Chocolate Hazelnut Bûche de Noël (Yule Log)

Whipping cream into soft peeks, spreading frosting on cookies, or dusting the fruitcake with powdered sugar, holiday baking has to be the ultimate opportunity to welcome the children into the kitchen and let them stir, mix and roll alongside you.

In doing so, you are making memories together and creating traditions that just might last through generations. Perhaps it is just a simple batch of shortbread, prepared a few different ways and loved by all, or cut-out gingerbread cookies, our annual holiday cookie of choice. But whatever the recipe, make sure to include little helpers when you bake – it will have a lasting impression on them.

We recently sweetened up a Saturday afternoon preparing something extra special for our weekly Sunday dinner. It was enormous fun to make with my Mateo, which is why we decided to share it here with you.

Bûche de Noël / Yule Log / Chocolate Hazelnut Roll | Simple Bites #kidsinthekitchen #baking

Aside from our beloved cookies and tarts, we always take on something a little more fun in the kitchen over in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Last year was the After School Gingerbread Project, where we made a gingerbread house into 5 easy steps and the boys had a blast playing in the kitchen.

This year, Mateo had his heart set on another traditional Christmas confection, a Yule Log or Bûche de Noël. He had spotted one in the new cookbook from Jane Hornby, What to Bake & How to Bake It, and was quite determined this was the ultimate baking project.

What could be better? Chocolate + Nutella + whipped cream all rolled into a chocolate cake and frosted with chocolate ganache. It was downright dreamy.

Bûche de Noël / Yule Log / Chocolate Hazelnut Roll | Simple Bites #kidsinthekitchen #baking

I made quite a few yule logs back in my restaurant days, although those are less than fond memories of being kept at work late on Christmas Eve decorating dozen and dozens of chocolate logs. Fortunately this new baking project with Mateo redeemed my Bûche de Noël experiences.

While Clara napped, we tied our aprons, put on Christmas music and started cracking eggs. By the time the cake was out of the oven and cooling, we were well advanced on the filling. As we worked, a few snowflakes began to fall, them more and more, until the ground turned white with out very first snow. It was so pretty and very timely for our holiday baking project.

Bûche de Noël / Yule Log / Chocolate Hazelnut Roll | Simple Bites #kidsinthekitchen #baking

You can decorate a yule log as simply or as elegantly as you like. This one is so delicious, it hardly needs embellishing. We rustled up the miniature deer from an old tin of Christmas decorations, and used elements from nature for the rest.

Pinterest has loads of ideas for meringue mushrooms and matcha moss – just be sure you’re still in the spirit of fun! That’s more important than a Pintastic project. Happy Baking, all!

Bûche de Noël / Yule Log / Chocolate Hazelnut Roll | Simple Bites #kidsinthekitchen #baking

Chocolate Hazelnut Roll {Yule Log}

Chocolate + Nutella + whipped cream all rolled into a chocolate cake and frosted with chocolate ganache. Excerpted from What to Bake & How to Bake It by Jane Hornby. Reproduced by permission of Phaidon.  
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: French
Essential Ingredient: Chocolate
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 556kcal
Author: Aimee - reprinted from What to Bake and How to Bake It with permission

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • butter for greasing
  • 6 eggs room temperature
  • 3/4 packed cup light brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup good-quality cocoa powder plus 2 tbsp for rolling

For the Filling

  • 7 oz bittersweet chocolate 60% cocoa solids
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup Nutella (7 oz)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • confectioners' sugar to dust

Instructions

  • Grease the base and sides of a 10 x 15-inch jelly roll pan or rimmed baking sheet, then line the base with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350F. Put the eggs and the sugar in a large bowl and whisk with an electric mixer at medium speed until thick, mousse-like, and doubled in volume. It will take 5 minutes or so.
  • Mix the flour, salt, and cocoa in a bowl, then sift them over the whisked eggs. Fold them in using a large metal spoon or spatula, cutting and lifting rather than stirring. This will preserve the air bubbles trapped inside the batter. It might take longer than you expect to get the batter to an almost even brown.
  • Holding the bowl just above the prepared baking pan (pouring from a great height will knock the bubbles flat), pour in the cake batter. Tilt the pan slowly from side to side, letting the batter run into the corners.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cake has risen all over and the sides are shrinking away from the edge of the pan. It's best to loosen the cake away from the pan carefully with an icing spatula now, in case it has stuck a little.
  • Spread a large sheet of parchment paper on the work surface, then sift the 2 tablespoons cocoa powder over it. Flip the cake onto this sheet, remove the pan, then cover the cake with a clean dish towel and let cool. The cloth will trap moisture as the cake cools, helping it stay soft and moist.
  • Make the filling. Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Heat 1-1/4 cups of the cream in a pan until it bubbles at the edges. Take off the heat and stir in the chocolate, Nutella, and vanilla. Let it melt until smooth, then set aside until it has cooled, but is still fairly liquid.
  • Pour the rest of the cream into a bowl, add about 1/2 cup of the chocolate ganache, the whisk until very thick, but not stiff.
  • When the cake has cooled, remove the dish towel, then carefully peel off the parchment paper, Trim about 1/2 inch off each edge with a serrated knife. Score a line in the cake about 1 inch in from the nearest long end.
  • Spread the filling over the cake, the roll it up from the scored end. Use the paper to help make a tight roll.
  • Roll the cake onto a clean piece of parchment. Cut about 4 inches off one end, at an angle.
  • Transfer the large piece to a serving plate, then nestle the shorter one against it to make a branch. Spread the remaining ganache all over, adding plenty of texture with the knife. Chill for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
  • Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before eating and dust with confectioners' sugar to serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 556kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Cholesterol: 180mg | Sodium: 80mg | Potassium: 372mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 1025IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 109mg | Iron: 3.5mg

Bûche de Noël / Yule Log / Chocolate Hazelnut Roll | Simple Bites #kidsinthekitchen #baking

Chestnut! Coffee! Eggnog! Peppermint! More Yule Log inspiration:

What is your ultimate Christmas dessert?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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Comments

  1. This is so lovely! I make a yule log almost every Christmas for all of my kids/nieces/nephews and they never tire of it. It such a stunning dessert for the holidays. On another note…I just made a simple chocolate cake yesterday, but used this exact filling and ganache frosting – I love that book! Same wavelength…again.

    • Haha! Too funny, Jan. That’s a good idea. The ganache is to die for, right?

      • Hello,

        Thanks for the recipe. Hoping to use it at Christmas.

        Just for the sake of clarity, is what you describe as the filling the ganache? In your recipe you describe making the filling and then ask the cook to use some of the ganache in the second amount of cream but then I am not clear what happens with both of these batches of chocolate goodness??

        Thanks,

        Shaila

  2. Perfectly gorgeous, Aimee. I’ve been wanting to make a buche de noel for years, having enjoyed them every year at in middle school French class, but they seem so daunting I never tried. Maybe this is the year.


  3. I love a bûche de Noël (just made one on the weekend actually, a very modern, minimilast gingerbread marshmallow affair from Dorie!) and yours is fabulous. My Christmas cake of choice!

  4. I hate Nutella. Can I substitute another hazelnut chocolate spread (like, with real hazelnuts…) or will it skew the recipe so it won’t work?

  5. Oh my gosh! I love Bûche de Noël, we made these in French class when I was in college! So fun 🙂


  6. This looks fantastic! We loved your gingerbread house series last year and had so much fun making our own – I think it’s been added to the holiday tradition list around here. Can’t wait to try these with the kids too. The holidays at your house look so very cozy 🙂

  7. So pretty! We really enjoyed making gingerbread houses last year and are planning to do it again with friends. If we have time, I’d love for us to do this as well. I’ve never made one so it would be a learning experience for us all 🙂

  8. You are so right about making memories together in the kitchen! And I loved your reminder at the end to “stay in the spirit of fun!” It looks like you did that, though the final result was lovely too!

  9. Love making holiday traditions with the kids every year, especially in the kitchen! Thanks for sharing this fabulous idea!

  10. I am a self-professed cake baking failure. It’s one of my new year’s resolutions to rectify this. But, the ingredients list on the cake has me perplexed. Is it like an almost flourless cake/brownie?

  11. I am currently letting the cake and chocolate cool and I’m confused. The directions say to whisk the rest of the cream and a 1/2 cup of the chocolate. After doing that, I will have a lot of chocolate/cream/nutella left and a second bowl with the whisked cream and chocolate. What do you use to fill and “frost” the cake? Both? Just the whisked cream/chocolate? Help!!!

    • Okay, the darker chocolate is your filling. The whipped cream with a little of the chocolate filling in it is your frosting! You may want to let it firm up a little in the fridge first.

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