A Holiday Yule Log, or Bûche de Noël, is a cake rolled up and decorated to look like a log. It’s an old tradition for the holidays throughout France. I decided to pull out all the stops this year and make a tiramisu version for my family to enjoy on Christmas Eve.
Tiramisu Yule Log
½ cup sifted cake flour
5 large eggs, room temperature, with yolks and egg whites separated
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup and 2 Tbsp granulated sugar, divided
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cream of tartar
½ stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
½ cup espresso
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp Cognac or brandy
8 oz mascarpone cheese
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp Cognac or brandy
½ cup chilled heavy cream
12 oz 60% bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
¾ cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
Unsweetened cocoa for dusting
Powdered sugar for dusting
- To make the cake: Heat oven to 350F. Butter a pan and line it with parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper and dust with cake flour so that the cake won’t stick.
- Beat 5 egg yolks, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar on high speed until thick and pale, about 8 minutes. Gently fold in half of sifted flour until complete, then fold in other half. Beat 5 egg whites, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp cream of tartar on medium speed until they just hold soft peaks. Add remaining 2 Tbsp sugar, 1/2 Tbsp at a time, and beat until whites just hold stiff peaks. Fold quarter of egg white mixture into yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in the rest. Gently fold butter mixture into batter, then spread batter evenly in sheet pan. Rap on counter to get rid of air bubbles. Be gentle with the batter, as it’s meant to be light and fluffy. Bake 7-10 minutes. The cake should spring back when gently pressed.
- Sift 2 Tbsp or more of powdered sugar onto top of hot cake, then cover with a clean kitchen towel, and then cover with a baking sheet. Flip the cake onto the cloth on the baking sheet and remove parchment paper. Dust this side with powdered sugar, too, so the cake doesn’t stick and will easily unroll. Roll cake up in a towel, like you would a jelly roll. Cool cake completely.
- To make the espresso syrup: Bring 1/2 cup espresso and 2 Tbsp sugar to a boil until sugar dissolves, then boil until reduced to a 1/4 cup. Remove from heat and add 1 Tbsp of brandy. Cool to room temperature.
- To make the filling: Mix 8 oz mascarpone, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, and 1 Tbsp brandy (or more if you’re feeling holly jolly) until combined and mixture is thick. Beat 1/2 cup heavy cream separately on medium speed until it just holds stiff peaks. Fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture.
- To make the ganache: Heat 3/4 cup of heavy cream over medium until it just comes to a boil, then pour it over 12 oz chopped chocolate in a large bowl. Let stand 3 minutes, then stir until smooth. If a bit chunky, heat the mixture in a bowl over a pot of boiling water until smooth. Add 2 Tbsp light corn syrup. Chill about 20 minutes, or until thick enough to spread.
- Assembly: Take your chilled, unrolled cake and brush that decadent brandy-infused espresso syrup all over the top of it. Spread the filling over the cake, and gently roll up. Place toothpicks in the top if necessary. Spread the ganache all over the top and sides of the log to make it look like a tree branch. The more imperfect, the better. Sift a little cocoa and powdered sugar over the log right before serving to resemble fallen snow. If desired, add meringue mushrooms here and there. Or, skip this if there are more presents to wrap and shopping to be done!