Cakes & CookiesChristmas & HolidayDessertProvencal RecipesTasha PowellTaste

How to Make a Bûche de Noël (Yule Log)

One of the Christmas traditions in Provence is called Cacho-Fio or Light the Fire. In Provence, Christmas evening begins with this ancient pagan custom. Cacho-fio is a ritual for lighting the Yule log (calendau, in Provencal) on the evening of December 24th. Together the youngest and the oldest of the family carry a fruit log. They circle the table, covered with three tablecloths, three times while holding the log. The log is then drizzled three times with cooked wine and blessed with words that change from one family to another. Then the log is lit and it must burn for three days and three nights. Read more about Provencal holiday traditions here.

The Cacho-fio log you can’t eat, but this one you can. The following recipe for a French Yule Log – Bûche de Noël – is a traditional holiday dessert. I made my version for a December online cooking class “Add Sparkle, Shimmer, Silver and Gold to Your Culinary Presentations.” My co-host in creating culinary magic was Lynn Neuberg of Easy Leaf Products.

Bûche de Noël French Yule Log

Bûche de Noël (Yule Log) Cake

Tasha Powell
Bûche de Noël (Yule Log) is a thin layer of sponge cake rolled with a creamy mocha filling and covered with chocolate frosting. The Yule log is traditionally French but is popular throughout Europe, Canada, and the United States. Use this beautiful cake as the centrepiece for your table. Display it on a gold tray along with pine cones, pine branches and red ribbon.
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 12 people




  • Unsalted Butter for greasing
  • 5 eggs separated
  • 1 cup Sugar divided
  • 2 tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 cup Cake Flour
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar


  • 2 cups heavy cream (35%)
  • 1 cup Confectioners Sugar
  • 2 tsp Instant Coffee


  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter softened
  • 1/2 cup Baking Cocoa
  • 2 1/2 cups Confectioners Sugar
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 1/2 tbsp milk


  • 2 Egg Whites large, at room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1/2 cup Bakers Sugar
  • 1 tsp Cocoa Powder


  • Meringue Mushrooms
  • Chocolate Shavings or Curls optional
  • powdered sugar optional



  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Line a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-inch baking pan with greased parchment paper.
  • Lay a clean kitchen towel flat on a work surface. Dust with powdered sugar and set aside.
  • Place egg whites in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Place egg yolks in a large bowl and beat with a stand mixer until fluffy and lighter in colour, about 3 minutes. Gradually add half the sugar and beat until thick and even lighter in colour, about 5 minutes. Gradually add flour, cocoa and salt, beating until well blended. Set this batter aside.
  • Beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle in remaining sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating on high until stiff peaks form.
  • Transfer a quarter of the egg white mixture into the batter, stirring to just combine. Gently fold in remaining egg whites until no light streaks remain.
  • Spread batter evenly (using an offset spatula) in the prepared pan. Bake for about 15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center (do not over bake or cake will crack when you roll it).
  • Remove from the heat and let cool on a rack for 3 minutes. Run a small knife along all four sides to loosen. Invert onto a prepared kitchen towel. Peel off the parchment paper and loosely roll the cake up in a towel, beginning with a short side. Set aside to cool.


  • Place the cream in a large bowl and beat with a mixer until it begins to thicken.
  • Add sugar and coffee granulates and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
  • Cover and chill until ready to use.


  • Place all frosting ingredients in a large bowl and beat with mixer until smooth.
  • Cover until ready to use.


  • When the cake is completely cool, carefully unroll and spread inside with filling to within ½-inch of edges. Re-roll.
  • Spread outside of the cake with a thin layer of frosting. Freeze until frosting is very firm to the touch.* 
  • Spread the cake with the remaining frosting. 
  • Using a serrated knife, cut a thin slice off either end of the cake so show the beautiful layers inside. 
  • Use a fork to make shallow squiggly lines down the length of the cake.
  • Scatter the chocolate shavings or curls over the cake (optional).
  • Place on serving platter and chill until ready to serve.
  • Just before serving, decorate with meringue mushrooms. Sift a little powdered sugar (optional), cocoa powder, and Easy Leaf Gold sprinkles over the top of each mushroom.


  • Preheat oven to 200°F (95°C).
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Fit a pastry bag with a large plain round pastry tip. Set aside.
  • Place egg white in a medium bowl and beat with a mixer at medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar. Increase speed to high and beat until mixture is very stiff and glossy.
  • Place mixture in a prepared piping bag.
  • To make mushroom caps, pipe half of the mixture onto a prepared baking sheet into flattened balls between ½- and 1½-inches across. A variety of sizes looks best. Run a dampened finger across the tops to smooth.
  • To make mushroom stems, pipe meringue into a cone shape, with the bottom wider than the top. Make stems between 1 and 2 inches high, some a bit more, some a bit less. Reserve any leftover meringue.
  • Bake for about 1 hour or until very firm to the touch. Remove from heat.
  • Carefully remove caps from parchment paper. Using a small knife, puncture the bottom of each mushroom cap. Dab a bit of leftover meringue inside the cap (this will work as glue). Press the small end of stems into caps. Return to the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Dust the mushroom tops with cocoa powder and store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 2 weeks.


*NOTE: At this point, the cake can be wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 2 weeks. The remaining frosting can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Let frosting come to room temperature then beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
**NOTE: These mushrooms can be made up to 2 weeks in advance if stored in an airtight container. The more you make the easier it gets to create these lovely little treats. Wait for a dry day to make these as humidity can cause the meringue to soften and weep. This recipe makes 15-20 mushrooms.
Keyword Christmas Recipe, Dessert, French Desserts, Holidays
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Tasha Powell

Tasha Powell is a food stylist and writer who specializes in working with celebrity chefs and leaders in the hospitality industry. She cooks and styles for monographs, cookbooks and Satellite Media Tours, working between North America and Europe. Take a look at her mouthwatering photos on Cooking with a French Twist. Since July 2020, she has offered themed Zoom cooking classes influenced by her travels in France and Morocco. Here are a few:

• Fusion Vegetarian Menu: Cheese Soufflé, Grilled Vegetable Kabobs, Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Lime Crème Fraiche & Floating Islands
• Fall in Provence: Carrot Soup, Seared Duck Breast and Chocolate & Pear Tarte
• 3-Course Gluten-Free Menu: Panisse, Grilled Shrimp & Chocolate Towers with Michelin Star plating techniques
• Food Styling Tips: Apéro Dînatoire, presentation & plating
• 4-Course Gluten-Free Menu: Cauliflower Steaks with Chimichurri Sauce, Zucchini Rollups, Roasted Leek Salad & Chocolate Lava Cakes, Michelin Star plating techniques
• Just Stuffed! Stuffed Aubergines, Tomatoes & Zucchini
• Provençal Cuisine: Baked Ratatouille Tian & Tarte du Soleil
• Add Sparkle, Shimmer, Silver and Gold to Your Culinary Presentations! By Lynn Neuberg of Easy Leaf Products and Chef Tasha Powell

Class listings can be found at Chef Tasha Events

Tasha also arranges culinary tours with Barbara Pitcher in Provence, France, in Marrakech, Morocco, in Sicily, Italy and in Parry Sound, Canada under Pitcher and Powell Cuisine and Culture.

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