Daring Bakers take on the Yule Log

While the tradition of the Yule Log is most closely associated with Christmas, the practice of burning a Yule Log dates back to celebrations of the Winter Solstice in Scandinavia.

The burning of the Yule Log became part of the celebrations of Midwinter. The Yule Log came to represent life, prosperity, warmth, protection and light during the dark winter.

Over the centuries, this tradition was carried on in some form by virtually ever European culture. At some point in the 18th or 19th century, the French transformed the tradition into an edible version with the Buche de Noel.

In High School I actually made a couple Buche de Noels for French class. They were nothing like this one. I never made meringue mushrooms or “real” buttercream. Those would definitely be a challenge for me!

I set out to make my Yule Log the afternoon of a holiday party we were going to attend. I decided to make the genoise chocolate and to fill it with raspberry preserves and buttercream. I wasn’t crazy about the coffee flavored buttercream frosting, but everyone else really liked the combination of flavors.

Overall, the Yule log was not overly difficult to make or assembly, but again, I wasn’t crazy about the exterior frosting, so if I made it again, I’d definitely make a chocolate frosting.

Yule Log(from Perfect Cakes by Nick Malgieri and The Williams-Sonoma Collection: Dessert)

Hosts: Daring Baker Founders Ivonne (Cream Puffs in Venice) and Lisa (La Mia Cucina)

Recipe Quantity: Serves 12

Cake should be stored in a cool, dry place. Leftovers should be refrigerated

Plain Genoise:
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
¾ cup of sugar
½ cup cake flour
¼ cup cornstarchone
(1) 10 x 15 inch jelly-roll pan that has been buttered and lined with parchment paper and then buttered again

1.Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

2.Half-fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat so the water is simmering.

3.Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, salt and sugar together in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer. Place over the pan of simmering water and whisk gently until the mixture is just lukewarm, about 100 degrees if you have a thermometer (or test with your finger – it should be warm to the touch).

4.Attach the bowl to the mixer and, with the whisk attachment, whip on medium-high speed until the egg mixture is cooled (touch the outside of the bowl to tell) and tripled in volume. The egg foam will be thick and will form a slowly dissolving ribbon falling back onto the bowl of whipped eggs when the whisk is lifted.

5.While the eggs are whipping, stir together the flour and cornstarch.

6.Sift one-third of the flour mixture over the beaten eggs. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour mixture, making sure to scrape all the way to the bottom of the bowl on every pass through the batter to prevent the flour mixture from accumulating there and making lumps. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture and finally with the remainder.

7.Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

8.Bake the genoise for about 10 to 12 minutes. Make sure the cake doesn’t overbake and become too dry or it will not roll properly.

9.While the cake is baking, begin making the buttercream.

10.Once the cake is done (a tester will come out clean and if you press the cake lightly it will spring back), remove it from the oven and let it cool on a rack.

Coffee Buttercream:
4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
24 tablespoons (3 sticks or 1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons rum or brandy

1.Whisk the egg whites and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Set the bowl over simmering water and whisk gently until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are hot.

2.Attach the bowl to the mixer and whip with the whisk on medium speed until cooled. Switch to the paddle and beat in the softened butter and continue beating until the buttercream is smooth. Dissolve the instant coffee in the liquor and beat into the buttercream.

Meringue Mushrooms:
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ cup (3-1/2 ounces/105 g.) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (1-1/3 ounces/40 g.) icing sugar
Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting

1.Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Have ready a pastry bag fitted with a small (no. 6) plain tip. In a bowl, using a mixer on medium-low speed, beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar until very foamy. Slowly add the granulated sugar while beating. Increase the speed to high and beat until soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted. Continue until the whites hold stiff, shiny peaks. Sift the icing sugar over the whites and, using a rubber spatula, fold in until well blended.

2.Scoop the mixture into the bag. On one baking sheet, pipe 48 stems, each ½ inch (12 mm.) wide at the base and tapering off to a point at the top, ¾ inch (2 cm.) tall, and spaced about ½ inch (12 mm.) apart. On the other sheet, pipe 48 mounds for the tops, each about 1-1/4 inches (3 cm.) wide and ¾ inch (2 cm.) high, also spaced ½ inch (12 mm.) apart. With a damp fingertip, gently smooth any pointy tips. Dust with cocoa. Reserve the remaining meringue.

3.Bake until dry and firm enough to lift off the paper, 50-55 minutes. Set the pans on the counter and turn the mounds flat side up. With the tip of a knife, carefully make a small hole in the flat side of each mound. Pipe small dabs of the remaining meringue into the holes and insert the stems tip first. Return to the oven until completely dry, about 15 minutes longer. Let cool completely on the sheets.

Assembling the Yule Log:

1.Run a sharp knife around the edges of the genoise to loosen it from the pan.

2.Turn the genoise layer over (unmolding it from the sheet pan onto a flat surface) and peel away the paper.

3.Carefully invert your genoise onto a fresh piece of parchment paper.

4.Spread with half the coffee buttercream (or whatever filling you’re using).

5.Use the parchment paper to help you roll the cake into a tight cylinder.

6.Transfer back to the baking sheet and refrigerate for several hours.

7.Unwrap the cake. Trim the ends on the diagonal, starting the cuts about 2 inches away from each end.

8.Position the larger cut piece on each log about 2/3 across the top.

9.Cover the log with the reserved buttercream, making sure to curve around the protruding stump.

10.Streak the buttercream with a fork or decorating comb to resemble bark.

11.Transfer the log to a platter and decorate with your mushrooms and whatever other decorations you’ve chosen.

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36 Responses to “Dark Chocolate Frosting Recipe”

  1. #
    Party Box Design — June 14, 2010 at 11:47 am

    loving the baileys idea! mmmmm

  2. #
    Jenni @ Project Cookie 365 — June 14, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    I use the same recipe (I think, I’ve had it for years; a standby. I think it was called “Chocolate Fudge Frosting”)
    Best thing EVER to do? add a bit of mint extract – it’s very easily my most popular cake filling.. and my favourite icing to eat by the spoonful lol.

  3. #
    Erin — June 14, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    I haven’t found the perfect chocolate frosting yet, so I’ll definitely have to try this one!

  4. #
    hannah! — June 14, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    i definitely, definitely have to try this soon. i can’t get enough of chocolate!

  5. #
    Lollicake Bakeshop — June 14, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    It’s funny about the no milk thing…I was making a new martini recipe that was super strong, so I thought cream would help it become drinkable – but I had no cream, but I did have Vanilla Caramel Coffeemate…it was great!

  6. #
    Joanne — June 14, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Ironically, I almost never have milk and always have Bailey’s. Go figure.

    Sometimes you really do need a seriously dark chocolatey frosting. This looks absolutely ideal.

  7. #
    Justin — June 14, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    you really got into the food styling there — cute pic with the cupcake in the sprinkles.

  8. #
    Pegster — June 14, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. #
    Pegster — June 14, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    This sounds nice – I’ll have to try it one day! Jen, have you tried King Arthur Flour’s Supersimple Chocolate Frosting recipe? It is my favourite recipe (so far) for chocolate frosting – I’d definitely recommend it!

    (Sheesh! deleted to fix a typo! Wish there was an edit function :))

  10. #
    Jen — June 14, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Pegster – I have not tried the KA recipe. It looks similar to this chocolate frosting recipe which is delicious!

    The think I love about this frosting is the stiffness and the fudgeness.

  11. #
    Memória — June 14, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    I like this frosting for when I want something quick. Otherwise, I like to use frosting that involves melted, good chocolate for those special occasions. YUM! I would gobble up your cupcakes in a second.

  12. #
    steph — June 15, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Great call on the Bailey’s – my mom would love that icing. I am going to try this next time I make cupcakes.

  13. #
    Elina — June 15, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    I would never think to sub bailey’s for milk. Brilliant. I love my chocolate desserts to be super chocolaty – this looks great!
    LOVE the super pink sprinkles too. So pretty 😀

  14. #
    Elina — June 15, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Oh, I forgot to mention that I’m hosting a giveaway. I wonder if it would come handy in this baking project…

  15. #
    ajcabuang04 — June 15, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    These look great!! I love your photos!! I’ve been searching for a good chocolate-y frosting and I think I might try this!!
    Would you mind checking out my blog? 😀 http://ajscookingsecrets.blogspot.com/

  16. #
    Samantha Angela — June 22, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    I could have definitely used this recipe for my sourdough chocolate cake this week


  17. #
    Kris — June 28, 2010 at 1:24 am

    i just made this frosting today to go inside some cupcakes using your cone method. and i topped with vanilla buttercream, at my hubby’s request.

    let me just say this was so delicious i had to take my whitening strips out early so i could lick my fingers, and then the bowl. then my 15 month old attacked me to lick the spatula. we were all sugar high and happy before dinner.

    my hubby said “every day i am happier i married you because of things like this”

    Thanks for sharing this recipe!!!

  18. #
    Jen — June 29, 2010 at 2:16 am

    Kris – I love hearing comments like that! Thanks for trusting my recipes enough to try on your hubby!

  19. #
    Xiaolu — September 19, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Mmm this looks fantastic, though the ingredients look similar to another delicious recipe I’ve used before that is pretty soft. I’m guessing it’s the butter temperature. Should it be room temperature here? Thanks!

  20. #
    Jen — September 19, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    You definitely want your butter at room temperature so it creams nicely.

  21. #
    Jenn — October 18, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    I have the Bailey’s..lol but I’m out of cocoa powder. Have you ever tried subbing it with melted chocolate? And if so how much do you use?

  22. #
    Anonymous — January 15, 2012 at 2:58 am

    Best frosting ever. Perfect taste, texture and color. It was divine. I will never use another chocolate frosting recipe ever again. Thank you very, very much! It is truly a gift. 🙂

  23. #
    dncnqeen — March 17, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    I am a person who has been cooking from the age of 5 ….lol now i have certin likes loves and disliks lol however i found a revepie i wanted to make and it called for a fudge type frosting…. knowing i didnt have one i liked for this so i started looking friday night and didnt come across your recepie until saturday morning so i got out my ingreadience.. but i didnt have Balies or white milk i had some Cream de Mint and Choc. Milk so i straied a tad from ur recepie …. i used 1/2 stick of butter, and to get 1/3 cup of liquid i used aprox 1/4 cup of Cream de Mint and the rest Choc. Milk. Plus the res of ur ingreadience …..omg this is the best dark choc fudge frosting ive ever had!!!! And i used the best dk. Cocoa i know of !!!!!! Thankyou thankyou THANKYOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. #
    Neida — February 4, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    I’m a baker and for the life of me I can’t find a thick chocolate fudge frosting. Is this frosting thick? I don’t want anything too creamy, like ganache when you let it sit. Help please!

    • beantownbaker — February 4th, 2013 @ 9:45 pm

      This frosting is definitely thick. You can see in the pictures that it held up nicely to piping. It’s not as creamy as a ganache.

  25. #
    Neida — February 4, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    Thank you for responding! 🙂 I see that some people use melted chocolate instead of cocoa powder. Doesn’t it really matter?

    • beantownbaker — February 5th, 2013 @ 10:13 am

      For this recipe, I always use cocoa powder.

  26. #
    Teri — October 30, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    If I make these the day before do I have to refrigerate them(since the recipe calls for milk)or can I leave them on the counter covered?

    • beantownbaker — October 30th, 2013 @ 8:21 pm

      You can leave them on the counter. The milk in the frosting stabilizes so it won’t go bad. I’d put them in a covered container though.

  27. #
    neeti — December 21, 2013 at 11:42 am

    Hi. Is the butter you use salted or unsalted?

    • beantownbaker — December 26th, 2013 @ 11:01 am

      I always use unsalted butter unless specified as salted butter.

  28. #
    Corinne — December 29, 2013 at 11:33 am

    This is absolutely THE BEST chocolate frosting recipe I have EVER tried. I used it to frost some homemade vanilla mint cupcakes and topped them with an Andes mint for my daughters sweet 16 party. I had complete strangers tell me I need to open up a bakery and sell nothing but those cupcakes! Thank you so much for posting this. It is truly amazing.

    • beantownbaker — January 2nd, 2014 @ 1:32 pm

      SO glad you enjoy this recipe! Nothing beats a great chocolate frosting.

  29. #
    Christina — April 25, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    I can’t wait to try this! I LOVE the flavor of the hersey’s dark choc frosting recipe but its so thin that i can’t use it for cupcakes, only for a cake. I even tried refrigeration overnight to see if that would thicken it up and it didn’t. so i can not wait try to this one for my cupcakes!

    • beantownbaker — April 27th, 2014 @ 2:53 pm

      I agree. The Hershey’s one is just too thin for cupcakes.

  30. #
    tess — December 26, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    I made a variation on this recipe for my daughter’s birthday cake yesterday and it was fabulous!

    I’m still trying to figure out how 6T butter is enough though–I ended up putting in two whole sticks of butter and adding in the milk after the first addition (I added it slowly) of powdered sugar/cocoa combo–it was so thick and dry that my mixer was making new, horrible noises and I was sure it was going to die! LOL

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