Triple Chocolate Bûche de Noël

Triple Chocolate Bûche de Noël

The Bûche de Noël (that’s yule log to you and me) is a classic holiday rolled cake that is decorated to look like a log or branch. This cake is far simpler than the traditional French génoise-and-ganache Bûche de Noël. It features a moist, airy chocolate cake with a light chocolate cream cheese filling inside and a darker chocolate cream cheese icing outside. Perfect even for a novice baker, this cake looks very impressive, but it’s actually easier than making a plain old layer cake! Our step-by-step instructions and photos make this cake a breeze!

The real fun is in the decorating. I skipped the traditional (read: fussy) meringue mushrooms and made up some fun chocolate “bark” and lemon leaf and sour candy “holly.” It looks terrific and it’s a snap (try it on any chocolate cake!). Use my suggestions, or come up with your own fun ideas.


2/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
5 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened baking chocolate
2 tbsp. brewed coffee
2 tbsp. Kahlua
2 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. baking soda


1/2 of an 8-oz. block of cream cheese, softened
2 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1-oz square baking chocolate

optional: 1/2 - 1 cup chopped pecans


1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 of an 8-oz. block of cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup chocolate chips
1 tbsp. Kahlua

Bark and Holly:

1 large (3 - 3.5 oz) chocolate bar, milk, semisweet, or dark, plain or with nuts or flavoring (I used dark chocolate)
1 tsp. butter
sugar, chopped nuts, or sliced almonds, for texture (optional)
3 fresh lemon, lime or other leathery edible leaves lll
3 small red candies (red hots, sour cherry, gumdrop, etc.)

Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly spray a 10x15 inch jelly roll pan. Line
with parchment paper. Sift flour with baking powder and salt and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs on high for 5 minutes. They’ll be very
pale and foamy. Gradually add in the sugar and beat another 2 minutes.
Gently but thoroughly fold in the flour mixture.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave (see sidebar). In
a small bowl, combine the coffee, the Kahlua, the 2 tablespoons of sugar and
the baking soda. Gradually stir into the melted chocolate, blending until
smooth. Quickly but completely fold chocolate mixture into batter.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake a for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a
toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, lightly sift an even layer of confectioners sugar
over a clean, flat-weave dish towel (not terry cloth). Flip the cake out of
its pan onto the prepared cloth as soon as it comes from the oven. Carefully
peel away parchment paper. Dust top of cake with confectioners sugar, then
trim away crisp edges with a sharp knife. Gobble them up now or save for

Starting with one of the short sides of the cake, immediately roll the cake
up in the cloth, jellyroll style, and cool thoroughly on a rack.

Make the filling: Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave.
Set aside. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter,
and vanilla. Beat until fluffy. Reserve 1/4 cup of the icing for the “cut”
parts of the log. Beat in the melted chocolate.

Unroll the cake and spread the filling evenly over the surface. If you’re
using pecans, sprinkle them evenly over the filling. Roll the cake back up
and cool for an hour or so.

Decorating the cake:

Make the frosting: Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler or the
microwave. Set aside. Beat cream cheese with powdered sugar until smooth,
then blend in the Kahlua and the melted chocolate.

Make the bark: Cover a cookie sheet with plastic wrap. Break up and melt
candy bar, mix in 1 tsp. of butter and powdered sugar if you wish, then
spread on plastic wrap and freeze while cake is cooling.

Frost the log: Cut a diagonal chunk off of one end of the cake to make into
a branch (see photo below) and set aside. Frost log, leaving ends unfrosted.
Stick the cut side of the chunk of cake onto the frosted log to form a cut
“branch.” It can go anywhere you want it to. Frost the sides of the branch,
leaving the flat end unfrosted for now. Save a spoonful or two for “rings”
of cut end.

If you like, you can cut a chunk off either end and make two “branches.”

Use the reserved filling, as-is, or with a spoonful of dark frosting added
for color, to frost the three ends of the cake. If you’d like, make “rings”
on the cut ends to mimic the look of a real log. I wanted to avoid any
specialty tools, so I simply used a chopstick. You could use the tip of a
knife, or a fork drawn around in concentric circles, whatever you like. If
you have cake-decorating supplies, pipe in the circles for a more polished

The finishing touches: Take the chocolate sheet out of the freezer and peel
off the plastic wrap, breaking off irregular pieces of “bark” and layering
them casually around the sides of the log. You’ll need to work quickly to
keep the chocolate from melting in your hands, but that’s actually good,
because you don’t want it to look too tidy.

To make the holly, snip semicircles out of the sides of the lemon leaves to
make them look like holly leaves. Stick them into the cake, and place 3 sour
cherry candies in the center of the cluster for holly berries.

If you like, sift powdered sugar around the plate or the log itself for a
snowy look.

Out of the Frying Pan! Recipes: Triple Chocolate Buche de Noel (Yule Log)