Alert! New Favorite Cake!

Last night, as I lay in bed doing research for an Eater piece, I determined that I have a new favorite cake — a cake that I’ve never tried, that I’ve never even seen IRL.

This cake is the Buche de Noel.

This is Wikipedia's picture of the Buche de Noel. Note the baker's attempt to place the log in a "natural" setting.

[Photo source: Wikipedia]

Let’s backtrack. Kate, you might be thinking, how can this be your favorite cake if you’ve never seen it, let alone tasted it? To which I will respond, do you remember when you were 13 and you knew — you just knew — that if you could orchestrate a “chance” meeting with Billy Corgan, you could totally make him fall in love with you because you were so obviously right for each other, age/occupational differences aside?

That’s how I feel about this cake. I’m certain that, were we to meet at a friend-of-a-friend’s party, we’d hit it off right away, the Buche offering to refresh my whiskey soda and laughing at my lame jokes. If cakes could only walk.

Jokes and mangled metaphors inside, I’m quite into the concept of this cake. Did you know that the cake is fashioned to look like a log to be lit during a winter solstice ceremony? That verisimilitude in such cakes is highly prized, and that the texture of bark is replicated by dragging a fork through the frosting? That powdered sugar is meant to represent snow? I didn’t, but I’m glad I do now. I’m a bit taken by all things botanical, trees especially (coniferous trees most especially, and sugar pines to the MAX); therefore, I’m understandably stoked to learn of a cake modeled after a tree. Or log, as it were.

My knowledge of this cake remains perfunctory; more research is needed, yes. Has any of you ever tried a Yule Log? If so, where did you get your recipe? Did you make a chocolate Buche, or another flavor? And did you use shaved chocolate to mimic flaky bark?

This one looks pretty realistic, in a claymation sort of way.

 [Image source]

I am daunted by the seemingly difficult process of making this cake, but I’m also drawn to the idea. To bake or not to bake? Alternatively: would any of you bake me a Yule Log?

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2 responses to “Alert! New Favorite Cake!

  1. MY MOM AND I MADE ONE ONCE. It was totally magical. I was a little kid, but I’ll never forget it. You need to make a sponge cake, and fill it with buttercream frosting (or something else, whatever you want), and then roll that fucker. Slice off a hank for the stubby bit (we sliced it off the end, and then sliced it diagonally for visual interest … and so we could eat the cut-off bit), and then GO TO TOWN with more buttercream. Do the forking, add some powdered sugar, whatevs. IT’S AMAZING. Making, having, and eating one BEATS THE MOTHEREFFING PANTS OFF a lame-o gingerbread house.
    In short, yule logs: learn it, live it, love it.

  2. What an excellent story! I well remember the cakes of my youth (including my 5th birthday cake — a chocolate sheet cake with a frosted pony).

    The more I learn about Yule Logs, the more drawn in I am. I’ve never made a sponge cake, but I have a few weeks ’til Xmas (and an overwhelming desire to learn). My favorite detail about these cakes is the sawed-off bit — I just love the detail.

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