Yule Log

The Yule Log
The Yule Log

The Druids would bless a log and keep it burning for 12 days during the winter solstice; part of the log was kept for the following year, when it would be used to light the new yule log. For the Vikings, the yule log was an integral part of their celebration of the solstice, the julfest; on the log they would carve runes representing unwanted traits (such as ill fortune or poor honor) that they wanted the gods to take from them.

The Yule log is also a symbol of honor and respect paid to the spirits of the forest. A large, fine log was selected and decorated with pine cones and evergreens, and placed ceremoniously in the family hearth. It was then lit with a piece of last year’s Yule log as a symbol of the return of the sun.

Today, when many do not have the fireplace to burn a true log a cake is made to represent this old tradition. The cake is often a sponge cake made thin, iced and rolled. The outside of the rolled cake is then iced to look like a log.

Yule Log

Ingredients

  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Mocha Cream Filling:

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee granules

Mocha Butter Cream Frosting:

  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon brewed coffee
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Directions

  1. Line a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan with parchment paper; grease the paper. Place egg whites in a small mixing bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks on high until light and fluffy. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar, beating until thick and lemon-colored. Combine flour, cocoa and salt; gradually add to egg yolk mixture until blended.
  2. Beat egg whites on medium until foamy. Add cream of tartar; beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar, beating on high until stiff peaks form. Stir a fourth into chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining egg whites until no streaks remain.
  3. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12-15 minutes or until cake springs back (do not over bake). Cool for 5 minutes; invert onto a linen towel dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Peel off parchment paper. Roll up in the towel, starting with a short side. Cool on a wire rack. In a mixing bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add sugar and coffee granules. Beat until stiff peaks form; chill. Unroll cooled cake; spread filling to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up again. Place on serving platter; chill.
  4. In a mixing bowl, beat frosting ingredients until smooth. Frost cake. Using a fork, make lines resembling tree bark.
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