Yule Log [Bûche de Noël] with Espresso Mascarpone Filling and Ganache Icing

Yule Log (Buche de Noel) with Espresso-Mascarpone Filling by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

I have long admired pretty yule logs that grace the covers of holiday cooking magazines. Beautiful rolled chocolate cakes with scrumptious fillings and decadent icings, adorned with meringue mushrooms and a fresh coating of snow. They look almost too perfect to eat. Almost. I have no problem digging into something pretty. I decided that this would be the year that I finally made a yule log, stumps and all! I had done two rolled cakes previously (see: Pumpkin Roll and Strawberries and Cream Angel Food Cake Roll), and was confident that I could churn out a pretty chocolate rolled cake without too many hiccups.

In addition to being pretty, I can’t imagine a more delicious yule log. The cake is rich and packed with chocolate flavor, which contrasts incredibly well with the espresso-mascarpone cream filling, and the chocolate ganache is literally the icing on the cake. I could eat it with a spoon!

Yule Log (Buche de Noel) with Espresso-Mascarpone Filling by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

You’ll notice that my cake is not a perfect spiral, which is due to it cracking in some spots when I rolled it up with the filling. The recipe calls for a 12×18 pan, and I used a 13×18 pan and baked it 8 minutes, which was too long, it definitely seemed done when I checked it. I would err on the very conservative side of baking times for this cake to ensure a soft, sponge-like cake that can be rolled easily.

I didn’t venture into the world of meringue mushrooms, but you could certainly add them if you wanted. This cake lends itself extremely well to any holiday flairs you want to add. I did a dusting of powdered sugar and some green sanding sugar. You could throw on green and red sprinkles, fondant holly and berries… there are so many fun possibilities.

Yule Log (Buche de Noel) with Espresso-Mascarpone Filling by @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

If you’re looking for a show-stopping holiday dessert that tastes as good as it looks, this is it. Grab a fork and dig in!

One year ago: Cheesy Sausage Spinach Breakfast Casserole
Two years ago: Chocolate Bourbon Balls
Three years ago: Pecan Tassies
Six years ago: Biscotti Recipe

Yule Log (Bûche de Noël) with Espresso Mascarpone Filling

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 8 to 10 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

A Yule Log recipe (otherwise known as Bûche de Noël) with an espresso-mascarpone filling and chocolate ganache icing.


For the Dark Chocolate Ganache:
¾ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 ounces semisweet chocolate or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

For the Espresso-Mascarpone Cream Filling:
½ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons espresso powder
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
16 ounces (2 cups) mascarpone cheese

For the Cake:
¼ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting baking sheet
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into two pieces
2 tablespoons cold water
¼ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted, plus more for unmolding
⅛ teaspoon salt
6 eggs, separated, at room temperature
⅓ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar


1. Make the Dark Chocolate Ganache: Microwave the heavy cream and butter in measuring cup on high for 1½ minutes. Place the chopped chocolate in the bowl of food processor. With the machine running, gradually add the hot cream mixture through the feed tube and process until smooth and thickened, about 3 minutes. Transfer the ganache to medium bowl and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, or until spreadable (the ganache should have the consistency of soft icing).

2. Make the Espresso-Mascarpone Cream Filling: Bring the heavy cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over high heat. Remove from the heat and whisk in the espresso and powdered sugar until dissolved; cool slightly. With a rubber spatula, beat the mascarpone in a medium bowl until softened. Gently whisk in the cooled cream mixture until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

3. Make the Cake: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 12x18-inch rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray, cover pan bottom with parchment paper and spray parchment with nonstick cooking spray; dust baking sheet with flour, tapping out excess.

4. Bring 2 inches of water to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Combine the chocolate, butter, and water in a small heatproof bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Set the bowl over the pan of simmering water, reduce the heat to medium-low, and heat until the butter is almost completely melted and chocolate pieces are glossy, have lost definition, and are fully melted around edges, about 15 minutes. (Do not stir or let the water in the saucepan come to boil.) Remove the bowl from heat, unwrap, and stir until smooth and glossy. While the chocolate is melting, sift the cocoa powder, flour, and salt together in a small bowl and set aside.

5. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the egg yolks at medium-high speed until combined, about 15 seconds. With mixer running, add half of the sugar. Continue to beat, scraping down the sides of bowl as necessary until the yolks are pale yellow and the mixture falls in a thick ribbon when the beaters are lifted, about 8 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and beat to combine, scraping down the bowl once, about 30 seconds.

6. In a clean bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar at medium speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. With the mixer running, add about 1 teaspoon of the remaining sugar; continue beating until soft peaks form, about 40 seconds. Gradually add remaining sugar and beat until whites are glossy and hold stiff peaks, about 1 minute longer. Do not overbeat. While the egg whites are beating, stir the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture. With a rubber spatula, stir a quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites until almost no streaks remain. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the egg and chocolate mixture and fold in quickly but gently.

7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan; using an offset spatula and working quickly, smooth the surface and spread batter into pan corners. Bake until center of cake springs back when touched with finger, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time. Cool the cake in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

8. While cake is cooling, lay a clean kitchen towel over a work surface and sift 1 tablespoon cocoa powder all over towel. Run a paring knife around the edges of the baking sheet to loosen the cake. Invert the cake onto the prepared towel and peel off the parchment.

9. To Assemble the Yule Log: Starting at a long side, roll the cake and towel together into a jelly roll shape. Cool for 15 minutes, then unroll the cake and towel. Using an offset spatula, immediately spread mascarpone cream filling evenly over surface of cake, almost to edges. Reroll the cake gently but snugly around filling. Trim both ends of cake on diagonal and reserve.

10. Set the cake seam-side down on on a serving platter. Spread the ganache over roulade with a small icing spatula. Attach the reserved "stump" ends to the yule log using the ganache and spread ganache over them, as well. Use a fork to make wood-grain marks on the surface of the ganache before it has set. Refrigerate cake, uncovered, to slightly set the icing, about 20 minutes. Sift yule log with powdered sugar. The cake is best served the day it is made, but can be stored in the refrigerator, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 3 days.

(Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated)


44 Responses to “Yule Log [Bûche de Noël] with Espresso Mascarpone Filling and Ganache Icing”

  1. Tammy on December 18, 2013 at 12:24 am

    This looks so good!I might have to try making it!


  2. Maxine on December 18, 2013 at 1:20 am

    Oh my! This looks soooo delicious and you made it look like an actual log! I would love to try this, but it looks like it has so many steps in the process…I’ll put it on my to-do list for “someday”. Looks scrumptious though!


  3. Laura (Tutti Dolci) on December 18, 2013 at 1:26 am

    My grandma used to make a yule log every Christmas, so this brings back wonderful memories. I love the espresso mascarpone cream!


  4. HEATHER on December 18, 2013 at 2:26 am

    You never fail to amaze me with your awesome choice in recipes to share! I have been looking for a good yule log recipe and this one looks absolutely delicious!


  5. Olivia at ohmy Olivia on December 18, 2013 at 3:40 am

    NOTHING is more Christmassy than a Yule Log! This sounds delicious xo


  6. Gry on December 18, 2013 at 5:05 am

    Thank you thank you thank you for posting (and testing) a recipe for Yule log. I’ve been wanting to make one for the past few years, but I haven’t found a recipe that I liked. I know I like all your recipes, so now I can jump right to it!


  7. Brigitte on December 18, 2013 at 7:32 am

    So happy you made a yule log which is what i planned king for my family dinner.

    Can i freeze the log with the filling? I’d like to make this in advance except the ganache which i would do the day of.


    • Michelle on December 18th, 2013 at 10:25 am

      Hi Brigitte, I think you could freeze this just fine. Enjoy!


    • Matthew Buoscio on December 18th, 2013 at 11:23 am

      I think if you freeze it the mascarpone will become gritty. 🙁


  8. Deborah Miller - My Mountain Kitchen on December 18, 2013 at 7:46 am

    This looks so festive. I’ve always wanted to attempt a yule log.


  9. Navar on December 18, 2013 at 8:21 am

    This looks great! I’ve wanted to make one since watching Julia Child make hers on her show in the early seventies when I was a kid. I especially loved her meringue mushrooms!


  10. Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness on December 18, 2013 at 8:32 am

    This is the epitome of Christmas! Plus, it is so darn gorgeous!
    Almost too pretty to eat…just kidding. I want this in my face right now! Yum!


  11. Cate @ Chez CateyLou on December 18, 2013 at 8:38 am

    What a perfect cake for Christmas! Yours looks so pretty, and delicious!


  12. Sue Somerville on December 18, 2013 at 8:48 am

    I have made this type of cake roll before. I think it was called wedding cake. For that I used chocolate cake and ice cream. I am going to make this Yule Log for Christmas this year. I bet it will be a big hit.


  13. Rena on December 18, 2013 at 8:49 am

    This looks amazing!
    I am definitely trying this one!


  14. Erin | The Law Student's Wife on December 18, 2013 at 9:08 am

    I love Yule longs but haven’t been brave enough to try making one myself. I need to conquer my fear!


  15. kanza on December 18, 2013 at 9:24 am

    What a beautiful cake . It was kind of fun. It sure looks cool!


  16. Lily @ Life, Love, and Cupcakes on December 18, 2013 at 10:03 am

    I made a yule log a few years ago, but it was nowhere near as legit as this! Yours is amazing!


  17. Christy H on December 18, 2013 at 10:45 am

    This language you speak, chocolate, espresso, marscapone….it is the language of love.


  18. Matthew Buoscio on December 18, 2013 at 11:21 am

    This looks fantastic! The only way I will eat this cake is with Chocolate French Buttercream (yolks, sugar, Butter, chocolate), but the mascarpone looks interesting.


  19. Fran@fransfavs.com on December 18, 2013 at 11:35 am

    In a week’s time, you have posted two items on my recipe bucket list–panettone and now a yule log. Both are so impressive–well done! I am at least happy to report that I did cross one item off my long bucket list–made potica last week which is a traditional Slovenian nut roll. If you haven’t tried it, you must add it to your bucket list–it’s incredibly good!


  20. Denise Browning@From Brazil To You on December 18, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Wow…This yule logs are really gorgeous, Michelle!


  21. Paula - bell'alimento on December 18, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    You had me at Espresso. Then Mascarpone. Then oh my gawsh where’s my fork 😉


  22. Mary S on December 18, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    I made a Yule Log for my son-in-law as one of his Christmas gifts, several years ago, and he still hasn’t stopped talking about it. I will surprise him this year with this Bûche de Noël. I will really fancy it up with some decorations and present it to him on a platter. His jaw will drop. Thank you for sharing this delightful recipe.


  23. Katrina @ WVS on December 18, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    I’ve always wanted to make one of these! So fun!


  24. teresa on December 18, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Beautiful! It almost looks real!


  25. kittentoes on December 18, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Happy memories of the Annual French Class Buche de Noel bakeoff.


  26. Tracy | Pale Yellow on December 18, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Beautiful yule log! Who cares about a little cracking with that awesome filling? I might need to wait until next year to try this, but it looks amazing!


  27. Rosene S on December 18, 2013 at 6:20 pm



  28. DessertForTwo on December 18, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    This is beautiful! I love the filling! Wow! What a show-stopper 🙂


  29. Serena | Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch on December 19, 2013 at 2:15 am

    Such a gorgeous yule log! I’ve wanted to make one for years but I’m a little worried it won’t turn out like what I anticipate, cake rolls can be such tricky little devils!


  30. Mary Oppman on December 19, 2013 at 10:29 am

    It looks great! I had never before seen a yule log cake, and with the espresso-Mascarpone filling…it has to taste great! : )


  31. 2 sisters recipes on December 19, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    Anything with espresso and mascarpone is wonderful and so is your yule log!
    LOVE it!!


  32. Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures on December 20, 2013 at 11:21 am

    So beautiful and festive! It looks super tasty too!


  33. Adam on December 21, 2013 at 11:19 am

    Chocolate cake roll is my favorite dessert, and I make it all year round for family celebrations. One trick I’ve learned is that cooling the sponge cake under a slightly damp kitchen cloth results in a softer texture that better lends itself to crack free-rolling.


  34. Maire on December 23, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Hi living in Europe and can’t get my hands of cream of tartar – what could I substitute it with?


    • Michelle on December 24th, 2013 at 12:22 am

      Hi Maire, I’m not sure what an appropriate substitute would be. The cream of tartar helps to whip the egg whites to stiff peaks. If there is something else that you would customarily use, you can substitute that.


  35. Erin on December 24, 2013 at 9:53 am

    I just made this for Christmas Eve dessert, and it turned out AMAZING! Thank you for your inspiring recipes! Merry Christmas!


  36. Allison on December 26, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Michelle, thanks for the fantastic recipe! I have been making a yule log for our family gathering for at least 10 years now. I have used the same recipe with various changes each year and this year I decided to switch it up altogether and use your recipe. It was a big hit! I hope you and your family had a lovely Christmas 🙂


  37. Andrea on December 27, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Saw this recipe and thought “I have to try it”! However I have a question. I do not have a Swiss roll tin with the same dimensions as yours. My Swiss roll tin measures 8 x 12″ or 21 x 31cm. Would I have to change the quantities and if so do you know what they would be? The height of my tin is 1″ or 2.5cm. Would it rise over the height of the tin. I hope you can help as haven’t had a buche yet this year. Many thanks


    • Michelle on December 27th, 2013 at 11:12 pm

      Hi Andrea, You will definitely need to scale the recipe, or you will have too much batter. A standard jelly roll pan (10x15x1 inches) has a capacity of 10 cups. I can’t seem to find a calculation for the capacity of an 8x12x1 jelly roll pan. If you can figure that out, then you can determine how much you’ll need to scale the recipe down.


  38. shirin on March 11, 2014 at 9:31 am

    I’m from Iran.I really like recipes ,they’re must be delicious .we have beautiful celebration 10days later .we called that” No Rooz” it means new year,I hope that I can cook some cake with your recipes .it’s hard for me to write en ,excuse me if I have problem in my writing.
    good luck


  39. Jessica on December 16, 2014 at 11:13 am

    This recipe sounds so delicious and I’m planning on making it for my Christmas dessert this year. However I do not have a food processor. Do you think it would be possible to make the dark chocolate ganache in a stand mixer instead? I’m guessing I could just put the chocolate in the bowl and pour the butter/heavy cream hot mixture into the mixer and blend it that way.


    • Michelle on December 21st, 2014 at 3:17 pm

      Hi Jessica, I would probably go with the blender. Enjoy!


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