What I love about this gingerbread Yule log is how light and festive the cake is! It’s not a heavy dessert so it easily pairs with any meal, especially those heavier winter meals. It serves a crowd and makes a great centre piece for a holiday dinner, which means you can decorate your table around this stunning cake making it the focal point!
What is a Yule log?
A Yule log is also known as a Bûche De Noël in French. It’s a traditional Christmas cake that is decorated to resemble a log. Apparently it’s a tradition that dates back before the Medieval Times in celebration of winter solstice festivities. People would buy a tree, bring it into their homes and burn the tree with the larger end first. The whole tree would be burned for the 12 days of Christmas. Because of this tradition the Yule log cake was created! And it’s definitely safer than burning an entire tree in your home!
How to create a light and airy sponge cake (aka Folding)
It’s all in the folding! The key to create a light cake is to fold not stir the batter together. This technique is used when you have to mix a dense mixture and an airy mixture (like meringue) together. Folding the batter into each other will help keep the air in the lighter mixture which will result in a fluffy, airy cake. If you stir the batter the air will deflate and the cake will be become dense. So, it’s very important to use the proper folding technique when it’s asked for in a recipe. To fold – you simply cut a spatula through the centre of the batter and scrape the spatula to the bottom of the bowl and up the side, gently lifting the batter over itself. Next, slightly rotate the bowl and continue the process until the batter is evenly combined.
How to Roll a Cake
The key to rolling a cake is to work with a hot cake right out of the oven. When you roll the cake while it’s hot and let it cool rolled up, it will remember this shape and hold its ‘curves’. If you attempt to roll a cake that isn’t hot it will break and crack. The best way to achieve this is to flip the cake onto a clean tea towel that has been covered in powered sugar (this is so the cake won’t stick to the tea towel as it cools). Then peel off the parchment paper, cover in powdered sugar and tightly roll the hot cake within the tea towel. When the cake has completely cooled and you’re ready to fill it, simply unroll the cake, fill with cream and re-roll!
Step by Step How to Make a Gingerbread Yule logPrint
Gingerbread Yule Log
This gingerbread Yule log will become a holiday favourite! The beauty of this cake will wow your guests and it’s simpler to make than it looks! The cake is a soft and airy gingerbread sponge cake, full of spices and molasses! Then it’s filled and iced with a rum flavoured whipped cream!
- Prep Time: 2 hours
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 2 hours 20 mins
- Yield: 10–12 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Cuisine: French
- 4 large eggs, separated at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (85g) fancy molasses, at Bulk Barn
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (120g) all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 cups (580g) whipping cream
- 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
- 3 teaspoons rum extract
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a jelly roll pan (12″ x 18″ x 1″) with parchment paper and grease the sides of the pan. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer on medium speed beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly add sugar (about one tablespoon at a time) and beat on high until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
- In another bowl (or clean the existing bowl) beat egg yolks and molasses until pale and thickened, approximately 4 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
- In another bowl mix sifted flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt together. Set aside.
- Gently fold egg white mixture into yolk mixture, alternating with dry ingredients. Make three additions of egg whites and two of dry (be sure not to stir the batter but to fold the batter, this will create a light and airy cake).
- Once combined, spread the batter evenly on prepared baking sheet and smooth the top (it’s best to use an offset spatula).
- Bake for 10 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched.
- While cake is baking, lay out a clean tea towel and dust the surface with powdered sugar.
- Once the cake is baked and still hot, use a sharp knife around the edges to release the cake. Carefully turn the cake over onto the sugared tea towel. Peel off the parchment paper and dust the cake with powdered sugar (this is so the cake doesn’t stick to the tea towel).
- Starting at one of the short edges gently roll the cake with the tea towel. Let the cake cool while rolled up in the tea towel.
- Meanwhile in a large bowl add whipping cream, powdered sugar and rum extract. Whip until soft peaks form, set aside.
- Once cake is cooled, gently unroll. Top the cake with half the whipping cream and spread out evenly (reserve half the cream to cover the log).
- Carefully and gently re-roll into a log, making sure not to press out the filling.
- Using a large serrated knife cut cake about 2-3 inches from the edge on a diagonal (this will be the branch on your log).
- Place the larger log on a serving tray to decorate.
- Now place the smaller log (the diagonal cut) on the side of the longer log, approx. 1-2 inches up the log (see images for a reference).
- Cover the logs with the rest of the whipping cream, leaving the cut edges exposed. Smooth the surface and then using a fork draw random lines down the cake to resemble bark.
- In a small bowl add sugar, cinnamon and cloves together. Sprinkle over the log.
- Let cake rest for 30 minutes before serving.
Cake will last 2-3 days stored in the fridge.
If you don’t have rum extract, you can brush the cake with rum instead.
Decorate with fresh or sugared rosemary and cranberries. See how to make sugared fruit here.
- Serving Size: 1 slice of 12
- Calories: 200
- Sugar: 14.4g
- Sodium: 132mg
- Fat: 9.6g
- Saturated Fat: 5.4g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 25g
- Fiber: 0.5g
- Protein: 3.8g
- Cholesterol: 90mg
Keywords: Yule Log, Gingerbread, Holiday, Christmas, Dessert
This blog post has been sponsored by Bulk Barn Canada where you can find all your baking needs, especially all your holiday spices! All opinions are my own and I’m so happy to work with brands I love so I can continue to share these recipes with all of you! I hope you guys get to a Bulk Barn soon and try out this Gingerbread Yule log recipe!
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Reference on the Yule log history comes from; https://www.almanac.com/content/what-yule-log-christmas-traditions
I look forward to trying this Yule log for Christmas Even dinner. Can you tell me what size jelly roll pan you used.
Hi Sally, that so great to hear! A jelly roll pan is 12″x 18″x 1″ most jelly pan sizes fall in this bracket. I’ll update it on the recipe as well. Happy Baking, hope you love the recipe! xo alie
I made your Gingerbread Yule log for Christmas Eve dinner. I did a gluten free version and it was perfect—light and delicious. I added some meringue mushrooms for decoration. I will definitely make it again next Christmas. Thanks.
Sally I love the idea of adding meringue mushrooms! Happy to hear the recipe was a success and you could alter it to make it work with your dietary needs! Thank you for sharing and Happy Holidays!