In today’s post, the classic chocolate yule log recipe receives a modern update in design, but still packs loads of delicious flavor for the holiday season. Inspired by a birch bark log, this White Birch Yule Log will be a wow-worthy dessert for your holiday celebration.
White Birch Yule Log:
Yes, my friends, I’m back with another yule log cake recipe for you! This one has a bit of a backstory.
If you’ve been following IBC for a while, you might remember back in 2016 when I made this stunning Pink Velvet Yule Log recipe. It turned out better than I could have ever imagined. Well, flash forward three years, and the yule log recipe is now in Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Ideas Magazine. (You can read about this article here.) I still have a hard time believing this happened, but I have visual proof to remind myself. (Yes, that’s a picture of me holding this exact yule log cake. So surreal!)
The folks at BHG wanted to include my yule log in the article, but pink didn’t work with my green and red Christmas decor. That’s when I challenged myself to create the same recipe, but with a different look. Inspired by some of the decor in my living room and the birch bark logs in my fireplace, I opted for a Birch Yule Log.
I took my Pink Velvet Yule Log recipe, and with a few simple changes, I created this!
I love recipes like this one because they allow you to get creative. Just by changing the food coloring and using different baking chips, I had a stunning yule log cake with a whole new look. Want it red? Go red! Green? Do it!
Pretty fun, right?
How to Make a Yule Log:
Whenever I’m working on a new recipe for the blog, I typically like to do it the day time so I can snap pictures along the way. (I like to shoot in natural light.) However, because of the schedule of my magazine shoot with BHG, I had to bake this recipe at night. While I have lots of pictures of the completed cake, I don’t have process shots.
However, if you’re a visual learner like me, you’re in luck because when I made my Pink Velvet Yule Log recipe, I took lots of pictures throughout the process. You can check out that post here for a visual presentation on how to make a yule log.
Although it looks pretty fancy, it’s fairly simple. My biggest tip (which is noted in the recipe below) is to pre-roll the cake when it comes out of the oven. This prevents it from cracking and splitting after you add the frosting/filling and attempt to roll it up again. However, since this cake is frosted, a few cracks won’t matter.
I also had fun creating mushrooms for this cake. I used melted milk chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and peanut butter chips. Typically, yule log recipes call for meringue mushrooms (which I may try the next time I make one), but I wasn’t comfortable with meringue, so I went with chocolate. I dressed up the mushrooms with sprinkles and coarse sugar for a whimsical touch. I think they turned out pretty darn cute.
And that, my friends, is the Birch Yule Log Recipe for the cake that appeared in BHG!
If you’ve never made a yule log cake, I encourage you to give it a go. The process is a lot of fun, and the cake looks stunning on your holiday or Christmas table. I may even make another one this season. Stay tuned!
Want more sweet holiday treats? Try these:
- Black Walnut Christmas Cake
- Mini Skillet Cookie Cakes
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars
- Spiked Chocolate Covered Cherries
- Mini Mason Jar Cheesecakes
- Cranberry Pecan Pie
Again, you can find the recipe below. Happy baking!
Yule Log Recipe:
Birch Yule Log Recipe
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- gel food coloring - optional
- Confectioners' sugar for dusting
- 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese - softened
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter - softened
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 cups confectioners' sugar
- 15 ounces white baking chocolate - melted
- Brown gel food coloring - Optional
- Sprinkles, sugar pearls, coarse sanding sugar
- Melted white chocolate, milk chocolate, and peanut butter chips
- Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 15x10x1-inch pans with baking spray, cover with parchment paper, and then spray again.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs on high for 3-5 minutes, until pale in color. Continue beating as you slowly add the sugar. Once combined, add the oil, buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Beat to incorporate. Finally, beat in the dry ingredients until just combined.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared baking pans. Tilt the pan (or spread with a spatula) to even out the batter.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cake springs back when touched.
- While the cakes bake, lay two tea towels out on your countertop and sprinkle each towel with powdered sugar.
- When the cakes are done, immediately invert them onto the prepared towels. Remove the parchment paper and then roll the cake in the towel starting at either of the narrower ends. Set the rolled-up cake on a wire rack to cool completely. (This step is important because it will prevent your cake from cracking later when you reroll it after it's cooled.)
- In the meantime, prepare your filling. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, and salt until smooth. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and beat to combine. Gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar and white baking chocolate until smooth. Divide this frosting evenly into three bowls. (I added a bit of brown gel food color to two of the bowls because I would be using it as the filling frosting for the cakes.)
- Once the cakes have cooled, unroll them. Using two of the three bowls of frosting, spread one bowl over each of the cakes to within 1/2 inch of the edge. Roll them up again, without the towel. Place both rolls seam side down onto a large platter and refrigerate until the filling has set. This will take about 2 hours.
- Once the cakes have cooled, trim off the edges of each cake. Set one cake roll on a platter. Then cut the second cake roll to create the branches for the other cake roll. Trim the cake branches so they fit snuggly against the first cake roll.
- Divide the remaining bowl of frosting into two bowls. Use a touch of brown gel food coloring to dye the frosting in one of the bowls; leave the frosting in the other bowl white. Spoon each frosting into a separate piping bag, cut off one corner of each, and pipe lines on the cake to resemble bark. Fill in any areas where the cake connects.
- Garnish the yule log with sprinkles, sugar pearls, and coarse sanding sugar for sparkle.
- To create chocolate mushrooms, put melted white chocolate, melted milk chocolate, and melted peanut butter chips into separate piping bags. Pipe the desired shapes onto wax paper. Sprinkle with coarse sanding sugar or add sugar pearls to the mushroom shapes before the chocolate sets for added interest. Allow the chocolate to cool completely, and then tuck them into your yule log.