Sweet, creamy, and decadent, bûche de Noël is a great roulade cake to tuck into at Christmas time. Learn more about it here.
A European Christmas roulade
Of all the desserts served at European Christmas celebrations-from fruitcake to mince pies-few are more delicious than bûche de Noël. This roulade may not be all that common in Singapore, but it’s a festive staple in countries like France, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.
Steeped in tradition
If you’re wondering just where and why this cake originated, the clue is in the name: ‘bûche de Noël’ is French for ‘Christmas log‘. In English, the dessert is usually known as a yule log. While both these names are now used exclusively for the cake, they once referred to a real log that was part of an old Christmas tradition. Long ago, around the medieval era, Nordic families would cut a huge log from the forest on Christmas Eve and bring it home to burn. The log would then be kept lit for all twelve days of Christmas to bring good luck. Some time during the 19th century, people began to make cakes to represent this special log, and it didn’t take long for the tradition to stick.
Made with a special cake
While many modern-day bûche de Noël recipes use regular sponge cake, authentic ones have genoise as a base. Unlike the sponge you’re used to, genoise uses melted clarified butter and requires beating over warm water to create a lighter, airier texture. Once baked, the cake is then iced using a cream filling (and sometimes fruit jam), then rolled into a log shape. To turn this plain sponge into a log-like colour, the chef then adds a coating of chocolate buttercream or ganache. Finally, dragging a fork over the frosting gives a real tree bark look.
Enjoy it with sugar and berries
These days, there are many variations on how yule log is eaten. Some people add a sprinkling of icing sugar to mimic snowfall, while others add sweet berries like the ones you’d find on real trees. After the bûche de Noël is sliced, you can serve it up with whipped cream, ice cream, or a homemade sauce-we recommend chocolate or forest berry sauce. To wash it down, opt for a hot cocoa, a hot Darjeeling tea or a glass of sweet champagne.
If you want a yummy cake for Christmas but don’t feel like making your own bûche de Noël, you can always order desserts with foodpanda. Boufe Boutique Café has a range of artisan cakes made using the same genoise as a yule log. If you’re cooking Christmas dinner for a family with varied flavour preferences, try the Fickle Feline from Cat & The Fiddles Cakes-10 different slices of cheesecake in one circle so everyone gets a taste of what they like.