Hairy Bikers Yule log recipe

(1500 ratings)

The Hairy Bikers Yule log recipe is a must-bake over the festive season and it only takes 55 minutes.

Hairy Bikers yule log recipe
(Image credit: Cristian Barnett / The Hairy Bikers' 12 Days of Christmas)
  • healthy
Preparation Time30 mins (including icing, plus cooling and chilling time))
Cooking Time25 mins
Total Time55 mins
Cost RangeMid
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories467 Kcal23%
Sugar48.9 g54%
Fat27 g39%
Saturated Fat15.9 g80%
Salt0.52 gRow 4 - Cell 2
Protein6.8 g14%
Carbohydrates50.2 g19%
Salt0.52 gRow 7 - Cell 2

This Hairy Bikers Yule log recipe is under 500 calories per person and makes an excellent alternative to Christmas pudding if you want a chocolatey festive dessert. 

Nothing says Christmas like a Yule log and this recipe from Si and Dave is rich and indulgent with a hint of coffee flavour. The cake serves 8-10 people but leftovers will keep for a couple of days. Try serving it with some double cream if you want to enjoy it for dessert but it’s also delicious as it is. 


  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 200g dark chocolate, broken into squares
  • 200g icing sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 200g butter, room temperature plus more for greasing
  • 2 tbsp Camp chicory and coffee essence
  • Holly-shaped icing leaves, to decorate (optional) 




  1. Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan, Gas 4). Lightly grease a 23 x 33cm Swiss roll tin with a little butter then line with baking parchment and set aside.
  2. Put the egg yolks and caster sugar in a large bowl and whisk with an electric beater until thick and creamy. Sift the cocoa powder over the egg mixture and whisk in thoroughly. Wash and dry the beaters and whisk the egg whites until stiff. Fold a third of the egg whites into the cocoa mixture, then gently fold in the rest until evenly distributed. Pour the mixture into the tin and spread gently with a spatula. Bake for 20–25 minutes or until well risen and beginning to shrink away from the sides of the tin.
  3. Remove the cake from the oven, loosen the edges with a round-bladed knife and leave to stand for a few minutes. Place a piece of baking parchment on the work surface, turn the cake onto the parchment and leave it to cool completely – 30–40 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, make the icing. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, or in the microwave. Remove from the heat and leave to cool, but do not allow it to set. Put the icing sugar in a food processor, add the butter and blitz until smooth. Add the coffee essence and 2 tablespoons of melted chocolate, then blend until smooth. Make sure the chocolate is cool, or it will melt the butter.
  5. Take just over half the icing mixture out of the processor and put it in a bowl to use for the filling. With the motor running, slowly add the remaining chocolate to the icing mixture in the processor and blend until smooth. This will be used for icing the cake.
  6. When the cake is cool, trim off the crusty edges. Using a palette knife or spatula, spread the filling over the cake, taking it right to the edges. Starting at one of the long sides, gently roll up the sponge, keeping the first roll fairly tight so it forms a good spiral shape. Spread the icing evenly over the cake and drag a fork through it to resemble the ridges on the bark of a tree.
  7. Chill for at least 30 minutes to allow the icing to set. Decorate your chocolate log with sifted icing sugar, if you like. 

Top tips for making the Hairy Bikers Yule log

Instead of making one long log, if you want to make it look like a tree trunk, cut a third of the cake off once it is filled and rolled. Use some of the icing to stick it to the side of the longer log then spread over the icing as instructed. We’d avoid decorating with real holly as the berries are toxic and the leaves are very pointy. Festive decorations make a nice alternative or mini gingerbread people are a cute choice.  

How do you roll a yule log?

The best way to roll your yule log sponge base is to do so while it's still warm from the oven. By doing this the cake will be able to remember the form when you roll it a second time with the filling. 

First dust your cake with a little cocoa powder so it doesn't stick to the surface, and carefully flip the cake out of the baking tin and onto a tea towel - make sure to leave about an inch and a half of the tea towel on one side.

Using the side of the tea towel that extended past the cake, gently and tightly start to roll your cake. Don't worry about the tea towel being rolled up in the cake as you'll soon unroll it to put the filling inside. Let your cake cool whilst in its rolled-up position for at least half an hour to help keep its rolled form.

How do you stop a Yule log from cracking?

Follow the above method and roll the log while it’s still warm. Rolling the log with a tea towel helps to absorb any steam and keeps the sponge from going soggy.

How do you decorate a Yule log?

Glaze your cake with chocolate buttercream or frosting as thickly or thinly as you like. Then take a fork and drag it across the surface of the icing, creating grooves down the cake - try to vary longer streaks and shorter streaks.

This will help to create a bark-like texture and your Yule log will look much more like a log of wood. You can then dust your cake with a little icing sugar to give the impression of freshly fallen snow.

What is the difference between a yule log and a Swiss roll?

Yule log cakes are decorated to look like a log, such as the ones traditionally burnt on Christmas Eve in some parts of Europe. Yule logs are almost always flavoured with chocolate and are only served at Christmas. A Swiss roll can be any flavour, isn’t decorated like a log, and maybe served year-round.

The Hairy Bikers' 12 Days of Christmas: Fabulous Festive Recipes to Feed Your Family and FriendsView at Amazon

The Hairy Bikers' 12 Days of Christmas: Fabulous Festive Recipes to Feed Your Family and Friends by The Hairy Bikers (Orion, £25) - View at Amazon

Host a delicious Hairy Bikers Christmas and cook from this 12 Days of Christmas cookbook. There’s a get-ahead gravlax which makes an excellent starter plus options for the main course too. 

Our classic chocolate swiss roll is a great option if you don’t want any coffee flavour, as is our chocolate log. You might also want to explore more Hairy Bikers recipes. They have a recipe for almost every occasion! 

Hairy Bikers

Simon King and David Myers are the fantastic duo that make up the Hairy Bikers and are best known as Si and Dave. The Hairy Bikers have several cookbooks published including How to Love Food and Lose Weight and Eat for Life. Hairy Biker recipes are always triple tested and try to be as fuss-free as possible so you can trust the timings. Si and Dave have also had several hit cooking shows as they remain as one of the UK’s favourite cookery duos.

With contributions from