Last Sunday the Christmas Spirit finally struck the Soave household. With just 5 days to go until Christmas we decided to get our tree, string lights, wrap presents, and decorate while our favorite Christmas movies played on repeat in the background.
In a fit of holiday cheer, I volunteered to bring a yule log for our family Christmas party. The french dessert was a special request from my husband who tried it for the first time on our caribbean Christmas cruise last year.
We were on the ship somewhere just north of St. Thomas when we sat down to a French themed Christmas dinner. Along with escargot and champagne, the crew served this amazing slice of rolled cake with a decadent creamy filling covered in rich chocolate buttercream. It was, by far, the best thing we ate on our trip.
The most memorable part of the evening came when the crew brought out a goliath yule log and proceeded to run around the dining hall with it. This thing was the size of a Buick and required four people to carry it. After being paraded around, the behemoth dessert was taken back to the kitchen, much to the disappointment of my husband who probably could have polished off the whole thing.
Later that evening, Jason was still reflecting on the dessert. ‘I wonder where they took that yule log. Do you think the crew got to eat it?’ The fate of that pastry has been shrouded in mystery this whole past year. Every once in a while someone in our family will ask ‘Whatever happened to that giant yule log?’
Although it isn’t absurdly oversized, this yule log is large enough to feed a small crowd and makes a beautiful centerpiece. It’s a little labor intensive, but if you have the time this holiday season it’s totally worth it.
If you’re like me and intimidated by the thought of attempting any kind of French pastry, you need to know right now there’s nothing to be afraid of. The cake gets broken down into 3 manageable components: the actual cake part, the whipped cream filling, and the buttercream topping.
Whipped egg whites make the cake moist and pliable, so assembly is a breeze. Once the cake comes out of the oven and allowed to cool for 5 minutes, it gets rolled in parchment paper until it cools completely helping it hold it’s cylindrical shape.
While the cake cools, the filling and the frosting get whipped up and set aside until it’s time to assemble. Once the cake is cool, it can get unrolled, filled, rolled, and topped with buttercream.
And the taste is amazing. The whipped cream filling compliments the light and airy cake while rich chocolate buttercream takes it to another level. Seriously, if you’re looking to try a new dessert to share this Christmas, make this. You will be so proud of yourself and everyone will love it.
Chocolate Yule Log
For the Cake
Recipe Adapted From Taste of Home
- 4 Eggs, Separated
- 2/3 cup Brown Sugar, Divided
- 1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
- 2 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 1 Tsp Baking Powder
- 1/4 Tsp Salt
For the Whipped Cream
- 1 Cup Heavy Cream
- 2 Tbsp Sugar
- 1 Tsp Vanilla
For the Chocolate Buttercream
- 1/2 Cup Butter, Softened
- 2 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 1/4 Cup plus 2 Tbsp Heavy Cream
- 1 Tsp Vanilla
Preheat oven to 375. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a large baking sheet (I used a 14×17) and grease.
Place egg whites in large mixing bowl and set aside. In a separate large bowl whisk egg yolks until thick and lemon colored, about 5 minutes. Add 1/3 cup of sugar and continue to whisk.
In a separate bowl combine cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add mixture to egg yolks and sugar, whisking to combine. Mixture will be very thick.
Beat the egg whites in the large mixing bowl until soft peaks form. Note: it is very important to whip the egg whites in a non-porous bowl like metal or glass. Plastic bowls will not allow the egg whites to get the necessary texture. Slowly add the rest of sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and beat until stiff peaks form.
Slowly fold the egg white mixture into the other bowl until fully incorporated. Pour the mixture on the prepared parchment paper and bake for 10-12 minutes until the cake is springy to touch and the bottom is starting to lift at the edges.
Remove the cake and allow it to cool on the pan for 5 minutes. Set out a new piece of parchment paper and dust with cocoa powder. Carefully flip the cake onto the parchment paper and remove the used parchment paper. From the long side, roll the warm cake into the shape of a jelly roll and place on wire racks to cool completely.
While the cake cools, make the whipped cream by adding the heavy cream to a large mixing bowl and beating on medium high until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until stiff peaks form being careful not to over mix.
For the buttercream, beat butter and confectioner’s sugar for 3 minutes until light and creamy. Add the cocoa powder, heavy cream, and vanilla and continue to mix until combined.
To assemble the cake, unroll the cooled cake and frost with whipped cream leaving 1 inch around the edge. Carefully roll up the cake and trim the edges. Slice about 1/3 of the cake at an angle to create the side branch. Attach the angled side to the main branch and cover the cake with buttercream. Use a knife or fork to create a wood grain pattern and enjoy!