Bûche de Noël (French Christmas Cake)

Bûche de Noël, which lit­er­al­ly means Christ­mas Log, is the tra­di­tion­al French dessert for Christ­mas day. Christ­mas fig­urines or oth­er Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions are usu­al­ly placed on the log. It comes in all fla­vors, and there are many dif­fer­ent tech­niques to make the cake. For my bûche de Noël, I chose a tra­di­tion­al recipe of a rolled almond and choco­late cake, with a shiny red icing. I love the col­or red, and I think it is per­fect for the hol­i­days! The cake is easy to make, light, moist, and deli­cious! Hap­py Hol­i­days!

bûche de noël

A few notes about the Bûche de Noël recipe

For the actu­al cake, I got my inspi­ra­tion from this French recipe. How­ev­er, I did changed it up by using almond flour instead of hazel­nut pow­der. I also made less choco­late ganache since I decid­ed to make red icing instead.

For the red icing, I used the recipe avail­able in French here. Please note that the icing needs to be refrig­er­at­ed for at least 2 hours before you use it. Prepar­ing it the night before, and keep­ing it in the fridge overnight, is a good idea.

To dec­o­rate your bûche, you can use any cake hol­i­day dec­o­ra­tion you want. It could be fig­urines or snowflakes or Christ­mas trees…etc. Any­thing you wish!

Finding the ingredients

Ingre­di­ents for the cake are easy to find. For the red icing, there are two ingre­di­ents that are a lit­tle bit more chal­leng­ing to find. One is gelatin sheets. You might find gelatin sheets in your gro­cery store, but if you don’t, you can order the sheets online:

The oth­er ingre­di­ent that might be chal­leng­ing to find is glu­cose syrup. I got mine at Michael’s. Oth­er­wise, you can order it online:

Utensils needed

Please note, you will need an elec­tric hand mix­er to whip the egg whites, as well as a hand blender to make the icing uni­form. You will also need a cook­ing ther­mome­ter to ensure the icing is at the cor­rect tem­per­a­ture when you pour it on the cake.

Recipe

So here is the Bûche de Noël recipe.

Print Recipe
Bûche de Noël (French Christ­mas Cake)
bûche de noël
Course Dessert
Prep Time 30 min­utes
Cook Time 10 min­utes
Pas­sive Time 2.5 hours
Serv­ings
peo­ple
Ingre­di­ents
For the rolled cake
For the red icing
Course Dessert
Prep Time 30 min­utes
Cook Time 10 min­utes
Pas­sive Time 2.5 hours
Serv­ings
peo­ple
Ingre­di­ents
For the rolled cake
For the red icing
bûche de noël
Instruc­tions
For the rolled up cake
  1. First, pre­pare the dark choco­late ganache. Melt the choco­late in the microwave (it took 1min 30s in my microwave.) On the stove, heat up the cream. Pour the cream on the choco­late grad­u­al­ly, mix­ing each time. Add the but­ter in small pieces, and mix to melt the but­ter and incor­po­rate it into the choco­late. Set aside the ganache in the fridge. The ganache is ready when it becomes thick like Nutel­la®. (if not the case, it just means it needs to stay in the fridge longer.) See pic­ture.
    chocolate ganache
  2. Pre­heat oven to 350 degrees Fahren­heit. Sep­a­rate the egg yolks from the egg whites. In a mix­ing bowl, with a whisker, mix the egg yolks with the sug­ar until the mix­ture whitens. Sep­a­rate­ly, whip the egg whites. To do this, put a pinch of salt in the egg whites and beat the egg whites, using an elec­tric mix­er, first at low speed and then at high­er speed. Make sure you beat the egg whites always in the same direc­tion, so as to not break the egg whites. It is ready once the egg whites turn into a thick white mix­ture. See pic­ture.
    egg whites whip
  3. Add the whipped egg whites to the yolk/sugar mix­ture. Do this grad­u­al­ly, in 3 sep­a­rate times. Mix with a whisker each time, mak­ing sure you do not break the egg whites. Add the all pur­pose flour and almond flour grad­u­al­ly, and mix gen­tly with the whisker.
  4. Pour the mix­ture on a rec­tan­gu­lar bak­ing pan cov­ered with parch­ment paper, so as to make a rec­tan­gu­lar shape with the mix­ture.
    mixture on rectangular baking pan
  5. Bake in oven for 10 min­utes. To test if it is ready, touch it with the tip of your fin­ger, and see if it is sticky. It is ready when no longer sticky, and slight­ly brownish.As soon as it is done, take it out of the oven, and place it on a wet kitchen tow­el
    bûche cake on kitchen towel
  6. Imme­di­ate­ly roll it with the help of the kitchen tow­el. Set it aside and wait until it cools down. About 15 min­utes or so. In the mean­time, check on the choco­late ganache to see if it is ready.
    roll
  7. Once the choco­late ganache is ready, unroll the roll, and spread the ganache over it. Then, roll it again with the ganache in it. If you still have some choco­late ganache left, you can use it to cov­er the rolled up cake with choco­late. See pic­ture. Place your rolled up cake in the fridge or freez­er (you want it to get very cold so you can lat­er pour the icing on it.)
For the red icing
  1. Place the gelatin sheets in a bowl with water so the water cov­ers the sheets.
  2. Sep­a­rate­ly, in a pot on the stove, heat up the water (2.7tbs or 40ml) with the gran­u­lat­ed sug­ar and the glu­cose syrup. Heat it up until it starts boil­ing. Once it starts boil­ing, turn off the stove, and away from the stove, add the gelatin sheets (that you took out of the bowl of water and wrung out of any excess water.) Add the white choco­late cut in lit­tle pieces. Mix until the white choco­late com­plete­ly melts, and is ful­ly incor­po­rat­ed into the mix­ture. Add the sweet con­densed milk (make sure it isn’t fat free.) Mix.
    bûche icing
  3. Add the food col­or­ing. Use a few drops of food col­or­ing at a time, and mix until you get the desired col­or. Mix with a hand blender so the mix­ture is uni­form.
    red icing for bûche
  4. Place the icing in a bowl and put it in the fridge for 2 hours (or overnight.)
Bring­ing it all togeth­er
  1. The rolled up cake should be very cold or frozen before you pour icing on it.
  2. Heat up the icing in the microwave until it reach­es the tem­per­a­ture of 98.6 degrees Fahren­heit (37 degrees Cel­sius.) To do that, place it in the microwave in incre­ments of 30 sec­onds, and check the tem­per­a­ture each time with a cook­ing ther­mome­ter.
  3. Place the rolled up cake on a cool­ing rack or grid, with a plate or pan under­neath (I put a paper tow­el on the plate so it would be eas­i­er to clean up the mess.) Once the icing is at the cor­rect tem­per­a­ture, pour it on the cake. It is eas­i­er to pour it quick­ly, all at once. You can fix the sides with a spat­u­la. Place your cake in the fridge for a few hours so the icing cools down. Once the icing is no longer sticky, you can place your Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions on it. Enjoy the cake cold.
    bûche de noël
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Bon Appétit!

French Mom

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