The Hairy Bikers’ Yule log recipe is one of our most popular Christmas desserts. Top with holly, edible glitter, or simply sprinkle with icing sugar snow for a festive finish.
Light fluffy chocolate Swiss roll, covered in delicious chocolate icing and sprinkled in ‘snowy’ coconut. This yule log from the Hairy Bikers couldn’t be more Christmassy. A Yule log is a great alternative to a Christmas pudding and can be made as a Christmas Eve treat. Unlike Christmas pud, it doesn’t need to be made weeks in advance and doesn’t require hours of steaming – in fact, this recipe takes just 55 minutes to prepare.
- Soft butter for greasing
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 150g caster sugar
- 50g cocoa powder
- 200g plain, dark chocolate, broken into squares
- 200g icing sugar
- 200g butter, room temperature
- 2 tbsp Camp chicory and coffee essence
- Fresh holly leaves or leaves made from ready-to-roll coloured icing
- Icing sugar or desiccated coconut
Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Line a 23 x 33cm Swiss roll tin with baking parchment, grease with a little butter and set aside.
Put the egg yolks and 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 but not dry. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Chill for at least 30 minutes to allow the icing to set. Decorate your chocolate log with sifted icing sugar.
Top tips for making Hairy Bikers’ chocolate Yule log recipe
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.
What does a yule log taste like?
Yule logs feature a light chocolate flavoured sponge and thick buttercream. It’s a rich, chocolatey cake perfect for the festive season.