la buche de Noel – the christmas log

by Sharon Santoni

my-french-country-home-BUCHE DE NOEL2

It’s time to bring you a new christmas recipe, la Buche de Noel, or christmas log.

This is the most traditional French dessert for the holidays, and will either be home made or quite often purchased from a favoured patissier.

I believe that home made is always better, so here for you is a favourite recipe.

First you need to make the cream:

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup of cocoa

1/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar

Whip cream to stiff peaks. Slowly add the sugar and cocoa. Refrigerate until needed. You may need more or less cocoa and confectioner’s sugar depending on temperature and other circumstances. If you like to use a lot of frosting, you may want to make a double batch of this! Be prepared just in case

making the buche de noel

To make the cake you will need:

1 cup of cake flour, sifted

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup of white sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons whole milk

 Preheat oven to 375F and grease a rectangular sheet pan (or “jelly roll” pan) very well for baking the cake.  Sift together flour and baking powder. Set aside.

In bowl of electric mixer, beat eggs for 30 seconds. While mixing on medium speed, pour in the sugar slowly. Continue mixing until the mixture is a pale yellow colour (this is crucial to the recipe).

Add milk, salt, and vanilla. Stir to combine.  Fold in the dry ingredients with a spatula just until combined. Do not over-mix.

Bake for 10-14 minutes, or until lightly golden. When you can gently push the surface of the cake with your fingertips and watch it rise back slowly, the cake is ready!

Let cool for around 5 minutes. Carefully turn the cake out onto a tea towel that you have lightly coated in confectioner’s sugar. Working quickly and not roughly, gently roll the tea towel up with the cake inside of it. Let it cool for 10 minutes and unroll the towel.

my-french-country-home-BUCHE DE NOEL4

When the cake is completely cool, fill it with the chocolate cream and roll it up again. Frost the outside completely. If it starts to melt, stick it in the freezer for a while.

Take your time and remember, this cake is supposed to look like a log! Making it at home can be challenging, but fun. Decorate however you wish. If you would like to make a chocolate “bark,” melt any type of chocolate and spread it on a piece of parchment. Place it in the freezer until it hardens, then crack it and press it onto your cake. A dusting of confectioner’s sugar creates the appearance of fresh snow, and if you’re particularly adventurous, you can even make these little meringue mushrooms!

All that remains is to sing a few carols, and wish each other Joyeux Noel!

making the christmas buche de noel

With thanks to Alex Roberts for the photos and recipe.

32 comments

Karena December 8, 2015 - 9:07 pm

Sharon, what a delicious and beautiful dessert to serve over the Holidays! Thank you for sharing the recipe with us!!

xoxo
Karena
The Arts by Karena
More Books for the Holidays!

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Lyn December 8, 2015 - 10:55 pm

Thanks for the great recipe, the grandchildren will love it.

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Vicky from Athens December 8, 2015 - 11:00 pm

Looks and sounds so yummy! I think I’ll give it a try this Christmas instead of my usual Japanese Fruitcake. It certainly can’t take any longer to make!
Thanks so much!

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franki December 8, 2015 - 11:10 pm

I am going to have to make this!! THANX!! franki

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Ann-Maree December 8, 2015 - 11:12 pm

I was lucky to have a dream Christmas in Paris last year with my husband and two of my children. Spent a marvellous Christmas Eve shopping for last minute gifts and searching for the right la Buche de Noel. Hoping to create one this year to relive the precious memories ( albeit in an Australian summer) and you have provided with perfect timing for a practice run. Thank you.

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Valerie December 9, 2015 - 12:09 am

I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thank you!

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Jana December 9, 2015 - 12:13 am

Oh my goodness, I’m not sure there was anyone in my life on this particular day who would deserve my hand at this laborious treat! lol…j/k or course. Or maybe not j/k. OK, truth. I want someone *else* to make this for *me*. I would hoard it all to my greedy little self. For 15 minutes. We’re allowed to be greedy treat-made-by-another-hoarders for 15 minutes, right? Can anyone second? It’s gorgeous, Sharon.

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Brian December 9, 2015 - 12:57 am

Looks delish! Is 1 cup of flour all it takes? I’m going to try this. Thanks

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'Lu December 9, 2015 - 1:32 am

MERCI BEAUCOUP!!!!!!!! Can not wait to make your recipe!!!!!! Might have to have a trial run!!!!!!! So very kind of you to share it!!!!!

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Katherine December 9, 2015 - 2:05 am

Looks beautiful……thank you!

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Emm December 9, 2015 - 3:01 am

I am already looking forward to the next Sharon book, of wonderful recipes. Perhaps a collaboration with the talented M. Roberts?

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Debbie December 9, 2015 - 3:06 am

How do you make the precious meringue mushrooms?!? Thanks :-))

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Mags December 9, 2015 - 3:19 am

So nice to see your book listed in the New and Notable section of the Rizzoli Bookstore catalog!
(Picture sent via email)

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Colleen Taylor December 9, 2015 - 4:49 am

Such gorgeous photos Sharon of this beautiful dessert. I’ve actually made one quite similar to this. You can’t go wrong, it’s wonderful & so pretty too especially this time of year. X

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stacey feather December 9, 2015 - 6:00 am

I make one for my mother every year. So yummy!

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Rose from the Happy Ramblings blog December 9, 2015 - 6:52 am

Your cake looks so delicious…yum!…my mouth is watering 🙂 Thanks for sharing the recipe with us.

Rose x

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Diane Morgan December 9, 2015 - 8:01 am

Have lived in France for 12 years now but still prefer a traditional English type Christmas cake, strangely ( or perhaps not ) my many French friends like my cake better too !

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Diane Morgan December 9, 2015 - 8:01 am

Have lived in France for 12 years now but still prefer a traditional English type Christmas cake, strangely ( or perhaps not ) my many French friends like my cake better too !

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Therese Lang December 9, 2015 - 8:54 am

You have solved my alternative Christmas pud problem
Thank you for sharing
I will make it this week

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lee December 9, 2015 - 10:09 am

I have made this log before it is delicious.I added a little coffee powder to the cream in the middle and kept the chocolate icing on the outside it was delicious

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Susan December 9, 2015 - 12:55 pm

My parents used to travel to France every year or so and my dad has been making a buche de Noel for several years. My daughter and I started making them and we add a little espresso powder to the filling. We may have to try your recipe. Thank you for sharing it!

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Nancy December 9, 2015 - 5:13 pm

It looks amazing! Love the pictures…it looks so delicious set upon a slab of marble and a linen towel in brownish tones nearby….
Yummy!
Thanks for sharing…
Nancy
wildoakdesigns.blogspot.com

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Debra from SENC December 9, 2015 - 9:16 pm

Sharon,

Last week I purchased your book “My Stylish French Girlfriends”. It arrived very fast. It is absolutely beautiful. I sat down and read the entire book two nights ago. I very rarely do that – it is that interesting. Thanks for writing it and sharing.

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Marilyn December 10, 2015 - 1:27 am

That looks utterly delicious!

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Michelle in Illinois December 10, 2015 - 6:29 pm

Thank you for the recipe, I too would like to give this a try.
I had read once that the “majority” of French purchase this cake, instead of making it themselves. Curious if this is true?
If I recall the same article stated that the French also do not make their own bread, because of all the boulangeries.
I have yet to find a recipe for French croissants like we had in France. I have tried several and my husband will taste and say it is good, but different than the French croissants. Great excuse to come back, although I need none. 🙂

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[email protected] In My Tree December 10, 2015 - 7:47 pm

My sister use to make one of those every Christmas and the entire family loved it because it tastes sooo good

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Marian from England December 11, 2015 - 11:42 am

It looks yummy! Sharon, can you tell me what cake flour is and what equivalent I can use in England? Plain? Also Confectioners Sugar – is that Icing Sugar? Thanks.

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Alexander December 13, 2015 - 12:32 pm

While I’m not sure of the cake flour in England (sorry), confectioner’s sugar is icing sugar/powdered sugar!

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Gooey Cinnamon Rolls | alexanderoberts December 14, 2015 - 4:05 pm

[…] Bûche de Noël taking up an entire shelf of your tiny French refrigerator. Your conscience says no, but your body and your heart say yes and before you know it, you’ve blacked out and eaten enough for six people. Just kidding, what? Of course I would never do that. That’s just ridiculous… […]

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Gooey Cinnamon Rolls | Alexander Roberts December 14, 2015 - 8:09 pm

[…] Bûche de Noël taking up an entire shelf of your tiny French refrigerator. Your conscience says no, but your body and your heart say yes and before you know it, you’ve blacked out and eaten enough for six people. Just kidding, what? Of course I would never do that. That’s just ridiculous… […]

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Emm December 15, 2015 - 3:01 am

Sharon and Alex,
I want to try this for a gathering later this month, but some of the people who will be there can’t eat milk products.

Would soy milk work as well?
And is there a substitute for the heavy cream?

If I can make good substitutions, I’ll try. If not, I’ll skip it for now. Thanks.

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Christmas in the French Countryside | Alexander Roberts December 26, 2015 - 2:38 pm

[…] plastic Christmas trees. In case you missed it, I made a much more elegant bûche de Noël for My French Country Home. Click the link to see […]

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