Tasty Yule Log for the Dessert Table this Christmas
A bit of history about the Yule Log
The Yule log was traditionally a piece of wood burned in the home owners fireplace during the Yule season between the 1600's and 1700's. First written accounting of the burning of the Yule log is found in German history. The Yule log was burned to bring a year's worth of peace to the occupants of the home it was burned in. This tradition has been carried on in modern traditions with TV channels throughout the country running a 24 hour showing of a roaring fireplace ever year from late Christmas Eve through Christmas day.
The term has evolved to include a few tasty treats including a savory version for Christmas dinner made of meat and a sweet version made from sponge cake and some sweet filling. The later of the two makes a great center piece for any Christmas party dessert table!
List of Equipment
For this recipe you will need a few pieces of equipment:
1 Large mixing bowl
1 Medium mixing bowl
A hand mixer or stand mixer
1 Shallow cookie sheet to bake cake on
Tooth picks ( for testing cake)
- 3 Cups Cake Flour, Shifted
- 3/4 Cup White Sugar, Shifted
- 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar, Lightly Packed
- 1 teaspoon Salt, 1/4 teaspoon salt if using rock or kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract, 1/2 teaspoon pure Vanilla
- 2 Eggs
- 1 stick Butter, Softened
- 1/2 cup Coco Powder, For Chocolate cake if desired
- 2 teaspoons Baking Soda
- 1 1/2 Cups Milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large mixing bowl sift together the flour, salt, coco powder and baking soda.
- In a medium mixing bowl cream together Vanilla, white sugar, brown sugar, Milk, eggs and butter, until smooth.
- Combine the two mixtures slowly stirring or beating as you go. The idea is to get quite a bit of air in this cake.
- Lightly grease and flour your cookie sheet to prevent sticking and make the cake easy to remove from the pan.
- Evenly pour about half the batter onto the sheet and spread out. Half should be enough to cover the bottom of the cookie sheet and come up the shallow walls about half way. Add a bit more if the batter is short of the half way mark on the walls of the sheet tray.
- Allow batter to sit in the pan on an even surface for it to self level any spots which may have been a little heavier than others. About 5 minutes at the most.
- Bake cake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes and then test with a tooth pick for done, or poke lightly with a finger if the cake springs back quickly it is ready. If cake is not cooked allow to bake about 10 minutes more checking every ten minutes for done.
- When done remove cake from the oven and allow to stand about two minutes still in the sheet pan. Then carefully dump cake onto a flat surface covered with wax paper to cool.
- When cake is cool to the touch add a healthy helping of butter cream frosting, your favorite ice cream or other sweet filling and spread evenly.
- Using the edges of the wax paper slowly roll the cake like a jelly roll. This step takes time and patients to complete. If it is not perfect don't worry about it too much, you will be covering the cake with frosting. Place rolled cake in the refrigerator.
- Wash and re-grease and flour the cookies sheet and repeat steps one through eleven with the remainder of the batter.
- Once both cakes are rolled and cooled slice on cake in half and create a tree log looking piece with the whole cake and the pieces you cut.
- Frost cake with chocolate frosting to look like a log in the woods. Add embellishments like fondant branches, mushrooms, or other items found in the woods around fallen logs.
Frosting an irregular shaped cake can be difficult here are a few tips to make this cake look its best!
When you begin frosting the cake start by piping the frosting onto the larger cake. After piping a healthy bit of frosting onto the cake smooth it over with a large flat knife.
To make a bark like look on your Yule log use a fork and lightly score through the frosting where it seems natural for your log shape.
To make the "log" look more realistic use a lighter brown frosting (almost a caramel color) on the "cut" ends of the "log" and then pipe ring with the darker frosting.
When decorating or adding embellishments to your Yule log use your imagination and try whatever you feel is right!