûche de Noël cake for Christmas Dinner.
It has been such a fun tradition in our family over the years, and I hope it can be a part of your special holiday in the years to come!
The Bûche de Noël can be an intimidating cake to make, but it is actually not too difficult, it just has several steps in order for it to come together…
Bûche de Noël (Yule Log) Traditional Cake
(makes one log cake, serves about 6-8 people)
Ingredients for the Sponge Cake
5 eggs, separated (at room temperature)
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar (separated 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt


1)  Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease 15-1/2X10-1/2-inch jelly-roll pan; and line pan with parchment paper. Place flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl; stir to combine, and set aside.

2)  Beat egg yolks and 3/4 cup granulated sugar with a mixer at high speed about 5 minutes or until thick and lemon-colored, scraping down side of bowl once. Beat in the flour, baking powder, and salt mixture 1/4 of a cup at a time allowing it to incorporate before adding more. Then, beat in the vanilla; set aside.

4)  Beat egg whites in clean large bowl using clean beaters with electric mixer at high speed until foamy. Gradually beat in remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form.

5)  Fold egg whites into the egg yolk and flour mixture 1/3 of the egg white mixture at a time, until it is evenly incorporated. Spread mixture into the prepared parchment lined pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched with finger.

6)  Lightly sift a few tablespoons of powdered sugar over a clean dish towel. Loosen warm cake from edges of pan; invert onto prepared dish towel. Remove pan; carefully peel off the parchment paper. Gently roll up cake in the dish towel from short end, jelly-roll style. Let rolled cake cool completely on wire rack.

For the Pastry Cream Filling

2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch salt
5 large egg yolks
3 tbsp. cornstarch
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste, that is my preference!)

1) Heat the half-and-half, 6 tablespoons of the sugar, and the salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat until simmering, whisk occasionally to dissolve the sugar.  

2) Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until the sugar has begun to dissolve and the mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds.  

3) Whisk in the cornstarch until combined and the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.

4) When the half-and-half mixture has reached a simmer, slowly add it to the egg yolk mixture to temper, whisking constantly.  Return the mixture to the saucepan, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Return the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a few bubbles burst on the surface and the mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds.  

5) Remove from the heat, and whisk in the butter and vanilla.  Strain the pastry cream through a  fine mesh sieve set over a medium bowl.  Press plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.

Re-roll the cake, making sure to tuck in the first part well.  Use the towel by holding it up at one end to allow the cake to roll down the towel on it’s own.  Try not to handle the cake too much to prevent cracking.

Once the cake is rolled up into a nice cake roll, take a serrated knife and trim off one end at and angle.

This piece will serve as the “stump” on the log.

Use a toothpick to secure the stump in place on the top of the rolled cake.
Now, it is time to frost the log!
For the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) un-salted butter, slightly soft
1/8 tsp salt
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
4 cups powdered sugar
6 tbs cream (milk is also ok)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1) In a stand mixer, beat the butter, and salt for 3 minutes on medium speed.  Turn down a notch to medium low speed, and add cocoa powder one table spoon at a time, until incorporated.
2) Add powdered sugar a half cup at a time until well incorporated.
3) Add cream, then vanilla, and whip to incorporate.
Add a thin layer of chocolate buttercream onto your serving platter about the size of the log so when you cut the cake, there will be frosting all the way around.  Place the log on top of the layer of frosting on your platter.
Then, a thin layer of chocolate buttercream to the log, and smooth the frosting out evenly.
Next, take a fork, and us the tip of the fork and run it down the cake, and spiral along the top and bottom of the log, as well as the stump. This will give your Bûche de Noël an authentic log look!

Decorate your Bûche de Noël with some fun Christmas scenes and serve it as the show stopper at your next Holiday gathering!
Bon Appétit and Joyeux Noël!


My mom’s made this every year since I can remember, and I’ve taken over the tradition now. Word of advice – homemade marzipan decorations are much cuter than anything store-bought, and they’re super easy to make. We make holly berries (tiny balls of marzipan rolled in red food coloring), holly leaves (dye the marzipan green and cut out leaf shapes), and mushrooms (mold a tiny stump out of marzipan, then roll a slightly bigger marzipan ball, stick your pinky finger in the middle, mold a “cap” out of the marzipan over your finger, and dip the cap into cocoa, then attach the stump). Our guests typically end up fighting over who gets to eat the decorations.

I live in Québec and we always had these on Christmas eve! (Well, we still do)

I love to had raspberry jam to the pastry cream filling…

We had Christmas in Paris last year and these were everywhere! We had never seen them before and so we bought one for our Christmas picnic in the park (you can tell we are Aussies can’t you – BBQ even in the freezing cold!). So excited to have a recipe as this lunch was pretty special (involving a ring and a surprise proposal!) and it would be great to keep up the tradition now 🙂

This looks just amazing! I want to make one for our Christmas party

Looks lovely! I never knew about this French tradition. I like it.

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