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Dessert Recipes

This Festive and Easy Cocoa Yule Log Recipe Will Be Your Holiday Centerpiece

In remembrance of an ancient tradition where people would collect and burn logs in the fireplace all throughout the Christmas season, the yule log cake was born. Also known as Buche de Noel, this treat originated in France and is now a staple at many holiday tables worldwide. Our easy version consists of a homemade chocolate sponge cake baked in a sheet pan topped with a quick, from-scratch buttercream filling, rolled into a log and topped with chocolate frosting – talk about yum! Then, let the decorating begin as you score the frosting with a fork. To finish, top with sugared cranberries for a pop of color. Once the cake is cut, the sweet slices reveal a surprise swirl that is sure to win oohs and aahs from your guests.

Make Your Own Sugared Cranberries

Up the wow factor without a lot of work – these sugared cranberries are surprisingly easy. To make, place a rack over a rimmed baking sheet. In a large pot, bring 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil. Let simmer until sugar is dissolved, about 2 min. Let cool 1-2 min. Stir in 1½ cups fresh cranberries. Using a slotted spoon, transfer berries to rack. Spread cranberries out over rack; let dry 1 hr. Spread sugar over a rimmed baking sheet. Working in batches, lightly roll cranberries in sugar. Transfer to another baking sheet and let dry.

Related: 7 Ways to Save Money Shopping For Holiday Baked Goods


12 servings

Total Time

Prep Time


  • ¾ cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup + ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder + additional
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 5 eggs, at room temp.
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1¾ cups butter, at room temp., + 2 Tbs., melted
  • 3½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 Tbs. + ⅓ cup milk
  • Sugared cranberries


Heat oven to 375ºF. Grease 17”x11” rimmed baking sheet. Line with parchment paper; coat with cooking spray. Mix flour, ¼ cup cocoa and salt. On medium-high speed, beat eggs and granulated sugar until mixture is thick and fluffy, 4-5 min. Fold in flour mixture 1/3 at a time. In separate bowl, fold 2 Tbs. melted butter into 1 cup batter; fold back into batter. Spread batter in pan. Bake until set, 7-8 min.

Loosen cake edges. Sprinkle kitchen towel with cocoa; invert hot cake onto towel. Peel off paper; sprinkle with cocoa powder. Starting with one short side, roll up cake with towel. Cool on rack.

On medium speed, beat 1¾ cups butter until fluffy, 2 min. On low, beat in confectioners’ sugar, then 3 Tbs. milk; on medium-high, beat until fluffy, 1-2 min. Transfer 1¾ cups frosting to separate bowl. On low, beat remaining 2/3 cup cocoa into remaining frosting. Add remaining 1/3 cup milk; beat until fluffy, 1-2 min. Unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cake with reserved white frosting. Starting with one short side, roll up cake jelly roll style. Diagonally cut 3”x1½” slice from one end. Place larger cake on platter. With some of chocolate frosting, attach slice as shown. Spread cake with remaining frosting. Using fork, score frosting. Garnish with sugared cranberries and, if desired, sugared rosemary.


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