Bûche de Noël

Bûche de Noël

A traditional log-shaped cake called the buche de Noël, which means 'Christmas Log' or 'Yule Log' is served during the Christmas festivities made of chocolate and chestnuts. This is representative of the special wood log burned from Christmas Eve to New Year's Day which, in days of old, part was used to make the wedge for the plough as good luck for the coming harvest. It was an innovative French pastry chef (in the late 1800s) who came up with the idea of replacing the real 'yule' log with a cake that was log shaped.

If you want to stick with tradition, then a rich chocolate and chestnut sponge decorated with 'mushrooms' is the order of the day. Alternatively, you can keep it simple and just make a chocolate Swiss roll and then decorate it with chocolate butter icing to look like bark (you don't have to be an artist). You can also add hazelnuts or orange liquour if you want to do something a little different.

It seems it's rather like handwriting : everyone's is different !

Bûche de Noël

Here is the recipe for the real macoy.


  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 150g, caster sugar, plus extra to taste
  • 60g cocoa powder
  • 1 x 415g tin of chestnut purée / crème de marrons
  • 4 whole candied chestnuts (marrons glacé), roughly chopped
  • 2tsp brandy
  • 300 ml double cream
  • icing sugar, for dusting
  • 100g dark chocolate, (minimum 60% cocoa content), melted


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4.
  2. Whisk together the egg yolks and caster sugar until smooth and creamy. Beat in the cocoa powder.
  3. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold into the cocoa mixture.
  4. Spread the mixture evenly into a baking parchment-lined Swiss roll tin.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, cover with a clean tea-towel and set aside to cool in the tin.
  6. Mix together the chestnut puree, melted dark chocolate and brandy and sweeten with sugar to taste.
  7. Spread the chestnut mixture evenly over the chocolate sponge. Whip the cream until stiff. Spread the whipped cream evenly over the chestnut mixture. Sprinkle the chopped candied chestnuts all over.
  8. Carefully roll up the chocolate sponge over the filling.
  9. Decorate to your heart's content !