This holiday season in the Cake Shop has been busy, bustling, warm, and cozy! I keep feeling this rush of joy when making new recipes that I haven’t perfected before: the Gingerbread People that Lucy figured out, the Sweet Potato Spice Cake making the perfect base for Bread Pudding. But the one thing that has brought me the deepest sense of elation, dare I say, triumph, is our mastering of the Buche De Noel, or Yule Log Cake.
Here follows an illustrated recipe, taken from the beloved Southern Heritage Cakes Cookbook (Oxmoor House, 1983).

Grease and line with parchment paper a quarter sheet pan. (roughly 15 x 10)

To make the cake:
Combine in a mixer and beat until light:

4 eggs
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Slowly add:

3/4 cup sugar

beat again until light.

Fold in by hand:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa

and then pour into the lined pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until the cake springs back when touched with your fingertip or until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

When its done, it should look like this:

(except smaller, because the Buche De Noel that we make in the shop is double this recipe)

Immediately flip the cake onto a tea towel, a-like-so:

Then peel the paper off like this:

And roll it up like this:

Then set it aside for a few hours to cool completely.

Make a batch of whipped cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
beat with the whisk attachment of your mixer until it can hold a soft peak.

Carefully and gently unroll your cake, and spread the whipped cream all on the inside.

Re-roll the cake, securing the bottom edge, and refrigerate.

Make the icing:

Melt 3 1-oz squares of unsweetened baking chocolate.

Whisk together with 1/3 cup of coffee and 1/4 cup of butter until smooth.

Set the mixture aside to cool. When completely cool, beat (in the mixer) 2-3 cups of powdered sugar until spreadable consistency.

Spread the icing on the roll:

And then cut the edges off with a serrated knife, and attach to the sides by globbing the icing around the joint.

Decorate with fresh holly, from your neighbor Peter’s yard, for example, and, voila: (or viola, as we sait it back in Georgia):

A Buche De Noel.

The Yule Log is a symbol of the warmth and light of the hearth in the dark of winter. On this Solstice, as we honor the darkness and welcome the light in our lives, I wish to extend to you love, warmth, and ample fuel for your fire.
PS. If you wish to eat a fresh Buche De Noel, and do not desire to make one on your own, a 20-serving Yule Log is available for $50 by advance order at Short Street Cakes by calling 505-4822. Tomorrow (Wednesday, December 22) is the last day to order a Buche De Noel for pickup on Christmas Eve.