The Traditional Bûche de Noël: A Log ‘Yule’ Love!


If you love all things kitschy and cute, then the traditional Bûche de Noël will be the perfect cake to whip up for your retro holiday party! With origins in France, this sweet and silly confection is fashioned after a tree log that has fallen in the snow, and is topped with darling decorations like mini mushrooms and bright berries, making it the perfect centerpiece for your holiday spread.


Yule Log (Bûche de Noël)

Chocolate cake
Half-sheet pan
Parchment paper
Raspberry jam
Chocolate frosting
Piping bag and tip
Small block of semi-sweet chocolate
Chef’s knife
Food coloring
Powdered sugar

1. Whip up a chocolate cake recipe of your choice. For this recipe, I used a boxed cake mix from the grocery store, but I recommend using a lighter recipe, like a traditional genoise, which is a bit easier to roll. Line your half-sheet pan with parchment paper, then pour your cake mix into the pan and bake according to the directions.

2. Allow the cake to cool completely, preferably overnight if you have the time. Then use the tips of your fingers to gently remove the “skin” from the top of the cake.



3. Next, frost the cake with one layer of raspberry jam and one layer of chocolate frosting. I used pre-made frosting from the grocery store, but you can use any you like. Don’t worry about going all the way to the edges.



4. Now onto the roll! Using the parchment paper underneath your cake, slowly roll the cake. Don’t worry if it cracks a little, the frosting will hold everything together.

5. Then cut off about 1/4 of the cake in a diagonal line. This will be one of the branches to your log!



6. Fill your piping bag with chocolate frosting and proceed to decorate the cake. I used a medium-sized star tip for a wood grain effect.

7. Once you’ve frosted the larger piece of the ‘log,’ simply attach your ‘branch’ to the side and continue to frost. You can choose to either leave the ends exposed or add a swirl of frosting, if you prefer.



8. Now it’s time to create the ‘bark’ for your tree! To create chocolate shavings, simple scrape the edge of a chef’s knife along the back of a small block of chocolate. You can gently lift the chocolate shavings using the side of your knife to drop them onto your cake.



9. Now for the fun part! Separate out small portions of marzipan to create little figurines for your tree! Using food dye, you can color your marzipan any color to create whatever kitschy creations you’d like. I whipped up a few mushrooms and holly leaves for mine.

10. One final step… Sprinkle a bit of confectioners’ sugar over the whole thing for a wintery wonderlog!


About Erin Ellis

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  1. Avatar
    Liz Williams 12/18/2013 at 6:23 pm #

    So cute, love the mushrooms!!!

  2. Avatar
    Kitchen Cici 12/18/2013 at 8:35 pm #

    Looks awesome!

  3. Avatar
    Laura 12/20/2013 at 1:12 am #

    Very sweet idea, but it is not a traditional Buche de Noel. The traditional Buche is made from Ganache – not a hint of jam in sight! I am French, and we have one every year.

    I do love what you have made though – very creative and beautifully finished. It certainly does look festive 🙂 Each to their own, and you are only limited by your imagination!! 🙂

    • Avatar
      Erin 12/20/2013 at 3:08 pm #

      Yes, the concept is traditional, though you are right that many variations exist! I took a shortcut and used pre-made frosting with boxed cake from the grocery store. I’ve read that the most common combination is usually yellow cake with a chocolate buttercream, but as you say, to each their own!

      • Avatar
        Laura 12/20/2013 at 4:17 pm #

        Don’t get me wrong – I think you’ve done an absolutely BEAUTIFUL job with it! I love all things woodland, and think it’s a wonderful creation 🙂

        We usually add a small axe in our log and sometimes a small squirel, but she is very difficult to make so she only appears sometimes 🙂

  4. Avatar
    Mae East 12/20/2013 at 1:43 pm #

    This looks really yummy and festive! Love the ‘shrooms! A nice way to roll the cake is to invert the warm sheet cake onto sugar dusted wax paper and roll it while still warm. When cool, carefully unroll the cake and continue as instructed. This method helps minimize cracking and may keep it more rounded. At any rate, I am going to try this yule log version of a jelly roll and serve it for Christmas. Good tip on using genoise, I make that for lamingtons all the time. Thanks for the awesome idea!

    • Avatar
      Erin 12/20/2013 at 3:11 pm #

      Thanks for the tip! I used a very heavy and moist cake mix from the grocery store, which made it very challenging to roll, but I wanted to try using ingredients that were readily available. It didn’t hold up as well as when I’ve made my own genoise from scratch, but hopefully the concept held up ok. Good luck with your cake, you’ll have to send us pictures!!!

      • Avatar
        Mae East 12/21/2013 at 10:19 pm #

        Oh, yes, the concept is great! Your cake is too; I would love to grab a fork and eat that all myself ! 🙂

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