This recipe is kindly sponsored by Menier Chocolate.
About this recipe
- FLAVOUR: this recipe combines a trio of yummy flavours; rich chocolate, nutty hazelnuts and sweet and salty caramel.
- TEXTURE: the chocolate sponge is melt-in-your-mouth light. The filling is soft and creamy with a little added crunch from the hazelnuts.
- EASE: on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the hardest), I’d give this recipe a 6. Honestly, it’s not as complicated as you might think; the only tricky part is flipping the cake and rolling it while still warm. More on this later.
- PERFECT FOR: Christmas parties, family gatherings or even on Christmas Day after your roast dinner!
Chocolate yule log ingredients
Cocoa powder – choose a good-quality one for a rich, chocolatey sponge. My personal favourite is Menier 100% Cocoa Powder; it has no added sugar, which gives you more control over the sweetness of the recipe.
Eggs – 6 medium eggs are used to make the sponge. The eggs are separated into yolks and whites and whisked separately before coming together.
Caster sugar – is used to sweeten the sponge.
Double cream – used for both the whipped cream filling and to make the chocolate ganache.
Salted caramel – added to the whipped cream filling. Use a shop-bought salted caramel (like Jude’s) to make things easier.
Hazelnuts – choose roasted chopped hazelnuts to save you from doing the chopping.
Dark chocolate – is used to make the ganache. Always use a bar of high-quality chocolate when making ganache, like Menier 70% Dark Chocolate. It’s rich and velvety but not too bitter.
Butter – added to the ganache to give it a little more richness and help it shine.
How to make a chocolate yule log
I’ll let you in on a secret, a chocolate yule log may look super fancy, but they’re surprisingly easy to make. There is quite a lot of mixing and rolling the cake can be a little tricky, but the recipe overall is pretty straightforward. Here’s a quick overview:
- Whisk the egg yolks and half the sugar in a large bowl until pale and thick. Sift in the cocoa powder and mix everything together to make a thick chocolate mixture.
- Whisk the egg whites and sugar together in a separate bowl on high speed for 4-5 minutes to make a thick, glossy meringue. Gradually add to the chocolate mixture, folding gently in a figure-of-eight motion until combined.
- Pour into a lined baking tray and spread the mixture into an even layer. Bake for 12 minutes.
- Meanwhile, dust a clean tea towel or greaseproof paper with cocoa powder. Take the cake out of the oven and immediately run a knife around the edges. Then flip the baking tray upside down over the tea towel. the sponge should fall out easily. Peel off the greaseproof paper.
- Starting from a short edge, roll the sponge up and leave it to cool completely inside the tea towel for about 1 hour. This allows the sponge to set in a rolled shape as it cools down, preventing it from cracking.
- While the sponge is cooling, make the chocolate ganache by melting the chopped dark chocolate, cream and butter together in the microwave until smooth and glossy. Leave to cool for 30-40 minutes, then whisk for a couple of minutes until light and fluffy.
- Whip the cream and salted caramel to soft peaks and spread over the sponge. Scatter over the chopped hazelnuts and roll the cake up again.
- Slice a quarter of the sponge off on an angle, and use a spoonful of cream to stick it to the side of the cake. This will make the yule log look more log-like.
- Spread the ganache over the cake and use the tip of the palette knife (or a fork) to make lines in the ganache, so it looks like a log.
- Add your decorative touches such as frosted cranberries, rosemary sprigs and edible fondant pieces. Slice and enjoy!
Recipe tips and troubleshooting
- Sift in the cocoa powder to remove any lumps. Any lumps in the cake mixture will cause the sponge to crack when it’s rolled up.
- When whisking the egg whites, ensure your mixing bowl and whisk are spotlessly clean and dry. Any leftover residue or liquid will prevent the egg whites from reaching stiff peaks.
- The egg whites need to be whisked to stiff, and I mean stiff, peaks. The thicker, the better. This usually takes 4-5 minutes with the mixer on the highest setting, You can test the consistency by holding the bowl upside down, if the meringue stays put, it’s ready.
- When folding in the egg whites, do this slowly and gently in a figure-of-eight motion to prevent deflating the air whisked into the egg whites.
- To prevent the sponge from cracking, roll it up inside a tea towel or greaseproof paper as soon as it’s out of the oven. Doing this allows the cake to set as it cools in a roll shape.
- Generously dust the tea towel or greaseproof paper with cocoa powder to stop the sponge from sticking to it once it’s been rolled up.
- Be careful not to overheat the ganache ingredients in the microwave. If the cream gets too hot, it will split and turn the ganache grainy or slimy. It’s best to microwave in 30-second blasts, giving the bowl a swirl to see if the chocolate is melting.
- If the ganache splits, turns grainy or looks slimy, add another 25-50ml of cream and keep stirring to bring it back together again.
- Be careful not to over-whisk the cream as this will make it grainy. It’s best to stop as soon as the cream looks thick and has a cloud-like pillowy appearance.
Yule log decoration ideas
There are lots of different ways you can decorate a chocolate yule log. From a simple dusting of icing sugar to something more elaborate, here are a few ideas:
- Frosted cranberries – check out my recipe on TikTok.
- Frosted rosemary sprigs
- Edible fondant decorations like holly or gingerbread men
- Gold stars, edible glitter or sprinkles
- Chocolate curls
- Meringue mushrooms
- Or keep things simple with just a dusting of icing sugar
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Chocolate, Hazelnut & Caramel Yule Log
For the chocolate sponge
- 6 medium Eggs separated into yolks and whites
- 200 g Caster sugar
- 50 g Cocoa powder plus a little extra for dusting
For the cream filling
- 250 ml Double cream use cold from the fridge
- 4 tbsp Salted caramel
- 50 g Chopped hazelnuts
For the chocolate ganache
- 100 g 70% Dark chocolate
- 100 ml Double cream
- 25 g Unsalted butter
For the decorations
- Icing sugar for dusting
- Frosted cranberries (check out my recipe on TikTok)
- Frosted rosemary sprigs
- Edible fondant decoration
- Gold stars, edible glitter or sprinkles
- Meringue mushrooms
Start by making the chocolate sponge
- Preheat the oven to 170°C (fan). Grease and line the base of a rectangular 15×10 inch baking tray.
- Whisk the egg yolks and half of the caster sugar (100g) for roughly 5 minutes until thick and pale. You can do this by hand, but it's easier to use an electric whisk. Now sift in the cocoa powder and mix again until combined.
- In a separate bowl, use an electric handheld whisk or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment to whisk the egg whites on high speed for 3-4 minutes until they're white, thick and pillowy. With the mixer still on, slowly pour in the remaining 100g caster sugar and keep whisking for another 2 minutes to make a stiff, glossy meringue. You can test if the meringue is the correct consistency by holding the bowl upside down; if it stays put, it's ready. Do this at your own risk!
- Spoon roughly a quarter of the meringue into the chocolate mixture, then use a spatular or large metal spoon to gently fold in a figure-of-eight motion until combined. Now add the rest of the meringue and keep folding until everything is thoroughly combined. Do this slowly and be careful not to over-mix, as you want to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.
- Pour into the baking tray and spread the mixture into an even layer. Bake for 12 minutes until risen and puffy. While the cake is in the oven, lay a clean tea towel or piece of greaseproof paper on a worktop and generously dust with cocoa powder.
- When the cake is out of the oven, immediately run a knife around the edges to peel the cake away from the sides. Then quickly flip the baking tray upside down over the tea towel. The cake should fall out onto the cocoa powder.
- Peel off the greaseproof paper. Starting from one of the short edges, roll the sponge up using the tea towel. Leave to cool completely inside the tea towel for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the chocolate ganache
- Very finely chop the dark chocolate and place it in a microwave-safe bowl, with the cream and butter.
- Microwave for 60 seconds then give the bowl a swirl. Microwave for another 30 seconds until the chocolate is melting and the cream is piping hot. Once you reach this stage, stir the mixture until all the chocolate melts and the ganache is smooth and glossy. Set aside and leave to cool and thicken for 30-40 minutes.
- Beat the ganache with an electric whisk to make it light and fluffy.
Once the cake is cool, make the filling
- Use an electric whisk to whisk the cream on high speed for 2-3 minutes until it reaches soft, pillowy peaks.
- Add the salted caramel sauce and continue to whisk for another 20-30 seconds to combine. Be careful not to over-whisk as the cream will split and turn grainy.
Fill, roll and decorate
- Carefully unroll the cooled cake and spread the whipped cream on top. Scatter over the chopped hazelnuts, and roll the sponge back up from the short edge.
- Slice off one-quarter of the roll on an angle and use a bit of cream to stick it to the side of the big roll.
- Spread the whipped ganache all over the cake and use the tip of a palette knife or a fork to drag lines through the ganache to make it look like a log.
- Add your festive decorations, then slice and enjoy!
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