A Christmas Classic
Yule Logs are probably well known as a classic Christmas dessert. I would bet that most people have heard of them, maybe even seen and eaten them!
With the holidays upon us, it’s still a great tradition to serve at the Christmas table. I have to admit, I wasn’t too familiar with them as a kid but have come to really love them now.
When I think of Christmas and desserts, cookies are the first thing that come to mind. All the great recipes and different flavors, colors, sprinkles, and assortments seem to give endless possibilities for holiday treats.
However, the yule log has become a feature that I have recently started to usher in for our holiday table, its such a conversation piece and so fun to make and eat. Traditionally, it usually is a chocolate cake with chocolate icing and all the great decorations that surround it. But this year I decided to try a different spin and make it vanilla.
I became reintroduced to this sweet treat when I was working in corporate catering. December was a monstrous time in the pastry shop and yule logs were flying out the door in multiple orders.
This fun candy cane yule log is dedicated and inspired by my daughter who loves vanilla cake and buttercream. She also loves everything Christmas so I decided to make it white and red, much like a candy cane and decorate it with poinsettias for a great festive look.
I use a simple recipe that takes no time at all to whip together and couldn’t be easier. I know we are all super busy during the holidays so this takes a easy shortcut and uses a boxed cake mix. We can keep that our little secret….
Easy Cake Roll
- 1 boxed white cake mix
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp peppermint extract
In a mixer, whip the eggs on high with a whisk attachment till thick and creamy ( a few minutes). Add the cake mix, water, and extract and mix well until all combined. The mixture will be slightly thick. Pour into a parchment lined, greased jelly roll baking sheet. Bake 350 for 10-12 minutes till cake is done. Remove at once and flip over onto a dry towel and immediately roll the cake up in the towel. Cool completely. Fill with buttercream.
Prepare the Batter
Let me show you how easy this was to make. I started out with the recipe and then divided the batter in half and colored one half red, and left the other plain. Then I placed each into a piping bag and snipped off the end a medium opening in order to pipe the batter.
I greased and lined a jelly roll pan with parchment and just piped rows of alternating colors vertically down the baking sheet.
Making the Pattern
After I piped the batter, I took a icing spatula, or you can use a butter knife, or even a cake tester. Starting at the top right corner, drag the knife through the batter at a diagonal about 2 inch intervals. Continuing doing this until you reach the bottom left corner. Being careful not to use too much pressure and not letting your knife hit the bottom of the sheet pan.
Repeat this procedure at the top left corner, but make diagonal lines going in the opposite direction.
I baked it 350 for about 10-11 minutes till done. Turned out so pretty!
Immediately I turned it out onto a kitchen towel and rolled it up and allowed it to cool at room temp.
Assembling the Yule Log
You can make your own icing/buttercream or even use a store bought icing if you are in a time pinch. Unroll the dough and spread the icing all over the top. I used my favorite vanilla meringue buttercream here.
I then roll it back up, wrap in saran wrap, and refrigerate for a few hours, keeping the seam side down. You could serve this as is since the pattern makes a super presentation.
I slice off the ends to trim and ice with buttercream. I drag a fork down the log to give it that authentic look.
I pipe poinsettia flowers with buttercream, freeze them till firm, and use to decorate the top along with an assortment of sprinkles and decorations.
The best part is cutting into that first piece. We were all excited to see what the inside would look like with the piping and pattern technique. It was really so cool and it tasted fantastic! It reminded me of a checkerboard cake. The cake was so light and fluffy along with the creamy buttercream.
I’m happy to report that my daughter LOVED it and it was a great desert to share during this holiday season.
I hope I’ve inspired you to try your hand at this traditional Christmas classic. It’s such a great dessert for family and company. Make it a tradition at your table this holiday!