A bûche de Noël, translated from French meaning “yule log,” is a traditional and festive Christmas cake that is much easier to make than you’d think. The cake itself is a génoise, which is a light-as-air, pliable buttermilk cake making it quite easy to roll. We used this Williams-Sonoma cake recipe for ours. The filling of the cake is a simple whipped cream that acts as an adhesive for the roulade (rolled cake) and helps balance the rich chocolate and buttercream. We had to modify the frosting from the Williams-Sonoma recipe, as we were having a difficult time getting it to set up and was basically chocolate soup. We took half of this soup and whipped in a stick of butter and a half-pound of cream cheese and were able to get the frosting to a spreadable (and tasty!) consistency, and had plenty to frost the case. Note to self: always read the recipe reviews!
To create the elements of a woodland scene, we made this marzipan recipe to create the marzipan and almond pinecones, and the recipe made so much that we also made some little marzipan mushrooms that we molded by hand. Once the cake was spread with the whipped cream and rolled into a single, long “log,” we cut off the two ends, about three inches each, and reserved them for the side “branches.” We arranged the log and branches on our serving platter and frosted with our buttercream, leaving the cross-section of the cake exposed. Then we added our pinecones and mushrooms and to finish, dusted with cocoa powder and powdered sugar. Magnifique!