Christmas Chocolate Yule Log

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Festive and delicious, this chocolate Yule log is the perfect show-stopping Christmas dessert. Easy to make from scratch, the chocolate sponge cake is soft and light and spiralled around a fluffy cinnamon spiced whipped cream, and iced with a rich chocolate ganache.

Chocolate roulade decorated with chocolate icing and icing sugar

One of the very first things I ever learnt to make for Christmas, except for my Granny’s mince pies, was a chocolate Yule log!

There’s something really special about presenting one of these beauties at the dinner table after a fabulous meal, that makes everyone go ‘oooo chocolate log’.

Yes, I’ll agree it is just a dressed up chocolate Swiss roll. However, for me there’s a little extra magic when it comes to a Yule Log; that extra thick layer of chocolate ganache, the dusting of icing sugar and a shot of brandy in the filling.

If you haven’t tried making your own chocolate log before, now’s your chance, because this is super simple!

What is a Chocolate Yule Log?

A Yule log or bûche de Noël is an alternative Christmas cake, that’s originates from Europe, but is popular worldwide and represents a traditional Yule log that would be burnt over the festive period.

As a dessert, it is typically a light fatless chocolate sponge made in a Swiss roll tin, filled with a whipped cream and iced with a chocolate ganache or buttercream icing.

Over the years, flavour combos have been tweaked and adapted so pretty much anything goes. So why not take this recipe and make it your own!

Slice of chocolate roll cake filled with whipped cream

If you want to skip the essential info and handy tips for making a show-stopping chocolate Yule log, then head down to the printable recipe card.

What you will need to make this recipe

View my Amazon shopping list with equipment and ingredients.

This is a really fun bake to make and it’s great for kids to get stuck into and help you decorate.

Besides the fact that it’s absolutely delicious, it uses simple ingredients and equipment so I know you’re going to enjoy it!

The Ingredients

Get ready and grab these:

  • Plain Flour or All-Purpose Flour
  • Cocoa Powder – I use an intense cocoa powder but you can use a regular one
  • Double Cream or Heavy Cream – you’ll need this for the filling and the chocolate ganache
  • Dark Chocolate or Semi-Sweet Chocolate – If you prefer to use a milk chocolate, you can easily substitute this
  • Ground Cinnamon and Ginger – I use this to spice the whipped cream
  • Light Soft Brown Sugar
  • Caster Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Unsalted Butter

The Equipment

You’ll also need the to get the following ready…

  • Swiss Roll Tray – it should be approximately 33x23cm/ 13×9 inches in dimension and should be at least 1cm deep
  • Handheld Mixer or Stand Mixer – the batter needs to whisk for at least 5 minutes so using a mixer is easier than doing this by hand
  • Offset Spatula – this makes filling and icing so much easier, but a regular palette knife or a spoon will work as well
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Baking Parchment
Chocolate roulade decorated with chocolate icing and icing sugar and sugar berries and holly sprigs

How to make a Christmas Yule Log

Full measurements and instructions can be found on the recipe card

There are essentially four elements to making this recipe, and I’m going to break down the method to these. So let’s get started…

The Chocolate Sponge Cake

The chocolate sponge is very light and springy, which means you can roll it up easily without the risk of cracking.

  • Start off by whisking the eggs and caster sugar together using either a stand mixer or handheld mixer until they have tripled in volume.
  • Whisk for at least 5 minutes on high speed, you want it to be very airy. The mixture will become very pale and foamy with lots of bubbles.
  • Sieve together the plain flour and cocoa powder, then gently fold into the whisked mixture, being careful not to knock the air out.
  • Pour the batter into a Swiss roll tray lined with baking parchment, then bake until the sponge is light and springy.

TOP TIP: When lining the Swiss roll tray, allow the baking parchment to overhang around the slides; this will help you roll the chocolate sponge once its baked

The Cream Filling

While the chocolate sponge is cooling, you can get ahead and make the filling and the ganache.

For the whipped cream filling, add the double cream, soft brown sugar, ground cinnamon and ground ginger into a mixing and whisk until it is thick and spreadable.

TOP TIP: If you prefer a simpler flavour filling, leave out the spices and sugar, and add 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste. For a festive touch, why not add 1 tablespoon of Brandy.

The Chocolate Ganache

The last part to make before assembling is that gorgeous sily chocolate ganache.

  • Break the chocolate into chunks and piece in a heatproof bowl.
  • Gently heat the double cream and butter, over a low to medium heat until it starts to gently boil.
  • Pour the mixture over the chocolate and leave for 1 minute, before stirring until all the chocolate has melted.

It’s important that you let the ganache cool down to so it thickens up, before icing your chocolate log; otherwise it will just run off the sides. I leave mine at room temperature but you can chill in the fridge. You’re after a thick but spreadable ganache.

Slice of Christmas chocolate Yule log cake filled with whipped cream and iced with chocolate ganache

How to assemble a Christmas Yule Log

Once the sponge is baked, you’ll need to roll it up while it is still warm. Turn the sponge out onto a caster sugar dusted piece of baking parchment and roll it up tightly using the paper.

The paper will roll up inside, but don’t worry, this stops the sponge sticking to itself. Leave the sponge to cool until.

TOP TIP: Want to know how to get that perfect spiral without cracking? Head on over and watch how to roll a Yule log now.

So you’re ready to assemble everything…

  • Unroll your cooled sponge, removing the baking parchment.
  • Spread the whipped cream filling all over, leaving a 1cm gap around the edges. This stops the cream squeezing out when you roll it up.
  • Re-roll the sponge as tightly as possible so you get a good swirl. Place the roll on a serving plate and set it on the seam.
  • Use a offset spatula or palette knife to spread the thick chocolate ganache all over the rolled sponge, creating a bark effect. Alternatively you can use a fork to give the ganache texture.
  • Dust the Yule log with icing sugar and decorate!

TOP TIP: Cut a 2-inch piece from one end of the Yule log cake and part in the middle of the log to make a branch

Step by step live video

Frequently Asked Questions

What size Swiss roll tray should I use?

For best results, use a tray approximately 33x23cm/ 13×9 inches in dimension, that is at least 1cm deep.

How many does the Yule log serve?

This recipe will serve between 10 and 12 slices.

How should the Yule log be stored?

Due to the fresh cream filling, the Yule log should be kept chilled in the fridge, covered with cling-film or plastic wrap.

How long does the Yule log keep for?

It is best eaten within 1-3 days if kept chilled.

Can I freeze the Yule Log?

Yes you can. You can either freeze the completed Yule log or the baked and rolled chocolate sponge, for up to 1 month. Make sure you wrap well with cling-film or plastic wrap before freezing and defrost thoroughly before serving or assembling the Yule log.

Chocolate roulade decorated with chocolate icing and icing sugar and sugar berries and holly sprigs

Top tips to make the best Yule log

For a next level Yule log, check out these top tips and wow your guests, or just tuck in for yourself!

  • Use the right size Swiss roll tray – For this recipe, you need a 13×9 inch tray that is 1cm deep; this will give you a light, thin sponge that you can roll tightly for the perfect spiral. If the tray is too small, the sponge will end up being thick and it will not roll as easily.
  • Let excess baking parchment overhang the tray – When lining the Swiss roll tray, leave an extra 1-inch width of baking parchment all around; this will help you roll the chocolate sponge once its baked.
  • Roll the chocolate sponge while it is still warm – It certainly makes things easier and helps prevent the sponge from cracking. Flip the sponge onto another piece of baking parchment dusted with caster sugar, and roll up the sponge tightly.
  • Roll the chocolate sponge from the shorter side – This will ensure that you get a well-formed spiral. If you roll from the longer side, the sponge will have a small spiral and the log will be too long.
  • Switch for chocolate buttercream – If you prefer not to use a whipped cream filling or chocolate ganache, use a chocolate buttercream as a filling and icing instead.
  • Make a vanilla cake sponge instead – Swap out the cocoa powder for plain or all-purpose flour, and add a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Ice with a white chocolate ganache for a snowy feel.
Chocolate Yule Log - Pinterest Image

More Christmas recipes to try

If you liked this Christmas chocolate yule log recipe here are some other recipes that I think you’d enjoy…

Chocolate Yule Log - Featured Image

Christmas Chocolate Yule Log

4.67 from 3 votes
Serves : 12 slices
The perfect show-stopping Christmas dessert this chocolate Yule log is filled with cinnamon whipped cream and iced with a rich chocolate ganache
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Cooling Time 1 hr
Total Time 30 mins

Ingredients
 

For the Chocolate Sponge Cake

For the Filling

For the Chocolate Ganache

  • 100 g Dark Chocolate or Semi-Sweet Chocolate
  • 100 ml Double Cream or Heavy Cream
  • 25 g Butter Unsalted

VIDEO

Instructions
 

  • To make the cake sponge: Preheat oven to 180C/350F, and line a swiss roll tray, approx 13×9 inches, with baking parchment.
  • Add the eggs and sugar into a large mixing bowl, and whisk on high with a handheld mixer for about 5-8 minutes until the mixture is thick and pale. When you lift the beaters out, they should leave a ribbon of the mixture on the surface. Alternatively you can use a stand mixer.
  • Sieve the plain flour and cocoa powder together, then add to the whisked mixture and gently fold in until completely combined. Be careful not to knock the air out.
  • Pour the mixture into the lined swiss roll tray and gently spread into the corners with a palette knife.
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes until the sponge is light and springy to the touch.
  • When baked allow the sponge to cool slightly in the tin. Whilst it is still warm, flip the sponge out onto another piece of parchment paper dusted with caster sugar. Gently roll the sponge, starting from a shorter edge and set aside whilst you make the filling and ganache.
  • To make the whipped cream filling: Add the cream, brown sugar, ground cinnamon and ginger in a large bowl and whisk until the cream starts to thicken up but is still smooth enough to spread.
  • To make the chocolate ganache: In a separate bowl, break the dark chocolate into small pieces. Gently melt together in a microwave or place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and gradually melt it, stirring until smooth.
  • Add the double cream and butter in a small saucepan, and heat over a low heat until it starts to gently boil. Pour the mixture over the chocolate and leave for 1 minute, before stirring until all the chocolate has melted.
  • Place the ganache to one side to cool down until to becomes thick but spreadable. You can also chill the ganache in the fridge, but be careful that it doesn't get too cold.
  • To assemble the Yule log: Unroll the chocolate sponge and spread the whipped cream all over, leaving a 1cm border around the edge.
  • Use the baking parchment to re-roll the sponge as tightly as possible so you get a good swirl. Place the roll on a plate and set it on the seam.
  • Optional: Cut a 2-inch piece from one end of the Yule log cake and place in the middle of the log to make a branch.
  • Use a offset spatula or palette knife to spread the thickened chocolate ganache all over the rolled sponge, creating a bark effect. Alternatively you can use a fork to give the ganache texture.
  • Dust the Yule log with icing sugar and decorate to finish.

Notes

How many does the Yule log serve?
This recipe will serve between 10 and 12 slices.
How should the Yule log be stored?
Due to the fresh cream filling, the Yule log should be kept chilled in the fridge, covered with cling-film or plastic wrap.
How long does the Yule log keep for?
It is best eaten within 1-3 days if kept chilled.
Can I freeze the Yule Log?
Yes you can. You can either freeze the completed Yule log or the baked and rolled chocolate sponge, for up to 1 month. Make sure you wrap well with cling-film or plastic wrap before freezing and defrost thoroughly before serving or assembling the Yule log.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 226kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 4gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 88mgSodium: 47mgPotassium: 132mgFiber: 2gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 438IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 33mgIron: 2mg

DISCLAIMER

The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.

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Hi I’m Lou

… Dessert obsessed baker, busy 9-to-5er, and the recipe developer and photographer behind Crumbs and Corkscrews. Based in the UK, I live in the beautiful Cotswolds. I’m so glad to have you here with me and I can’t wait for you to start trying some of my recipes.

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