How to Bake a Yule Log
I first came across Yule Logs in French class back in high school where they were called bûche de Noël. I learned how these are a holiday tradition in France and some bakers get really into making their logs look like real wood. You can cut off one end of the log, remove some of the roll and decorate it to look like a branch. People also decorate Yule Logs with raspberries, fondant mushrooms and powdered sugar that looks like snow. Making this cake is unlike any other cake I’ve made before. You are basically making a sponge cake that gets its volume from the egg whites, not from flour. The finished product is a very light and spongy cake with a delicate crumb.
To start, you will want to preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. and generously grease a 15 x 10 x 1-inch jelly roll pan. Set out 8 oz. of cream cheese so that it gets to room temperature. In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder, 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder and 1/4 tsp. salt.
In a separate medium bowl, beat 4 egg yolks (reserve the whites) with a 1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract until it thickens and turns a lemon yellow color. Add in 1/3 c. granulated sugar and beat to incorporate.
In a third large bowl, beat 4 egg whites until you get soft peaks. Soft peaks appear after just a couple of minutes of beating fresh eggs. You’ll notice the egg whites will more than double in volume and get very bubbly as air is incorporated. When you lift up your beater, the peaks will show up in the bowl and slowly melt back into the bowl. At this point, add 1/2 c. granulated sugar.
Continue to beat after you’ve added the sugar. Within a couple of minutes, the egg whites and sugar will turn glossier and whiter, forming stiff peaks. When you lift up your beater, the peaks will show up in the bowl and retain their shape.
Fold in your egg yolk and flour mixture into your egg whites to get your Yule Log batter. Although your puppy may want to help you at this point, remember this is a chocolate batter that isn’t good for dogs!
Pour the batter into the prepared jelly roll pan. Use a spatula to get the batter into the corners and make it even in the pan. At this point you are ready for the oven. Put the jelly roll into a 375 degree F. oven for 12-15 minutes. Mine took me exactly 12 minutes, so be careful about the time.
While the pan is in the oven, you can prepare to roll the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. Place a large dish towel on the counter. Cover with plastic wrap and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Test the cake by putting your finger on the center part and seeing if it springs back when touched gently.
Carefully flip over the pan onto the prepared towel. Pound on the back side of the pan to ensure it releases. In hindsight, I would recommend lining with parchment paper so the cake looks better. Start at one end of the towel and roll it up while you prepare the filling. I thought this would be the hardest part, but it was really easy. You roll the cake while it is still warm so that it doesn’t crack or break when you add the frosting and roll it later on.
In a medium bowl, whip together 8 oz. of room temperature cream cheese and 1/2 c. of granulated sugar. Add 8 oz. of frozen whipped topping and mix well.
Add 2 Tbsp. of Corn Starch, I used Davis Corn Starch, 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder and 1/8 tsp. salt. Mix until combined well.
Unroll the cake and spread the filling all the way to the edges.
I had a little extra frosting left over, you don’t want the filling to be too thick to roll.
Here comes the fun part! Roll the cake up, pressing together so that the filling doesn’t squeeze out.
Use the plastic wrap to cover up the Yule Log and chill for 2 hours in the refrigerator.
Remove the chilled cake and decorate it!
We enjoyed about half of the Yule Log at home and brought in the other half to work. It will make ten 1-inch size wheels.
Yule Log Recipe:
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
4 egg yolks
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 c. granulated sugar
4 egg whites
1/2 c. granulated sugar
powdered sugar, for sprinkling
8 oz. package of cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 c. granulated sugar
8 oz. frozen whipped topping
2 Tbsp. Clabber Girl Corn Starch
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa
1/8 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.; grease and flour a 15x10x1-inch pan; set aside.
In a medium bowl combine flour, Clabber Girl Baking Powder, cocoa and salt. In a separate bowl beat egg yolks and vanilla until thick and lemon colored; whisk in the 1/3 cup of sugar. In a small bowl beat egg whites to soft peaks and add 1/2 cup of sugar gradually, beating well after each addition. Beat to form stiff peaks; fold in egg yolk and flour mixtures.
Pour into prepared pan and bake at 375 degrees F. for 12 to 15 minutes, or until cake springs back when touched gently. Immediately remove from pan and roll into towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Let cool. Meanwhile, prepare filling. In a medium bowl whip together the cream cheese and sugar. Add whipped topping and mix well. Add cornstarch, cocoa and salt; whip until combined, about one minute. Unroll cake and spread with filling mixture. Carefully roll up again, gently pressing just enough to roll without thinning the filling out.
Chill for 2 hours and serve.