• Birch Tree Yule Log

This Will Be The Star Of Your Christmas Table: Birch Tree Yule Log

The Yule log, or bûche de Noël, is a traditional Christmastime dessert popular in Belgium, France, Switzerland, and Quebec and dates back to pre-medieval time. They would burn actual logs to celebrate the winter solstice and cleanse the air and it wasn’t until the 19th century that the yule log cake would become popularized and enjoyed for decades to come.

This was a new baking challenge for me and has been on my baking bucket list for some time. With all the holiday pie options offered I wanted to make sure there was an option that my kitchen helper liked as well. Since he is a big fan of vanilla cake and vanilla buttercream I knew this was the time to try the yule log using his favorite flavors. The birch tree yule log was the answer. To take on this baking challenge I decided to use a cake batter and buttercream that I have used in the past and that my family loves. The special “birch” tree effect came from melting both white and dark chocolate. This decorative detail provided an amazing texture to the dessert. This easy decorative element makes a huge impact on the presentation and I was so excited about how it turned out.

If you would like to take on this challenge, here are a few suggestions. I baked the cake, made the birch tree chocolate and buttercream, while my kitchen helper was in school. He then assisted me in assembling the yule log as an after school activity. He was very curious about the cake being rolled up and couldn’t wait to unroll and take a nibble. Rolling the cake, preferably in parchment paper, when it’s warm helps prevent cracking. My cake did crack but only because it was left too long wrapped up, but I’m happy to say the buttercream saved the day in covering up these imperfections. Adding the buttercream to the inside of the roll was a perfect job for my kitchen helper and he loved helping me roll the cake back into a yule log form. Once the buttercream was applied to the outside of the cake it was time to decorate and then enjoy a slice. You too can accomplish this baking challenge and in the process make a new holiday family tradition.

History Information Sources: History.com

Birch Tree Yule Log
Birch Tree Yule Log
Birch tree yule log
Birch tree yule log
Birch Tree Yule Log
Birch Tree Yule Log

Birch Tree Yule Log

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Yields: 18

Ingredients

  • CAKE:
  • 2 1/4 Cup - Cake Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon - Salt
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon - Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Cup - Butter (softened)
  • 1 1/2 Cup - Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup - Canola Oil
  • 1 1/4 Cup - Milk
  • 1 Teaspoon - Clear Vanilla Extract
  • WHITE CHOCOLATE BIRCH BARK
  • 6.5 Ounces - White Melting Waffers
  • 3.0 Ounces - Dark Chocolate Melting Waffers
  • VANILLA BUTTERCREAM:
  • 2 Tablespoons - Milk
  • 3 Cups - Confectioner's Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon - Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Sticks - Unsalted Butter (softened)
  • 1/2 Cup - Crisco shortening

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F and line a large baking sheet with parchment
  2. CAKE:
  3. In the bowl of your mixer (or hand mixer), cream the softened butter and sugar. Add the 2 eggs and mix until combined
  4. Add the oil, milk and vanilla extract and mix until combined
  5. In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt
  6. Add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and mix until combined.
  7. Pour the cake batter onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Smooth the batter out so the top is even and tap the side of the baking sheet to release any bubbles
  8. Bake the cake at 350° for 20 minutes or until a toothpick is clean. Once baked remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. While the cake is still warm but comfortable to handle, roll the cake with parchment attached. Allow the cake to cool completely in this rolled state
  9. CHOCOLATE BIRCH BARK:
  10. Pour the 3 ounces of dark chocolate melting wafers into a microwave safe bowl and melt for 30 second intervals until completely melted
  11. On a parchment lined baking sheet (large or quarter size) use an off-set spatula to create your birch bark design. I used lines and circle to create the affect
  12. Cover 1/2 of a large baking sheet. Use the remaining chocolate to make trees or other decorated items for the family
  13. Allow the dark chocolate to chill for about 5 minutes. In the meantime melt the white chocolate in the microwave for 30 second intervals. Allow the white chocolate to cool while the dark chocolate is chilling. Otherwise it will melt the dark chocolate
  14. After a few minutes pour the white chocolate over the chilled dark chocolate and spread with an off set spatula. Once covered chill until you are ready to decorate. Break large pieces with two hands
  15. VANILLA BUTTERCREAM:
  16. In the bowl of a mixer (or with your hand mixer) mix the milk, sugar and vanilla until fully combined. It should look like glue
  17. Add the shortening and mix on medium until fully combined, about 3 minutes (scrape down the sides of the bowl)
  18. Add the softened butter and mix until combined. Continue to mix until fluffy, about 6 minutes
  19. ESSEMBLY OF THE YULE LOG
  20. Unwrap the rolled and cool yule log. If there are some cracks, have no fear the buttercream will save the day. With an off set spatula, cover the roll with a layer of buttercream. Once covered, gently roll the cake back to the original starting point, but peel the parchment paper or towel away from the cake. Transfer the rolled cake carefully to its final serving plater
  21. Frost the outside of the yule log with the buttercream using an off set spatula (including the ends)
  22. Remove the "birch bark" chocolate from the refrigerator and with two hands break long pieces to place onto and around the yule log
  23. Add other decorations, like the little trees, or leave as is. A perfect table centerpiece! Slice and enjoy

Additional Info

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