Festive Yule Log or Tree Trunk Cake

The good thing when you get married to somebody from another country is that you can start your own traditions. I got married to a Colombian 12 years ago, but we have been living in Germany since the start. Christmas is traditionally something we have discussed extensively. I have explained the difference between Colombian and German Christmas in this blog post. Man, we have discussed so many things, should it be the traditional bird as is common in Germany or should we go for the many snacks Colombians like to serve for Christmas? Should we make tamales, which is corn, veggies and meat steamed in banana leaves and which require a lot of work? Should we focus on the gifts instead or spend hours on the food? One thing we have learned over the years is that what works best for us is to create new traditions. Traditions that are neither German nor Colombian, but just us. New traditions we like and enjoy.

One of the new traditions is making everything from gingerbread. Either as tree ornaments, tiny houses you can place on your mug, and this year for the first time an entire advent wreath made from gingerbread houses. If you ask me, you could probably build an entire house from gingerbread, it is extremely versatile.

A few years ago we started another tradition. We both enjoy the French “Bûche de Noël”, which is a cake in the form of a tree trunk or yule log. Traditionally it is served for Christmas. Since we both love sponge rolls, (for that reason I introduced a raspberry sponge roll for our anniversary), I knew we would enjoy the tree trunk as well. Last year I made the vertical version (see also recipe below),  the year beforehand I made the traditional yule log. Whichever version you choose, I am sure you will love it.

Our tree trunks or yule logs, on the left from 2021 and on the right from 2020

Yes, this is definitely a dessert quite a lot of work and time. However, I do like the fact that you can actually start a few days in advance. This means that you can actually be stress-free on Christmas. This time I decided to go for a nougat version. It is pretty decadent, but for Christmas I see this as an opportunity to present a festive and impressive cake. I also have a tiramisu sponge roll on the blog. If you prefer that, please feel free to use that recipe instead. This one has meringue mushrooms for decoration as well as rosemary and cranberries that were first brushed with egg white and then rolled in sugar.

Credit: Inspired by Stylesweet and Zungenzirkus (in German)

Yule Log or Tree Trunk Cake for Christmas

Prep Time: 2hr Cooking Time: 100min Total Time: 3hr 40min

This yule log or tree trunk cake contains a sponge cake, filled with cranberry preserves and nougat filling.


  • Sponge Roll
  • 5 eggs at room temperature, important: eggs have to be at room temperature
  • 100 grams of regular sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt
  • 75 grams of all-purpose flour
  • 30 grams of cornstarch

  • Filling and Outside Frosting
  • 140 + 200 grams of heavy cream
  • 125 grams nougat
  • 100 grams of semi-sweet chocolate
  • 60 grams of butter
  • About 300-400 grams of cranberry preserves

  • Mushrooms
  • 1 egg white
  • A pinch of salt
  • 50 grams of regular sugar

  • Decorations
  • Cranberries, rosemary, green pistachios, egg whiite, and sugar



For the sponge roll preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius and prepare a regular baking sheet with parchment paper. Just make sure the parchment paper covers the whole sheet.


Then divide the eggs. Use a bigger bowl for the egg yolks. Add 60 grams sugar to the yolks and 40 grams to the whites, also add the vanilla extract to the egg yolks. Measure the flour and cornstarch into a smaller bowl. First beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form, don't beat too long as it will be harder to fold in. Without cleaning your beater, now beat the egg yolks until thicker in consistency and paler in color.


Sift the flour and cornstarch on top of the egg yolks. Don't skip this step. It is important that the flour mix was sifted. Put one third of the beaten egg whites on top and gently mix all ingredients. Add another third of the egg whites and only fold in gently. Repeat with the last third. The idea is to lose as little air as possible. Spread on the prepared baking sheet into a rectangle and bake for 8-11 minutes. The top should look golden brown. Watch the oven carefully, it happens rather quickly. Meanwhile take a tea towel and spray with water or put in water and wring it out and put on clean surface. Once you take the sponge cake out of the oven, transfer to the towel (parchment side paper up) and take off the parchment paper. Roll up lengthwise with the towel still inside and let cool off. Don't wait too long until you roll it up, otherwise you will get cracks.


For the filling chop nogat and chocolate roughly, heat 140 grams of heavy cream until it almost boils. Stir in nougat and chocolate. Once glossy and slightly cooled, add the butter in chunks and stir. Let cool for a few hours or overnight. Then beat 200 grams of heavy cream until almost stiff, add to the cooled-off nougat and beat until stiff.


Unroll the sponge roll lengthwise. Measure and cut vertically into four equal parts, each part should be between 8-9cm. First spread the cranberry preserve on each part, then spread 2/3 of the nougat filling on them. Take one of the middle parts and roll up tightly, then place vertically on a plate. Drape another part all around the first one, continue doing this with all four parts. This is how you create the rings visible on a tree trunk. Spread the last third of the nougat cream all around, be sure not to touch the top as you want to show the rings of the tree. You can either create the bark like I did using a knife, or you can use a toothpick as I did in the previous years (see pictures). You can have the tree trunk chill again overnight. Be sure to cover airtight.


For the mushrooms beat egg white with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form, add sugar and beat on high until stiff and glossy, this takes a few minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then transfer to a piping bag and pipe first the mushroom caps and then mushroom bases on the baking sheet. Heat oven to 100 degrees Celsius and dry the mushrooms for about 90 minutes. They should come off easily from the parchment paper. Melt a little bit of chocolate. Using a sharp knife, make a hole into the back of the mushroom caps and clue the stem together with the caps with the chocolate. Let dry. If kepft in an airtight container, you can prepare the mushrooms a week in advance.


Decorate the tree trunk with pistachios mimicking moss. Brush cranberries and rosemary with egg white, then sprinkle with sugar. Adorn the tree trunk with meringue mushrooms. I like to sprinkle a bit of cocoa powder on the mushrooms to make them look more realistic. Be sure only to adorn with the mushrooms shortly before serving as they mushrooms tend to soften rather quickly. Once prepared, sprinkle everything with icing sugar.


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  • Reply
    Monday December 19th, 2022 at 09:01 AM

    Ich bin ganz verliebt in deine Torte, liebe Jenny. Ein Bûche de Noël steht bei mir auch schon lange auf der Liste, aber bisher habe ich es noch nicht geschafft, einen zu backen.
    Liebe Grüße und schöne Weihnachten.

    • Reply
      Monday December 19th, 2022 at 09:30 AM

      Danke dir, hoffentlich hast du auch schöne Weihnachten!

  • Reply
    zorra vom kochtopf
    Thursday December 22nd, 2022 at 10:38 AM

    Wow Jenny, deine Baumstammtorte ist der Hammer! Ich bin total begeistert. Ob ich die auch so schön hinkriege, du weisst ja, ich habe bei Deko 2 linke Hände.

  • Reply
    Saturday December 24th, 2022 at 11:54 AM

    Mmh. Das ist wirklich fein. Eine tolle neue Tradition für euch beide. Dazu kann wohl kaum jemand nein sagen.
    Schöne Feiertage.

    • Reply
      Saturday December 24th, 2022 at 12:07 PM


  • Reply
    Tuesday December 27th, 2022 at 10:00 PM

    Buche kenne ich gut aus meiner Zeit in Frankreich. Sie schmeckt gut und sieht einfach fantastisch aus!
    Viele Grüße Sylvia

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