Take Christmas to the next level with this highly detailed Yule log cake, complete with wood-grain pattern and chocolate pinecones.

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Ingredients

For the Cakes
For the Assembly

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Make the cakes: Line two 9-by-13-inch rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper, and lightly coat with spray. Beat egg yolks with a mixer on high speed until pale yellow and thick, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.

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  • Beat egg whites in a clean mixer bowl on medium speed until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Raise speed to medium-high; slowly add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.

  • Fold yolks into egg-white mixture using a rubber spatula, being careful not to deflate whites. Sift cocoa and flour over top; gently fold to combine. Pour into prepared sheets, and gently smooth tops using an offset spatula.

  • Bake until cakes spring back when touched, 9 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, line 2 wire racks with parchment paper, and lightly coat with spray. Remove cakes from oven, and immediately turn out each onto a prepared rack. Peel parchment from cakes. Let stand until cooled completely.

  • Assemble the cakes: Place 2 clean kitchen towels on work surface, and transfer each cake (with parchment) to a towel. Divide caramel cream evenly between cakes. Spread, using an offset spatula, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges.

  • Tightly roll 1 cake into a log, starting with a short end, removing parchment as you work. Tightly wrap log in kitchen towel. Repeat with remaining cake. Transfer wrapped logs, seam side down, to a baking sheet, and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

  • Unwrap each log. Lightly dust work surface with cornstarch or confectioners' sugar. Roll out half the fondant to 1/4-inch thickness. Place an 8-by-12-inch food-safe wood-grain texture mat on fondant, and press hard, using a rolling pin, to make an indentation. Gently remove mat, and generously rub fondant with cocoa. Brush off excess cocoa.

  • Drape 1 cake log with fondant sheet. Shape fondant to fit log using your hands, and trim ends and cut away excess with a paring knife or a pizza cutter. Transfer to a serving platter. Repeat with remaining fondant, cocoa, and cake log. Serve with sugared white pine needles and milk-chocolate pinecones if desired.

Reviews (2)

136 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 26
  • 4 star values: 40
  • 3 star values: 51
  • 2 star values: 16
  • 1 star values: 3
Rating: Unrated
12/24/2012
I agree with HollyMcA. I don't mind the labor if the end result is superior to the simpler recipes. I found the cake too thick and difficult to roll (mine cracked as I let it cool too long), I would've used the flourless cake recipe I found elsewhere had I known. I over-whipped the ganache, it should be left a little runny so you can do a design. The filling was a little runny, next time I'll use Julia Child's mousse recipe... Tasted great though, just didn't look as nice as the picture.
Rating: Unrated
12/25/2011
This recipe was very labor and time intensive. It got good reviews from my family, but I thought it was too sweet. The caramel cream was very good, but the cake was too moist. I didn't attempt the fondant since I've only ever used it once. In my opinion, there are other good recipes out there that that are less work. At least now I can say I've tried making a yule log once in my life.