Festive Yule Log

If you haven’t made a Yule Log before, this is the version to try. It’s made with a chocolate sponge cake, mocha whipped cream filling and chocolate cream cheese icing and is beautifully delicious.


Yule Log


  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp cocoa
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tsp instant coffee
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 lb (2 x 250g packages) regular cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 3 squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 4 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • This icing recipe will make more than you need, but it freezes beautifully, so you can keep it on hand for cupcakes or icing emergencies.


  1. Turn oven to 375F. Prepare a 13 x 18 inch jelly roll pan/baking sheet by spraying the pan with cooking spray, lining it with a sheet of baker's parchment paper, and then spraying the parchment paper. Set pan aside.
  2. Sift together the dry ingredients, then stir until well-blended. Set aside.
  3. Place eggs and sugar in bowl and place over a pot of simmering water. Whisk mixture constantly until sugar is dissolved and mixture is very warm to the touch. Remove from heat. Using hand mixer, mix on high speed until mixture has tripled in volume, and is thick and pale yellow. The mixture should fall from the beater in a ribbon.
  4. Gently, but quickly, fold one half of dry ingredients into liquid mixture using a spatula. Fold by starting in the centre of the mix, bringing the spatula down to the bottom of the bowl, across the bottom of the bowl, to the side and up the side of the bowl. Turn your bowl about two inches and repeat the motion. Keep turning and folding until almost all of the flour mix is absorbed. Repeat with last half of dry ingredients.
  5. Pour the batter into prepared pan and gently smooth the top with a spatula until it is even. Place in hot oven and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate pan and then bake for another 3-5 minutes. The cake is done when the batter is no longer shiny, the centre of the cake springs back after you touch it, and the sides are beginning to pull away from the pan. Don't wait until all of the sides have completely pulled away because your cake will be overdone.
  6. Cool cake in pan until it reaches room temperature, then place in freezer for two hours. (This will make it easier to handle later.) If you are making the yule log the same day, you don't need to cover it. However, if you are preparing the cake a day or two ahead, cover the cake and the pan with two layers of plastic wrap to keep it from drying out.
  7. Remove the frozen cake from the freezer. Run a knife around the edges of the cake to loosen it. Flip the cake onto a clean surface, peel the parchment off and then replace it loosely. Re-flip the cake carefully so it is sitting on top of the parchment. Make the filling while your cake is coming to room temperature.
  9. Dissolve the coffee in the vanilla and stir to get rid of all lumps. Place cold whipping cream in large bowl. (Cream doubles in size when you whip it.) Sift the cocoa into the cream and add the icing sugar and coffee mixture. With mixer on high, beat until mixture begins to hold its shape. The cream should be thick and cloud-like. Using a spoon, give the mixture a few turns by hand to make sure all of the dry ingredients have been mixed in. The mixture should be at spreading consistency.
  10. Spread the filling over the room temperature sponge cake and begin to roll lengthwise.
  11. Use the parchment to help you start the rolling process. Continue until entire cake is rolled. Make sure the seam is on the underside of the roll.
  12. Cover the roll with the parchment while you make the icing. If you're not icing the log the same day, cover it in plastic wrap and store in the fridge. Note: If the cake cracks as you roll it, it is not the end of the world! It is going to be covered in icing, so no one will know!
  14. Melt chocolate and butter in a bowl over simmering hot water, stirring occasionally. Give mixture a brief whisk to remove any lumps and ensure it is well-blended. Set aside.
  15. Place cream cheese and icing sugar in bowl. Slowly blend in sugar, then mix on medium speed for a minute. Scrape down bowl and beaters with a rubber spatula and mix again for two to three minutes until smooth. Slowly incorporate warm chocolate mixture, bringing beaters up to medium/high for a minute or two. Scrape down again, then mix until smooth.
  16. It's now time to assemble your Yule Log.
  18. On the diagonal, cut a three to four inch piece off the end of the roll.
  19. Place it beside or on top of the log to simulate a cut branch.
  20. Ice the log with the chocolate cream cheese icing. Drag a fork through the icing to make a "bark-like" pattern.
  21. Decorate with mushrooms, berries, holly, and pine cones made from fondant or marzipan (see below).
  22. Dust the entire log with icing sugar to look like snow and you're done! Serve the yule log immediately or put it in the fridge until needed. If chilled, allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
  23. Yule Log Decorations
  24. Mushrooms are a traditional decoration for the Yule Log, and they’re very easy to make. I used white chocolate rolled fondant purchased from a bulk store. Fondant is also available in seasonal colours and can be used for making holly leaves and berries. Just don’t use real holly, which is toxic. Marzipan (or almond paste) can also be used for these recipes. Your mushrooms will be slightly yellow. (see Note for decorations instructions)


Mushrooms- To make mushrooms, roll the fondant/marzipan into balls of various sizes. Cut the balls in half. Slightly flatten one half of the balls to make the tops of your mushrooms. To make the stems, roll the other half of the balls into small logs. Taper one end and stand them on the other end, pressing down a little to widen the base of your mushroom. Place the mushroom bases around and on top of the log. Dust the mushroom tops with cocoa, and place the caps on the stems. Use some of your leftover icing or a bit of water to stick them together.

Holly berries- If you can’t find seasonally-coloured fondant, you can use food colouring to dye it or the marzipan (depending on what you are working with.) For berries, just add some red food colouring to the fondant or marzipan until you achieve the colour you want. (To make this job less messy, put the fondant/marzipan into a plastic Ziplock bag, add a few drops of food colouring, seal the bag and knead inside the bag until the colour is blended.) Roll the berries into tiny balls.

Holly leaves- Add green food colouring to the fondant/marzipan and roll to 1?4 in thickness. Cut out leaf shapes or use small leaf cookie cutter. To create the veins on the leaves, use the dull side of the knife to score the pattern.

Pinecones- Knead cocoa into the fondant/marzipan until you’ve achieved the colour you want. Roll into cone shape. Begin to make small cuts in a circle starting at the top of the cone. Pull the scissors down slightly as you do this to resemble the open scales on the pine con


Read The History of the Yule Log

Author: Jennifer Arnold

Jennifer Arnold is the pastry chef and owner of The Sweet Kitchen in Lindsay. You can reach her by email at The_Sweet_Kitchen@yahoo.ca.

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