Christmas & HolidayDessertProvencal RecipesTasteVirginie Van Der Wees

Bûche de Noël: A French Christmas Recipe

History of the Bûche de Noël

The log is generally eaten on December 24, during the Christmas meal. The cake was born around 1870. Several pastry chefs are fighting over paternity. But it seems they had the idea at the same time for a cake roll that looks like a log. Previously, Christmas desserts were very rich in ingredients, such as mince pies or pudding in the UK, stollen in Germany or panettone in Italy. But beware, the star Christmas dessert has its own history, spanning over several millennia.

La bûche est généralement dégustée le 24 décembre, lors du repas de Noël. Le gâteau est né vers 1870. Plusieurs pâtissiers se disputent la paternité. Mais il semblerait qu’ils aient eu l’idée en même temps d’un roulé qui ressemble à une bûche. Auparavant, les desserts de Noël étaient très riches en ingrédients, comme les mince pies ou le pudding au Royaume-Uni, le stollen en Allemagne ou le panettone en Italie. Mais attention, le dessert star de Noël a sa propre histoire, longue de plusieurs millénaires.

Why a Yule Log?

The origin is linked to the winter solstice. For the longest night of the year, a huge log was being burned. The log was carried by the eldest and youngest of the family. There was quite a ceremony. The log could burn from Christmas Eve only or until Epiphany depending on the region. Below I share the Yule log (Bûche de Noël) recipe that I make every year for Christmas.

We wish you a very happy Christmas, hoping to see you again or meet you soon.

Discover more about Christmas Traditions in Provence.

Nous vous souhaitons de très belles fêtes de Noël, en espérant vous revoir ou vous rencontrer bientôt.

Making Bûche de Noël

Bûche de Noël (Yule Log)

blankVirginie Van Der Wees
This delicious and festive cake is a perfect end to any holiday celebration. Whether you're gathering with friends or enjoying a quiet evening with loved ones, a slice of this decadent cake is sure to get you in the warm Christmas spirit.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 6 people


For the Cake

  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup Flour
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Sugar

For the Cream

  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 3 Egg Yolks
  • ¾ cup Dark Chocolate
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 0.07 oz Coffee Extract
  • 1 cup Soft Butter


To Bake the Cake:

  • Separate the whites and yolks of 4 eggs.
  • Beat the egg whites with a mixer.
  • Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F)
  • Mix 4 egg yolks with the sugar and vanilla sugar. When the mixture is creamy, add a whole egg.
  • Mix for a few minutes with a spatula or food processor, and gradually add the flour to the mixture.
  • Lightly add the egg whites.
  • Put a baking paper, lightly buttered, on a rectangular plate, and roll out the dough evenly.
  • Put on a baking sheet in the oven and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Take the cake out of the oven and turn it over on a cold surface without removing the foil, and cover it with a cloth softened by the steam (it will be easier to roll).

To Make the Buttercream:

  • Melt the sugar in the water over low heat to obtain a thick syrup.
  • Slowly pour the hot syrup over the egg yolks, stirring constantly with a whisk, until completely cool.
  • Add the softened butter and mix to obtain a smooth cream.
  • Divide the preparation in half, flavour one half with coffee extract, and the other half with chocolate melted over a little water.

To Assemble the Log:

  • Remove the baking paper from the cake.
  • Spread with the coffee cream, and roll everything lengthwise.
    Making Bûche de Noël
  • Equalize the ends. The dough, which will remain, will be used to make "knots" for the log decoration.
  • Cover the log with chocolate cream, add the "knots" for the log decoration, and mimic the bark using a fork gently pulled lengthwise. Decorate as you wish.
  • Bon appéitit!


French Lesson Notes:
To beat = monter
Preheat = préchauffer
To mix = mélanger
Keyword Cakes, Chocolate, Christmas Recipe
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Virginie Van Der Wees

Virginie Van Der Wees

Virginie Van Der Wees lives with her young family near the Montagne Sainte Victoire, a short 20-minute drive from Aix-En-Provence. She is a masseuse and a certified French teacher for non-French speakers. Since 2018, Virginie puts together full immersion experiences that include hosting and supporting language learners at their family home.

The Virginie in Provence curriculum allows students to build on their knowledge and move to the next level and beyond – all while enjoying the wonders that Provence has to offer. Suitable for any age group, Virginie offers adapted, tailor-made solutions for clients who are moving to Provence. This program allows them to improve their French and overcome cultural changes. Virginie also provides classic French lessons and cooking lessons (in French) online or at the client’s home.

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