How Can I Make a Yule Log

Wondering how can I make a Yule Log? You can make a Yule Log to burn simply by cutting a log to burn, preferably birch, though other types of wood may be used. If you do not have a fireplace, but still want a Yule Log, you can make a Yule Log cake. Sponge cake is used to make the Yule Log, as sponge cake is very pliable and can be rolled into a log shape.

Ingredients to Make a Yule Log

Chocolate Sponge Cake:

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped in small pieces
  • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Chocolate Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Sponge Cake Instructions:
Separate the eggs. This works better when they are still cold. Cover the eggs with plastic wrap and allow them to come to room temperature. This takes about a half hour, so this can be done while you get everything else ready.

To make the sponge cake, gather the ingredients and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure the oven rack is in the middle of the oven. Grease the bottom of a 17 by 12 jelly roll pan. You can use butter, Pam or shortening. Cut a piece of parchment paper or wax paper the same size as the pan. Lay the paper in the bottom of the pan, then grease and flour the paper.

Melt the chocolate. You can use the microwave or you can melt the chocolate in a double boiler. If you do not have a double boiler and prefer not to use a microwave, put the chocolate in a metal (preferably stainless steel) bowl and set it over the top of a saucepan of simmering water. Set the chocolate aside.

Add ¼ cup of sugar to the egg yolks and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. This takes about five minutes. The mixture should fall back into the bowl in a slow ribbon when you lift the beaters out of the mixture.

Add the vanilla extract to the yolk and sugar mixture and beat in the vanilla extract. Add the chocolate and beat just enough to combine the chocolate and the yolk mixture. Set this bowl aside.

Using the whisk attachment of your mixer (or a hand whisk), beat the egg whites until they become foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Use medium speed if you are using an electric mixer. Gradually add 2 tablespoons of sugar and beat until the whites form stiff peaks.

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold a small amount of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture. This will lighten the batter. Fold the rest of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture with the rubber spatula, folding just enough to incorporate the two batters. Do not overmix the batter, as it will cause the batter to deflate, which makes a tough cake.

Spread the batter in the pan and bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until the cake is puffed up and has lost its shine. It should spring back when gently pressed. Place the cake on a wire rack to cool. Cover it with a slightly damp towel.

Chocolate Whipped Cream Instructions
Mix the whipping cream, vanilla extract, sugar and cocoa powder together just enough to combine the ingredients. Cover the bowl and chill it along with the beaters in the refrigerator for at least an hour, giving the cocoa powder time to dissolve. After chilling, beat the mixture until stiff peaks form.

Putting the Yule Log Together:
Set aside 2 tablespoons of the chocolate whipped cream. Spread the rest of the whipped cream over the cake. Roll the cake up, peeling off the parchment paper as you roll it up. The sponge cake will crack a bit, but that's okay. Trim one end of the cake at an angle and set the cut piece aside. This will be used for garnish. Turn the cake so that the seam side is down on the serving platter.

Use the reserved whipped cream to attach the cut piece to the side of the cake. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and chill until serving time. Dust with confectioner's sugar just before serving time. You can use dry confectioner's sugar or icing made from confectioner's sugar and milk. Decorate the Yule Log cake with pine cones and pine branches, or top it with candy mushrooms and holly leaves. 

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Wondering, "How can I make a Yule Log?" Start by learning the Yule Log tradition and the story of the Yule Log and get tips for making a Yule Log dessert.

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