How to Make a Bûche de Noël

A Bûche de Noël is a traditional Christmas cake in the shape of a log that is served for dessert around Christmas time in countries such as France, Belgium, and Switzerland. The tradition dates back to the 19th century when families would burn a yule log in their homes starting on Christmas Eve. Some say the log was cut from the bottom of the Christmas tree, and others say it had to be big enough to burn for twelve whole days, up until Epiphany. The burning of the log symbolized the new year to come, and it was believed to bring good luck.

An annual family tradition of ours, prior to this year, was that the children would prepare this specialty cake with their father and then bring the cake to school right before the holiday break to share with their peers. My husband had done the same with his father as a young boy in France, and it was important to him that he carried the tradition over with his own children. This year may have posed its challenges and robbed many social opportunities and traditions from us, but it would not take away our tradition of making a Bûche de Noël together, as a family.

Rather than the children taking the cake to school due to the new Covid restrictions, or even having it as a celebratory dessert on Christmas Day, we served ours on New Year's Day. After all, this was the log that was to symbolize good luck in the new year.

Our version of the yule log is a gluten-free one that consists of vanilla sponge cake, chocolate ganache, and a chocolate glaçage. We chose to decorate ours with sprigs of faux holly and berries, as well as, you guessed it, a red cardinal! If you choose to become exceptionally creative, you can create mushrooms out of meringues and sprinkle powdered sugar over the top of the log to appear as snow. We'd love to see your creations!

Bûche de Noël

Sponge Cake


9 Eggs

3/4 C Flour (*we used gluten-free flour)

2/3 C Sugar

Equipment & Utensils

Hand Mixer

Large Pastry Knife

12" x 16" Sheet Pan

Parchment Paper

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Prepare all of your ingredients. First, sift the flour and put it aside. Next, separate 9 egg yolks from their whites. Keep all nine of the egg yolks and five of the whites. Reserve aside. Put 1/4 C of the sugar aside.

  3. Mix 5 of the egg whites together with 1/4 C of sugar. We like to use a hand mixer, as it takes many turns until you get the right consistency - which should be firm, but not overly so.

  4. Slowly add the egg yolks to the egg white mixture, one by one, by taking a spin to the bowl at the same time. We are attempting to keep the airy consistency of the egg whites.

  5. Next, slowly incorporate the flour, by making the same turns of the bowl, maintaining a light and airy consistency.

  6. Line a 12" x 16" sheet pan with parchment paper. We additionally like to grease the edges and corners to ensure the cake does not stick to the pan.

  7. Pour the batter into the pan, while maintaining the same layer of thickness all around. We like to use a large pastry knife to spread the batter evenly.

8. Bake the sponge cake for 5-6 minutes at 400 degrees.

9. Once the cake is out of the oven, let it cool for just a few minutes prior to flipping the cake out of the pan and onto a cooling rack.

Chocolate Ganache


8 oz. Milk Chocolate

8 oz. Heavy Whipping Cream

Equipment & Utensils