You’ve probably heard of it before. The Bûche de Noël is a traditional French Christmas dessert shaped like a log. The cake dates back to the Victorian era, sometime after 1870. The cake used is a light sponge cake, or other moist, rich yellow cake. Baked in a flat jellyroll pan, it is frosted with some kind of ganache or buttercream. The flat piece of cake is rolled into a cylinder and frosted to resemble bark by texturing either with a fork, serrated knife, or piping bag.
Translated, Bûche de Noël means Christmas log. Like many traditions associated with the end of year celebrations, the Christmas log probably comes from Pagan rituals surrounding the Winter Solstice. Over the last few centuries, tradition had it that families would gather on Christmas Eve to light a fire with a large log that burned for at least three days, until New Year or even up until Epiphany on the 6th of January.
Betty Crocker has a simple to follow Bûche de Noël recipe. Try it and make this a Christmas family tradition.
Use the Right Pan: Don’t try to do this in anything but the pan called for (a 15 x 10 x 1-inch pan, what used to be called a jelly-roll pan). If you use a 13×9-inch pan, the cake will be too thick to roll.
Grease and Flour the Pan Well!
Roll the Cake While Warm: The minute the cake is done, get it out of the pan and roll it up. Let cool completely, then proceed with filling and decorating.
Decorating: Meringue Mushrooms are a classic decoration.