"Buche de Noel is the French name for a Christmas cake shaped like a log.
This is a traditional French dessert served after the main Christmas dinner, a roll of light sponge cake, covered in chocolate or coffee butter cream textured to resemble bark as an evocation of the ancient tradition of burning the Yule log.
The origin of the tradition comes from the rather enormous and very dense log that was burned in the hearth as a part of traditional Christmas celebrations. It sometimes consisted of an entire tree trunk with one end burning inside the hearth while the rest of the trunk stuck out into the room. The log was specially selected for the occasion, originally to mark the winter solstice, and carried in the main room to provide maximum lasting and reassuring warmth. It must have been quite an event.
Nowadays every French home will have its Bûche de Noël in the form of the traditional cake made from a Génoise or sponge cake, generally baked in a large, shallow pan, then rolled into a cylinder, frosted and decorated. Many variations of this cake are now available including some that are not cakes at all but made of sorbet, ice cream or elaborate confections and come in a multitude of flavor combinations.
Ingredients for 12 servings