Sunday, January 4, 2015

Yule Log Cake, Bûche de Noël, Panj torta

This is a famous Christmas cake. In Serbia people make it for other occasions too, birthday parties for example.

Although it looks complicated, it is really easy to make and the focus is on presentation: I wanted my cake to have a very natural look of an old log, deeply in the woods, covered with snow and mushrooms, and surrounded with pine tree branches.

My preparation took a bit longer because I wanted to make chestnut filling from scratch, starting with peeled chestnuts, rather than using canned chestnut puree.

You need for the sponge:

4 large eggs, at room temperature
100g powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g all-purpose flour

For chestnut filling:

300g chestnut puree, see the recipe for homemade chestnut puree
100g whipped cream
1 tablespoon dark rum (if there is none in chestnut puree)

For the chocolate glaze:

150g dark chocolate
1/2 cup (113g) butter
1 tablespoon dark rum

For decoration: Powdered sugar, meringues, marshmallows, pine branches

For meringue mushrooms:

1 large egg white
70g powdered sugar


First make the sponge. It is same one as for the Genoise jelly roll.

Preheat the oven to 425F (220C).

Line the baking sheet (15''x10'') with parchment paper.

Mix the eggs with sugar until they triple in volume. Add salt and vanilla extract. Combine with flour using a wooden spoon, not hand mixer. Batter should be fluffy and light if you want to get soft and nice sponge.

Pour the batter onto the baking sheet, make it even, and place in the oven. Bake it for about 10 minutes, until color is light brown and the sponge springs back when touched.

Take the sponge out from the oven, let it rest for a minute. Remove it from the baking sheet, with the parchment paper, and place it over clean kitchen towel. Roll up everything together, sponge, parchment paper and kitchen towel, starting from a long side, and leave it to cool down completely. Then peel off the parchment paper.

In the meantime make the frosting. Mix together chestnut puree with whipped cream using spatula. You can reduce the amount of frosting but I love the taste of chestnut so much that I usually go wild with it.

When the sponge and frosting are completely cooled down, spread the chestnut frosting over the unrolled sponge and roll it back. Place the log on a serving plate. Cut one side of log diagonally about 2'' from the end. Place the cut on the side of the log just as you see on the pictures.

Make the chocolate glaze. I usually go with chocolate cream made of butter and chocolate, but you can use heavy cream instead of butter to get ganache. Melt chocolate over double boiler and add butter and dark rum. Cool it over a dish filled with ice. When it is tick enough, spread it over the log. Drag a fork through the glaze to get bark texture.

To make meringues mix egg white with sugar to get thick mixture. Pipe it over baking sheet lined with a parchment paper. Bake it for about one hour on 195F (90C). 


Use marshmallows for base and meringues for cap to create mushrooms. Glue those two parts using chocolate cream. Place them over and around the log. Arrange pine branches. Sprinkle powdered sugar over everything to resemble snow.


  1. Eee sta moze umjesto slaga u fili?? Imas neku ideju?

    1. Znaš kako, već u pire od kestena ide slatka pavlaka, dodatni šlag je tu da bi fil bio kremastiji, i lakše se mazao na koru. Vidi kako će da ti ispadne pire od kestena pa prema tome dodaj još mleka, recimo. Obavezno natopi koru sirupom da ti ne bi bila suva.


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