The Yule Log cake is a ritualistic Christmas cake that dates back to the 19th century. This cake was inspired by the Nordic tradition of burning the yule log through the Twelve Days of Christmas, and the recipe was first introduced by French pastry chef Pierre Lacan in the late 1800s. Burning the yule log was a custom that started a very long time ago in Scandinavia and other regions in Northern Europe. To prepare for the ceremony, a tree will be carefully chosen by the family and then cut down. The largest end of the log would be fed into the fireplace, and the burning will last to the rest of the season.
Through wars and invasions of the Vikings, the tradition of burning the yule log spread further South to many other European countries. In France, this custom was slightly different. Instead of sticking one end of the log into the fire while leaving the rest of the log hanging in the middle of the room, family members will cut down the log and burn each bit every night. As this tradition was widely adopted all over Europe, different countries used different kinds of wood. The French used Cherry trunks to burn, and the best part was that they often sprinkled the log with wine so that it smells nice when it is lit. In England, Oak is the most popular so the English used oak logs to burn. The logs were often dried and the bark was taken off before the logs headed to the fire. Also in the UK, the barrel makers used to give away old logs that they could not use to make barrels so that people could bring them home and burn them as yule logs. In Scotland, the kind of wood used was birch wood, and this was also the reason why their yule log cake looked like a birch log instead. The Scottish named their yule log cake Birch Bark Yule Log.
What is Yule Log Cake made of? The main components of a Yule Log cake are cake, buttercream, chocolate, and some edible decorations of your choice. Though these ingredients are typical for a cake recipe, the way Yule Log cake is assembled makes it stand out from the rest of the ordinary cakes. First of all, the type of cake that shapes the Yule Log is a flat sponge cake. The reason it is flat is that we can roll it to make the shape of a log. This sponge cake is more fluffy than a standard American cake. If it is too dense and thick, it will break when we roll it. The buttercream for Yule Log cake can be chocolate flavor or vanilla flavor. Nowadays, people often assemble a Yule Log cake with chocolate mousse or whatever mousse they like instead of buttercream. To garnish, a Yule Log cake must always represent the wood. Woodsy decorations such as mushrooms, snow, dust, stones, moss, or green leaves are a must. These decorations are made of edible ingredients as well. The Yule Log cake is surely an attraction at any party. Though it looks like an old log in the forest, everybody will love it as it is both delicious and super instagramable.
Right now seems to be a little too early to start making a Christmas cake, but because creativity has no boundaries, so instead of waiting till Christmas to share this cake with your friends and family, try making it for your next gathering. Instead of using Christmas-themed decorations, make some edible moss to garnish your log, add a couple of modeling chocolate animals or flowers, some chocolate rocks, and voila, you have just created a Jungle-themed log cake.