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Holiday Yule Log Cake (Bûche de Noël)

Holiday Yule log Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

If you’re in the holiday spirit and want to bake a cake that reflects that, I’ve got a fun one for you! Best of all, this traditional Yule log cake starts with a simple cake mix.

A little backstory: I’ve been “fixin’ to” bake this Yule log cake for over two months. No kidding. In September, while teaching at a national writing conference, I told my class that I planned to make this cake when I got home, to add to my blog.

Only, I didn’t.

Are Yule Log Cakes Complicated?

Holiday Yule log Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

I felt sure they were, which is why I hesitated. I watched videos, pored over recipes, and fretted. A lot. The whole process just seemed intimidating.

Most all of those cakes started with a “from scratch” recipe and some of them didn’t include much (if any) flour. They were more meringue-like.

I’m wasn’t about all of that. I wanted an actual cake, one I would be proud to take to an event. So, I decided to completely simplify the process with a box of Duncan Hines Devil’s Food Cake mix.

Can I Really Make a Yule log Cake from a Boxed Cake Mix?

That was the question on my mind this evening as I pondered this cake.

This is “Out of the Box Baking,” after all. On this blog I do my best to incorporate easy cake mix recipes that any home baker can try. And let’s face it. . .starting with a boxed mix simplifies the process.

I knew that a doctored cake mix was worth a try, and I set out to do it in the most logical way possible–by creating a true sponge cake.

One thing I noticed from all of the “from scratch” recipes–many of them called for whipped egg whites. So, I decided to go that route with my boxed cake mix. I would fold in fluffy egg whites to make the cake more spongy and pliable.

That’s exactly what this cake called for–flexibility!

Is this Cake a Swiss Cake Roll?

Holiday Yule log Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Thanks for asking! Yes, this cylinder-shaped cake is also known as a Swiss Cake Roll. (You’ve probably seen the smaller version at the grocery store on the Little Debby aisle.)

Swiss Cake rolls became famous in the 19th century in France. They’re traditionally genoise (or sponge) cakes. As I mentioned above, spongy cakes are more flexible and that’s important when you’re rolling a cake into a cylinder!

Christmas Yule Log Cake Ingredients

This is a super simple one, y’all. You’ll find the full printable recipe card at the bottom of this post but here’s a quick peek at what you’ll need:

FOR THE CAKE:

Holiday Yule log Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com
  • chocolate cake mix
  • water
  • vegetable oil
  • egg whites, whipped until frothy

FOR THE FILLING

Holiday Yule log Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com
  • heavy whipping cream
  • instant vanilla pudding

FOR THE FROSTING

Holiday Yule log Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com
  • chocolate chips, melted
  • milk or heavy cream
  • room temperature butter
  • powdered sugar

That’s it! Simple stuff, right?

How to Make a Christmas Yule Log Cake

This came together easily but I did have to work in steps. You’ll want to preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit in advance and prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper.

STEP ONE: Make the Cake

In a large bowl combine the cake mix, water, and oil. Mix well with a whisk or large wooden spoon. (There’s no need to use a mixer.)

Holiday Yule log Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Place your egg whites In a large mixing bowl and whip until frothy on high speed. You’re looking for stiff peaks here.

Gently fold egg whites into the cake batter.

Holiday Yule log Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

You’ll end up with a foamy-looking (luscious) chocolate batter.

Holiday Yule log Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Pour the batter onto the prepared baking sheet. I used my Nordic Ware half sheet baking sheet (larger cookie sheet.) In retrospect I wish I had made my cake a bit thinner. The answer would be to use most of the batter but not quite all.

Holiday Yule log Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Place cake in preheated oven and bake until it springs back to the touch.

Holiday Yule log Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

I baked mine for 16 minutes but you might go a minute or two less than that. You definitely don’t want your cake to be over-baked or it will crack when you roll it.

Remove your cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 2 – 3 minutes.

Holiday Yule log Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Prepare a dishtowel by sprinkling it with powdered sugar.

Flip warm cake out on the towel.

Remove parchment paper and gently roll cake into a cylinder, (rolling lengthwise), allowing the towel to do the work for you.

(The towel will get rolled up into the cake.)

Holiday Yule log Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Leave the cake out to cool.

STEP TWO: Make the Filling

While the cake is cooling, make your simple filling. This is so easy! Place whipping cream and instant pudding in a medium bowl and whip using the whisk attachment. You don’t want to over mix it. If it’s too thick you can thin it down a bit with a little more cream.

Holiday Yule log Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

When the chocolate sponge cake is completely cooled, gently unroll it. Mine had a few cracks and I think I’ve figured out why.

  • First, I think I over baked minute for a couple of minutes.
  • Second, I put my cake in the fridge to cool down. I should have left it at room temperature.
  • Finally, I didn’t wait until the cake was completely cooled. It was still slightly warm when I handled it. (I didn’t realize this until I went to unroll it. Then I discovered the inside was still warm to the touch.)

Maybe you can learn from my mistakes. At any rate, I placed my filling over the inside of the cake and it covered all of my cracks so I didn’t really fret over it.

Holiday Yule log Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Roll your cake back up and leave it in the dish towel. This is a good time to put it in the fridge.

Holiday Yule log Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

STEP THREE: Make the Frosting

In a small bowl melt chocolate chips and milk. I melted mine in the microwave for a minute and a half in 30-second increments. (I stirred the chocolate every thirty seconds.)

Holiday Yule log Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Place chocolate ganache in a mixer with whisk attachment and mix until it cools down. Add a stick of butter and four cups of powdered sugar. You might need to add a bit more sugar to get the desired consistency.

You’re looking for a fairly traditional frosting consistency so judge accordingly. Set aside until time to decorate. (Let cake cool completely!)

Remove cooled cake from the fridge and unwrap.

Holiday Yule log Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Cover the top of the cake (and sides of the cake) in chocolate frosting.

Holiday Yule log Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

You want this to look like a log so leave texture marks. (Some people make more exaggerated texture marks using a fork. I just let my small offset spatula do the job.)

Don’t forget to cover the end of the cake in frosting and texture it to look like the end of a log!

Holiday Yule log Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

If you like, you can decorate your Yule log cake with holly berries or other decor. I used leftover buttercream from another project but you might choose to go with fondant or even gummy candies to form the berries and leaves.

I saw one video where the baker made meringue mushrooms to add to her cake. That was super cute. You can truly add anything your heart desires!

Slice and enjoy! You’ll love the inside of this cake. It’s just lovely to look at!

Store leftovers in refrigerator in an airtight container (due to the whipped cream filling). It will stay good for 3-4 days.

What to Expect from this Cake

Holiday Yule log Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

First of all, the only problem I ran into was a few cracks. The rolling process was a lot easier than I imagined. And going with the whipped cream filling? Perfection!

You’ll do a better job than I did if you wait for your cake to cool completely before unrolling it. But if you do have a few cracks, don’t fret! All of that whipped cream and chocolate ganache will leave it looking lovely in the end.

I was so happy with my result–inside and out. And can I just say, that whipped cream filling was amazing with the devil’s food cake. I almost wished I’d made the chocolate ganache out of whipping cream as well!

This cake is perfect for the holiday season. I think it would be a great addition to a Christmas Eve party or Christmas Day event.

Variations on this Traditional Christmas Cake

Holiday Yule log Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

It’s not necessary to make a chocolate cake. Your Swiss Cake Roll can be any flavor you like. Here are some fun flavor combinations you might choose:

Vanilla extract: Add a splash to the recipe to give the cake even more flavor.

Lemon/Strawberry: Bake a lemon cake and fill with whipped cream and fresh strawberries (or strawberry preserves). Cover in a Strawberry frosting, tinted brown to look like a lot (or a lemon frosting in a pale yellow to look like a birch tree log).

Cookies and Cream: Make a chocolate cake but add crushed Oreos to the whipped cream in the center of the cake.

Spice cake: This would be delicious during the holidays! Use a spice cake mix and add a bit of cinnamon to the whipped cream. Use a traditional cream cheese frosting (colored in brown) for the exterior. Delicious!

Italian Cream Swiss roll: Make a white cake with whipped cream filling but add toasted coconut and finely chopped pecans before rolling the log up. Decorate in traditional cream cheese frosting.

Red Velvet: Yes, please! Use a red velvet cake mix but roll with whipped cream, mini chocolate chips, and cover in a rich chocolate frosting (or cream cheese frosting colored brown).

Traditional chocolate buttercream: You can make my Dreamy Buttercream and add cocoa powder for a simple buttercream.

The possibilities are endless, y’all!

Questions People are Asking About Swiss Cake Rolls

Are thinner cake better cakes?

In this case, yes. The thinner your cake, the easier to roll it without cracking. As I mentioned above, I wish I’d not filled my pan with all of the batter.

What is the history of the (real) Yule log?

The tradition of burning a Yule log to appease pagan gods started in the 12th century. According to Realtor.com: The tradition of a yule log harks to the 12th century, when revelers would venture into the woods and chop down the biggest log they could find and burn it as an offering to pagan gods in a bid for good health and abundance. Back then, the yule log was steeped in superstition: If it didn’t catch fire on the first attempt, it would bring bad luck. If you didn’t keep the ashes until next year, more bad luck!

Do I have to use whipped cream between the layers?

No, you can use buttercream, preserves, jam, ganache, or anything you like.

Other Christmas favorites from Out of the Box Baking

We’re all about the holidays at Out of the Box! No matter what you’re looking for, we’ve got you covered. I developed a full list of 22 Holiday Desserts perfect for 2022 and beyond! A few of my favorites include:

Grinch Cupcakes: Whether you’re making these with or for the kids, they’re to love them! (Even the adults in your life will get a kick out of these colorful Christmas cupcakes!0

The 12 Bundt Cakes of Christmas: These are easy and fun and perfect for the holidays!

Orange Cranberry Bread Pudding: One of my new favorites. I can’t wait to make this one again!

Easy Pecan Pie Cookies: No need to bake the whole pie! This is a simple, easy recipe to simplify things!

Check out this Luscious Butter Pecan Pound Cake from Julia’s Simple Southern. Doesn’t it look amazing? I can hardly wait to give this recipe a try.

That’s it for this post, friends. Let me know your thoughts about this yummy Yule log cake recipe after you bake it for your guests! It’s going to look perfect on your holiday table.

Christmas Yule log Cake

Christmas Yule log Cake

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

If you're in the holiday spirit and want to bake a cake that reflects that, I've got a fun one for you! Best of all, this traditional Yule log cake starts with a simple cake mix.

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CAKE:
  • * 1 chocolate cake mix
  • * 1 cup water
  • * 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • * 4 egg whites, whipped until frothy
  • FOR THE FILLING
  • * 2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • * 1 small package instant vanilla pudding
  • FOR THE FROSTING
  • * 2 cups chocolate chips, melted
  • * 1 cup milk or heavy cream
  • * 1 stick room temperature butter
  • * 4 cups powdered sugar (more or less)
  • That's it! Simple stuff, right?

Instructions

    How to Make a Christmas Yule Log Cake
    This came together easily but I did have to work in steps. You'll want to preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit in advance and prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper.
    STEP ONE: Make the Cake
    In a large bowl combine the cake mix, water, and oil. Mix well with a whisk or large wooden spoon. (There's no need to use a mixer.)
    Place your egg whites In a large mixing bowl and whip until frothy on high speed. You're looking for stiff peaks here.
    Gently fold egg whites into the cake batter. You'll end up with a foamy-looking (luscious) chocolate batter.
    Pour the batter onto the prepared baking sheet. I used my Nordic Ware half sheet baking sheet (larger cookie sheet.) In retrospect I wish I had made my cake a bit thinner. The answer would be to use most of the batter but not quite all.
    Place cake in preheated oven and bake until it springs back to the touch.
    I baked mine for 16 minutes but you might go a minute or two less than that. You definitely don't want your cake to be over-baked or it will crack when you roll it.
    Remove your cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 2 - 3 minutes.
    Prepare a dishtowel by sprinkling it with powdered sugar.
    Flip warm cake out on the towel.
    Remove parchment paper and gently roll cake into a cylinder, (rolling lengthwise), allowing the towel to do the work for you. (The towel will get rolled up into the cake.)
    Leave the cake out to cool.
    STEP TWO: Make the Filling
    While the cake is cooling, make your simple filling. This is so easy! Place whipping cream and instant pudding in a medium bowl and whip using the whisk attachment. You don't want to over mix it. If it's too thick you can thin it down a bit with a little more cream.
    When the chocolate sponge cake is completely cooled, gently unroll it. Mine had a few cracks and I think I've figured out why.
    * First, I think I over baked minute for a couple of minutes.
    * Second, I put my cake in the fridge to cool down. I should have left it at room temperature.
    * Finally, I didn't wait until the cake was completely cooled. It was still slightly warm when I handled it. (I didn't realize this until I went to unroll it. Then I discovered the inside was still warm to the touch.)
    Maybe you can learn from my mistakes. At any rate, I placed my filling over the inside of the cake and it covered all of my cracks so I didn't really fret over it.
    Roll your cake back up and leave it in the dish towel. This is a good time to put it in the fridge.
    STEP THREE: Make the Frosting
    In a small bowl melt chocolate chips and milk. I melted mine in the microwave for a minute and a half in 30-second increments. (I stirred the chocolate every thirty seconds.)
    Place chocolate ganache in a mixer with whisk attachment and mix until it cools down. Add a stick of butter and four cups of powdered sugar. You might need to add a bit more sugar to get the desired consistency.
    You're looking for a fairly traditional frosting consistency so judge accordingly. Set aside until time to decorate. (Let cake cool completely!)
    Remove cooled cake from the fridge and unwrap. Cover the cake in chocolate frosting. You want this to look like a log so leave texture marks. (Some people make more exaggerated texture marks using a fork. I just let my small offset spatula do the job.)

    Don't forget to cover the end of the cake in frosting and texture it to look like the end of a log!
    If you like, you can decorate your Yule log cake with holly berries or other decor. I used leftover buttercream from another project but you might choose to go with fondant or even gummy candies to form the berries and leaves.
    I saw one video where the baker made meringue mushrooms to add to her cake. That was super cute. You can truly add anything your heart desires!
    Slice and enjoy! You'll love the inside of this cake. It's just lovely to look at!
    Store leftovers in refrigerator in an airtight container (due to the whipped cream filling). It will stay good for 3-4 days.

Stephanie

Wednesday 23rd of November 2022

Que devons-nous faire avec les jaunes d’œufs ? Car dans la préparation du gâteau de base, nous dons y mettre les œufs, blanc et jaune

What should we do with egg yolks? Because in the preparation of the basic cake, we put the eggs, white and yellow

Merci

booksbyjanice

Saturday 26th of November 2022

You can save the egg yolks to use for a custard or pudding if you like. They are not used in this recipe.

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