Thursday, December 21, 2017

Yule Log Cake Recipe

In my holiday novella for Sweet Christmas Kisses 4, my heroine is a pastry chef. For the Green Pines winter carnival, she bakes a whole menu of spectacular things.

strawberry and cream santas on yule log
Masatsu, cc-by-sa-2.0.
I grew up above my aunt and uncle's bakery in Belgium, where no holiday meal is complete without the obligatory yule log for desert. (Which in my case, also doubled as my birthday cake.) This time of year was crazy hectic, with all hands on deck to bake, decorate, and package the thousands of yule log orders.
Staff, apprentices, and every available family member was drafted into the assembly-line production. Of course, as a kid, I complained about it, but I have so many great memories now!

The bakery is no more, but the recipes live on...

The truth is that as spectacular as they are, yule logs are really easy to bake. It's the decorating that takes a little talent.

The basic thing you need is a genoise cake. Here's the recipe:

Genoise Cake Recipe


4 eggs, separated

100 grams sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

4 tablespoons warm water

100 grams flour

25 grams corn starch

1 pinch baking powder

1 tsp of sugar or cocoa powder

1) Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla essence and warm water until frothy.
2) Beat egg whites until stiff.

3) Add to egg yolks and fold together.

4) Sift remaining ingredients over mixture and fold in.

5) Cover a sheet pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper.

6) Pour batter over paper, spread evenly in a rectangular shape.

7) Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit (225 degrees Celsius) for 10 minutes.

8) Spread parchment paper over a clean towel.

9) Sprinkle 1 tsp of sugar (or cocoa powder and sugar) over the paper. This is to keep the cake from sticking to the paper.
10) Remove the cake from the oven and immediately turn it over onto the prepared parchment paper.

11) Use a towel moistened with ice-cold water to wipe the surface of the parchment paper adhering to the cake – this will help you peel off the paper more easily.

12) Carefully peel off the paper on which the cake was baked. Immediately roll up the cake in the paper-lined towel, starting from a narrow side.

13) Allow to cool, seam side down.

chocolate yule log with plastic moose
 Plastic moose? Kelly Sue DeConnick, cc-by-sa-2.0.
Now you get to decide how to fill and decorate your yule log.

For an ice cream yule log, I love filling the roll with pistachio ice cream, then frosting the outside with coffee or mocha ice cream or frosting.

Soften the ice cream before using it, and be careful not to break the cake as you unroll it. (If you crack the cake, don’t worry – you’ll cover it up with frosting!)

Roll up the cake, and place it, seam side down, on a serving plate or tray.

Spread frosting or ice cream over the cake, covering ends as well. Using the tines of a fork, mark lines in the frosting to simulate wood grain. Sprinkle 1 tsp. cocoa powder over the cake. Store the yule log in the freezer. Take out of the freezer for a few minutes only before serving, and decorate with frosted berries, mistletoe leaves, plastic reindeer, or meringue mushrooms.

If ice cream strikes me as too chilly, I love filling the log with raspberries or strawberries and cream, and spreading a thickly beaten crème fraiche or chocolate seven-minute frosting on the outside. The white cream makes a perfect setting for decorations, like little raspberry "mushrooms" and the tacky but absolutely required plastic reindeer!

Bon appétit and happy holidays!
And remember that if you need to curl up with something warm and cozy to read, Sweet Christmas Kisses 4 (and 3, and 2, and 1) are just the thing!

Milou Koenings is a USA Today bestselling author. She writes romance because, like chocolate, stories with a happy ending bring more joy into the world and so make it a better place.

Her other Green Pines sweet romances, I Love You Three, Reclaiming Home, The Kampala Peppermint Twist and Sweet Blizzard are available on, iBooks, Nook, Kobo and all your favorite e-book retailers.

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  1. My grandfather worked at a Belgium bakery in the U.S. when he was young. What a coincidence. I'll bet he made these Yule Logs during the holidays. Thanks for the recipe.

  2. I've always wanted to make a Yule log, Milou. Thanks for the recipe.

  3. That recipe sounds amazing, Milou! Thank you for sharing!