This stunning Buche de Noel will be the talk of your holiday desserts. It features a scratch made chocolate sponge cake swirled with a rich chocolate filling then topped with warm chocolate ganache. Serve it garnished with sugared cranberries and sprigs of fresh rosemary for a festive holiday sweet treat.
Easy Buche de Noel Recipe
What is Buche de Noel? This holiday French inspired classic is in essence a cake roll that’s decorated to look like a log. It has several names with yule log being the most common name you may have heard it referred to. Regardless of what it’s called, it all spells delicious. How to make chocolate Buche de Noel:
- Flour – All purpose flour sifted with unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder i.e. Hershey’s Dark, espresso powder, baking powder and salt.
- Eggs – 6 large eggs room temperature, yolks and whites separated.
- Sugar – Granulated sugar.
- Milk – Buttermilk or whole milk at room temperature.
- Fat – Vegetable oil.
- Filling – Salted butter, plain cream cheese, sour cream, pure vanilla extract, almond extract, salt, powdered sugar and unsweetened cocoa powder.
- Frosting – Semi sweet chocolate, heavy cream and light corn syrup.
- Garnishes – Sugared cranberries, plain cranberries and rosemary.
- This recipe is family friendly. If desired, you can add one ounce of Bailey’s or Irish Cream to the filling.
How to Make the BEST Buche de Noel Recipe
- Ingredients you’ll need to make homemade Buche de Noel: To make the sponge cake you’ll need all purpose flour, Dutch process cocoa powder, large eggs, vanilla extract, vegetable oil, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt and instant espresso powder.
- To make the Chocolate Buttercream Filling: Softened butter, softened plain cream cheese, powdered sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, vanilla extract, almond extract, salt and sour cream.
- To make the Chocolate Ganache: 12 ounce semi sweet chocolate, heavy cream and light corn syrup.
- Kitchen tools you’ll need: Stand mixer or hand mixer, measuring cups and spoons, two large bowls, medium bowls and small bowls, small saucepan, 12 x 17 inch rimmed sheet pan, parchment paper, offset spatulas, fork and lint free kitchen towel.
- Rolling the cake in a powder sugar coated kitchen towel makes the process much easier. Make sure it’s a clean lint free towel.
- Make a point not to over bake the cake. An over-baked cake will be dry and may crack more easily as it rolls. This is a thin chocolate cake and it bakes quickly.
Roll your cake while it’s still warm; Warm cakes are more pliable and less likely to crack. Let it cool just for a few minutes and then invert it onto the kitchen towel. The towel will protect your hands while rolling during the first roll, and will help to get a tighter swirl.
Decoration options: This cake is made to represent a tree log, but you can decorate it to suit your fancy. You can flavor the filling using a variety of extracts or fill the cake with a fluffy spiked whipped cream. You can omit the cranberries and use fresh whipped cream and maraschino cherries. I like to garnish with sugared cranberries and rosemary. You may also enjoy making your own chocolate curls or simply dust with powdered sugar to resemble a light dusting of snow.
Can I make this ahead of time? Yes, you can! This cake can be made 3-4 days ahead of time and stored thoroughly chilled in the fridge. Add the decorations just before serving.
Wrap frosted Buche De Noel in in freezer wrap and heavy duty aluminum foil and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Wait to decorate after thawing in the refrigerator overnight.
More Christmas Dessert Recipes to Make
- Fresh cranberries and toasted walnuts are a seasonal spin of these Cranberry Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies.
- If you’re not a baker serve this Christmas Dessert Board.
- This Cranberry Pretzel Salad can be enjoyed as a side dish or a dessert.
- The family will flip for my Italian Cream Cake recipe.
- This Cranberry Orange Butter Cake is drizzled with a creamy vanilla glaze.
- Chocolate Eggnog Pie is chocolate lovers delight.
- Start your morning with these Cranberry Orange Sour Cream Scones.
- Gingerbread Cupcakes will thrill kids of all ages.
- Single layer Christmas Cranberry Cake is so rich it doesn’t need frosting.
- Peppermint Bark from The Pioneer Woman.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Buche de Noel
- Sugared Cranberries:
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 2 cups granulated sugar divided use
- 1 cup water
- Sponge Cake:
- 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder i.e. Hershey's Dark
- 1 tsp espresso powder
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 6 large eggs room temperature, yolks and whites separated
- 1 cup granulated sugar divided use
- 1/2 cup buttermilk or whole milk room temperature
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup salted butter softened
- 4 oz plain cream cheese softened
- 2 Tbsp sour cream
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 cups powdered sugar additional to taste
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 8 oz semi sweet chocolate
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 Tbsp light corn syrup
- fresh rosemary sprigs for decorating and powdered sugar for dusting
- To make the Sugared Cranberries: In a small saucepan over medium high heat bring 1 cup sugar and water to a boil, mixing until the sugar has completely dissolved, simmer for 3-5 minutes. Add cranberries, remove from heat. Let cranberries soak in the syrup for 1 hour or until the syrup has completely cooled. Once cooled, drain. Transfer to a cooling rack fitted into a sheet pan to catch drippings. Let dry for 20-30 minutes. In batches, toss cranberries with the reserved 1 cup sugar. Spread onto a parchment paper lined sheet pan and let dry completely.
- To make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 12 x 17 inch rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper. Spray parchment and sides with baking spray. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl use a whisk to sift together flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder and salt.
- In a separate large bowl use an electric mixer to beat the egg yolks, buttermilk and vegetable oil on medium speed for 3-5 minutes or until thickened. Gradually add ½ cup sugar beating until pale yellow in color. Gradually beat in the sifted flour mixture just until combined.
- In another clean large bowl using clean beaters, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add remaining 1/2 cup sugar one-two tablespoons at a time beating until stiff peaks form. Lower the speed of the mixer and gently beat 1 cup of whipped egg whites into the batter then fold the remaining egg whites into batter by hand.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and spread in an even layer. Bake in preheated oven until top springs back when lightly pressed, around 10-12 minutes.
- Dust a clean lint free kitchen towel with powdered sugar. Invert warm cake onto towel. Peel off parchment paper.
- While the cake is still warm, start at the short end and use the towel to tightly roll cake into a log adding more powdered sugar as needed to prevent sticking. Let cool completely at room temperature. (This will help prevent cracks.)
- To Make the Filling: In a large bowl use an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment to beat together butter, cream cheese, sour cream, vanilla and almond extracts with salt on medium high speed. In a medium bowl whisk together powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Lower the speed of the mixer and gradually add the sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture. Once all is added, increase the speed of the mixer and beat until fluffy and fully combined, around 2 minutes.
- To Assemble Cake: When cake has cooled to room temperature unroll and spread the chocolate filling evenly over cake leaving a 1/2 inch border using an offset icing spatula. Roll cake back into a log, using the towel to help create a tight roll. Place seam side down on a baking sheet and refrigerate until well chilled, 1 hour. (Reserve 3-4 Tbsp of filling to secure the cut piece below)
- Once chilled, trim ends. Cut one piece around 3 inches long at a 45°F angle. Attach it to the side of the cake, securing with reserved filling.
- To Make Frosting: Place chocolate in a heat proof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat together heavy cream and corn syrup over medium heat until it's steamy and almost boils. Remove from stovetop and immediately pour over the chocolate. Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir until completely smooth.
- Frost the cake with chocolate ganache, pouring slowly over the log, repeating until all is used. Chill for 15 minutes or just until set then use a knife or the tines of a fork to make a bark design.
- Chill cake for 4 hours to allow filling to set.
- Serve dusted lightly with powdered sugar and decorate with sugared cranberries and sprigs of rosemary.