I’m not sure when my Dad started it, but for as long as I could remember he would make a yule log for Christmas with my family. It was one of those things that we’d only have once a year but I always enjoyed. The best part about yule logs, AKA Buche de Noel, is they just look like Christmas.
While yule logs aren’t extremely difficult, it does take some patience and willing to clean things a few times as you have to use the mixer multiple times. A yule log is a sponge cake so it is light and airy. This is done by separating the eggs and beating separately.
The one he makes is a very traditional chocolate cake with an amaretto filling. While I love it, a few years ago I wanted to make my own stamp on a yule log. So naturally I used what is my favorite holiday flavor – peppermint. To make it even better, I used peppermint bark, which I eat throughout December and the following months as I normally have a ton of it!
While I was nervous the first time I made it, as I was experimenting with a dessert recipe (which I normally don’t do), it couldn’t have turned out better! Now I know there are those that don’t love peppermint flavor and to those people all that I’ll say is you’re missing out! Since making for the first time 3 years ago, I’ve already decided this is my yearly yule log recipe and a subtle nod to my Dad. While I did change some of the ingredients, it is primarily his recipe. So I hope you give this one a try. Enjoy!
After making this for the holidays, you'll never make another yule log!
Preheat oven to 375F. Grease 10 x 15 inch jelly roll pan with butter and line with parchment paper. Grease and flour the parchment paper. (Very important so cake doesn't stick). In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In medium bowl, beat egg yolks until thick, gradually adding 1/3 cup sugar. In another bowl, beat egg whites until foamy, gradually adding 1/3 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Slowly fold egg whites into yolk mixture, careful not to break the egg whites. Add the flour mixture and mix until incorporated. Spread evenly in pan and bake at 375F for 8 to 10 minutes. Toothpick should come clean when done. (Keep in mind this is a sponge cake so should be "sponge-like")
Put a dish towel on counter and sift powdered sugar over it until completely covered. Loosen cake from sides of pan and turn onto sugar coated towel. Peel off the parchment paper. Starting at the narrow end, slowly roll up the cake and towel together. Place on rack and allow to completely cool.
Once cake is cook, slowly unroll cake. Spread peppermint bark filling to completely cover the cake. Slowly roll the cake back together, not using the towel this time. (Some of the cake might stick to towel, so just be careful and don't stress if some comes off as you'll be covering with frosting)
Place cake on serving platter. Frost with frosting. (It should be just enough to cover the cake). Use a fork and run through the frosting so it looks like bark. Top with some crushed peppermint and powdered sugar if desired. Enjoy!
Beat whipping cream until foamy. Add the peppermint extract and gradually add the sugar. Beat until soft peaks form. Once down, fold in peppermint bark.
Melt chocolate on top of double boiler. Set aside.
In mixing bowl, cream butter until light and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate and beat for 10 seconds. Add the vanilla and milk and slowly add the powdered sugar until incorporated. Beat until it's at spreading consistency.