Buche de Noel

Literally translated, the name of this recipe means "yule log." This traditional French Christmas cake is shaped and decorated to resemble a wooden log and often garnished with meringue "mushrooms" or "moss" made from chopped pistachio nuts. It may look impressive but making a roulade or jelly roll is easy if you follow the steps. Sprinkle or sift powdered sugar in a 15- x 10-inch rectangle on a clean linen towel. You want the sugar rectangle to be as big, if not a touch bigger, than the baking pan. As soon as you take the cake out of the oven (rolling the cake right out of the oven prevents it from cracking or breaking) turn it out onto the sugar-coated towel, then peel the wax paper from cake. Trim any crisp cake edges, if needed. Beginning with the short end, carefully roll up cake and towel together. Let it cool completely on a wire rack, seam side down. Once cooled, unroll the cake and remove towel. Brush the cake with the mixture of hot coffee and sugar; this helps moisten the crumb and brighten the chocolate coffee flavor profile of the cake. If a tall layer cake has always been your go-to dessert for holiday meals, this year try your hand at this festive roulade.

Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 35 mins
8 to 10 servings


  • Cooking spray

  • 4 large eggs

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon + a pinch table salt, divided

  • 3/4 cup + 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 3 tablespoons + 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (sifted), divided

  • 1/2 cup hot strong brewed coffee

  • 2 cups sweetened whipped cream

  • 1/3 cup boiling water

  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules

  • 3 (1-oz.) unsweetened chocolate squares, chopped

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter

  • Candied cherries


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 15- x 10- x 1-inch jellyroll pan with cooking spray; line with wax paper, and coat with cooking spray. Beat eggs, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt with a hand mixer on medium-high speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Gradually add 3/4 cup of the granulated sugar, beating until thick and light colored, about 4 minutes. Fold in flour, cocoa, and vanilla. Spread batter evenly into prepared jellyroll pan. Bake in preheated oven until cake surface springs back when gently pressed, about 12 minutes.

  2. Sift 3 tablespoons of the powdered sugar in a 15- x 10-inch rectangle on a clean linen towel. Turn cake out onto sugar-coated towel; remove wax paper from cake. Trim crisp cake edges, if needed. Starting with the short end, carefully roll up cake and towel together, jellyroll style. Let cool completely on a wire rack, seam side down, about 1 hour.

  3. Unroll cake; remove towel. Stir together hot brewed coffee and remaining 3 tablespoons granulated sugar in a small bowl until dissolved; brush mixture over cake. Spread with whipped cream, and reroll (without towel). Chill 30 minutes.

  4. Stir together boiling water and instant coffee granules in a small heatproof bowl until dissolved. Melt chopped chocolate in the top of a double boiler; stir in butter, dissolved instant coffee mixture, and remaining pinch of salt until smooth. Remove from heat, and let cool until lukewarm, about 30 minutes. Stir in remaining 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar until a smooth, spreadable consistency is reached.

  5. Spread chocolate frosting evenly over chilled cake. Score frosting with a spatula or fork tines to resemble bark of a tree. Garnish cake with candied cherries. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days before serving.

    Buche De Noel
    Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Ana Kelly Prop Stylist: Kay Clarke
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