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An Easy Way to Make A Buche de Noel or Yule Log Cake for Christmas

Posted By Jessica Fisher On December 22, 2010 @ 1:00 am In Cakes,Christmas,Desserts,GOD,Recipes | 32 Comments

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Many years ago, almost twenty, I spent a year in France as an exchange student. I adopted a family — or they adopted me — to call my own. I lived in a different French city, but thanks to mutual acquaintances, we connected and my life was changed.

I don’t think I would have experienced France in the same way if it had not been for the Durieux. Michele and Jean-Marc took me everywhere, even vacationing in the Alps. I visited them in Toulouse, at their vacation home in Collioure, and they came to see me in Bordeaux.

My French brother and sister, Delphine and Greg, treated me like a big sister and patiently corrected my terrible mispronunciations. They treated me to a beautiful 21st Birthday party, too.

It was only natural that I spend Christmas with them that year. And since my boyfriend Fish (aka FishPapa) had come to visit me in France, we  celebrated Christmas together chez Durieux.

I was astounded by the two meals Michele prepared– Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Both were huge feasts, featuring caviar, raw oysters, boudin blanc [5], and foie gras. We feted the holiday in a very French way. One of the meals concluded with a buche de noel, or yule log cake.

Our Buche de Noel

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For many years since then, I’ve made a Buche de Noel at home. It’s not as fancy or as nicely done as those a French pastry shop might prepare, but it has become a family tradition at our house. My kids don’t notice the imperfections.

And, yes, I cheat by using a boxed cake mix. [7] Yes, yes, I do.

Last year, I tried to get fancy with a cream cheese filling and my kids scraped it out and just ate the cake. Ah…. pearls before swine.

This year, I’ll use a whipped cream filling and chocolate frosting.

If you’d like to make a Buche de Noel at your house, it’s not that difficult — if you don’t mind some imperfections.

How to Make a Buche de Noel, Yule Log Cake

What you’ll need:
1 boxed cake mix, prepared according to package directions
2 cups filling of choice, such as cream cheese whipped with sugar, packaged cool whip, or Buttercream frosting [8]
1 can chocolate frosting or 1 batch Chocolate Buttercream Frosting [9]
Playmobil elves, woodsmen, animals and plants

Here’s how you do it:
Grease a jelly roll pan and line it with waxed paper or parchment. Bake the cake in the prepared jelly roll pan according to package directions.

Meanwhile, sift cocoa or powdered sugar over a clean tea towel. Invert warm cake onto towel. Remove parchment paper. Roll cake up in the towel. Yes, really. You want it to cool with a curve to it otherwise the cake will break.

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Gently unroll cake and spread your filling. Reroll, minus the towel. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 1 hour.

Remove plastic wrap and cut off 2-3 inches off each end, at an angle. Place large piece of cake, seam side down, on a serving platter. Position smaller pieces on the side of the main log. These are like “branches” to the cake.

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Frost cake with chocolate frosting, filling in the gaps between the main log and its branches. Do not frost the ends. Scrape frosting with a fork to resemble bark. Add Playmobil figures. If you want to get really fancy and Martha-like, you can make meringue mushrooms [12] to add to the cake.

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Alternatively, you could simply add toy greenery and call it a Stump of Jesse cake [14]. Which isn’t such a bad idea, now that I think of it. Not quite traditional, but definitely in keeping with making Jesus the center of our celebrations. [15]

See? That wasn’t so hard, was it?


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[4] Image: http://lifeasmom.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Durieux.jpg

[5] boudin blanc: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boudin

[6] Image: http://lifeasmom.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Buche-de-Noel.jpg

[7] cheat by using a boxed cake mix.: http://lifeasmom.com/2009/01/cake-cheating.html

[8] Buttercream frosting: http://goodcheapeats.com/2010/07/homemade-buttercream-frosting/

[9] Chocolate Buttercream Frosting: http://goodcheapeats.com/2013/09/easy-chocolate-buttercream-frosting/

[10] Image: http://lifeasmom.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Buche-de-Noel-001.jpg

[11] Image: http://lifeasmom.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Buche-de-Noel-003.jpg

[12] meringue mushrooms: http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/meringue-mushrooms

[13] Image: http://lifeasmom.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Buche-de-Noel-009.jpg

[14] a Stump of Jesse cake: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=isaiah%2011&version=NIV

[15] making Jesus the center of our celebrations.: http://lifeasmom.com/2010/11/preparing-for-advent-where-will-i-look.html

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