Buche De Noel - The Bend Magazine

Buche De Noel

Create a show stopping dessert for your Christmas table!

Words by: Justin & Kayla Butts  Photos by: Rachel Benavides

If you are a fan of The Great British Baking Show, you know all about the piercing blue eyes of Paul Hollywood, the regal elegance of Mary Berry, and the unbelievable show stopping desserts that seem impossible to prepare at home. This Christmas, create a television-worthy showstopper right in your own kitchen!

Buche de Noel, or yule log cake, is a classic French dessert. In ancient times in France, a specially prepared yule log was ceremoniously burned in the hearth on the winter solstice. The ashes from this log were said to have medicinal properties. French chefs transformed the idea of a magical yule log into a culinary work of art, the Buche de Noel.

Buche de Noel covers all the elements of French dessert baking. You will prepare, from scratch, a sponge, meringue, filling, ganache, syrup, and gorgeous piped decorations. This sophisticated cake is actually quite simple once broken down into its component steps. Follow the numbers and you will quickly assemble an unforgettable dessert for your Christmas table, pot luck, or office party.   

The biggest challenge in a Buche de Noel is rolling the sponge; in fact, you must roll it twice.  But this flourless sponge is quite moist and malleable compared to a typical cake sponge and easy to work. Make sure to roll the sponge tightly the second time around with the mascarpone cream filling to give the center its signature tight spiral layers.

The greatest fun of this cake is piping the marzipan mushrooms and fungi. These delicious garnishes would make an amazing dessert all on their own. Be careful when applying the chocolate bark, or you may eat the entire batch during the application—it really is that good.  

For that matter, hide this cake well until the big reveal or it will disappear faster than a magical yule log in the fire.   

This Christmas, channel your inner Julia Child and bake like a celebrity chef. You can’t buy a homemade Buche de Noel at the grocery store. There is no imitation, no shortcut to this classic French dessert.  



Buche de Noel

Serves 8-10

Prep time: 1 hour

Cook time: 1 hour


Non-stick spray

6 large eggs, separated

¾ cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup cocoa powder (preferably Dutch pressed)

¼ tsp salt

Chocolate Syrup:

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

2/3 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Chocolate Ganache:

6-8 ounces bittersweet chocolate

½ cup heavy whipping cream

Mascarpone Filling:

8 oz mascarpone

1 cup heavy whipping cream

¼ cup confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Meringue Mushrooms and Fungi:

3 egg whites (about ½ cup)

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract



Preheat oven to 400°F. With a stand or handheld mixer, beat egg whites and salt together until stiff peaks are formed. Clean mixer and bowl. Beat egg yolks and sugar until batter forms a ribbon as it falls off the beater. Mix in sifted cocoa powder and vanilla.

Stir a large spoonful of meringue into the yolk mixture. Fold resulting yolk mixture into the meringue until well incorporated. Pour batter into a 9”x13” cake pan lined with parchment paper that has been greased with non-stick baking spray.

Bake for 12-16 minutes, until cake is fully set. While cake is still warm, invert it onto a clean dish towel coated with a thin layer of confectioner’s sugar. Using the towel, roll the cake up like a swiss roll and leave to cool.

Mascarpone Filling:

In a standing mixer, beat mascarpone and sugar until creamy. Set mascarpone mixture aside. Beat whipping cream and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Fold whipping cream into mascarpone and refrigerate until ready to use.

Chocolate Syrup:

In a medium-sized sauce pan, cook water, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla over medium heat. Stirring mixture constantly, heat mixture for about 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.

Chocolate Ganache:

Set up a double boiler and heat the water to a simmer. Finely chop the chocolate. Add the chocolate and cream to the top of the double boiler and cook, stirring constantly, until melted. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.

Meringue Mushrooms and Fungi:

Preheat oven to 200°F. In a standing mixer beat eggs, sugar, and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Fill a pipette bag or a plastic storage bag with the end cut off with meringue. Pipette meringue disks, pulling the tip off to the side to prevent having a pointy top to your mushroom, onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pipette small dollops, about ½”-3/4” in diameter, and pull bag straight up to finish. Stems should have a conical shape. For fungi, pipette a small circle and spread it out using a spatula until it’s about 1/8” thick. Dust mushroom tops and fungi with cocoa powder.

Bake meringue for about an hour and a half, until dry. To assemble mushrooms, apply a small amount of ganache to the top of the stem, and use it to adhere the top.

To Assemble:

Unroll cooled sponge and brush on syrup. Dollop filling in the center of the sponge, and spread outward until the surface is covered with a 1/2” cream. Roll the cake in the same direction as it was when it was cooling and place it, seam side down, onto serving tray. Cover sponge with ganache, and if desired, finish with chocolate “bark”. Decorate with meringue mushrooms and fungi. Dust cake with confectioner’s sugar and store in a cool place until ready to serve.