A Yule log cake is a festive chocolate cake baked for celebrating the pagan German and Scandinavian festival called Yule which is commonly associated with Christmas in modern times. The Yule log cake is a generic term used to refer to a number of Christmas chocolate cakes, also commonly known as Buche de Noel. These rich chocolate Yule logs look like the true wooden logs that are customarily burnt in a hearth during the celebrations. The Christmas Yule log cake is also prepared for another yuletide tradition called Ashen faggot.
According to English historian Henry Bourne, the custom associated with the Yule log has its origins in the 6th and 7th century Anglo Saxon pagan practices.
It is also linked by some historians to the ancient fire festival that was held during the winter solstice
The traditional Yule log cake also known as Christmas log , seems to be made with 19th century ingredients as noted by some historians; as buttercream icing and sponge cake, which are used by the Yule log cake recipe seem to have been first used during that period. The origin of Marzipan and Meringue used by the recipe for the Christmas Yule Log cake can be traced to the 17th century.
The Yule log cake is essentially a roll of sponge cake filled with chocolate and frosted with buttered chocolate icing. The chocolate Yule logs are perfect desserts for a party. A mixture of heavy whipping cream, melted milk and bitter chocolates is first made. Separately, chilled heavy cream is beaten till peaks are formed. The frosting is made by adding semi-sweet chocolate to molten butter and to this mixture heavy cream is added.
Preparing the Yule Log Cake requires the preparation of a sponge cake. Ready sponge cake can also be bought from the bakers if it is inconvenient or time consuming to prepare it. The cake is unfolded and the chocolate cream filling is spread on it. The cake is then rolled up and one end, usually the best end, is shaped into a branch. The frosting is then poured on the branches of the cake. Powdered sugar is drizzled on top of the cake just before it is served. The Christmas Yule log cake can also be served chilled, and if so, it should be kept at room temperature for sometime before it is served.