With Christmas just around the corner, something I am so exceedingly happy about, it is a smart idea to start thinking about what you're going to cook this December 25th. The big day will always creep up on you faster than you think.
I remember last Christmas in a food planning session with my mom, she absentmindedly questioned whether or not we really needed a Yule Log on our table, seeing as we had had one every other year. I have never been so insulted.
She does have a point, however, Yule Logs, as delicious as they are, are a relatively simple chocolate cake. They can look extremely pretty as the centerpiece of a dessert spread if you go to town with decorating it, but the flavor usually remains the same. In order to combat this dilemma, I have done my research, and there is actually a large number of insane Yule Log recipe ideas out there that I had never even considered trying before. There's a first time for everything.
Spruced up Yule Log Recipes
1. Classic Yule Log
This really wouldn't be a complete rundown of Yule Log possibilities without the Classic Chocolate Yule Log. They really are yummy and loved by all ages. There is a reason why they are such a staple dessert during the festive season.
There are endless classic Yule Log recipes out there, you might even have your own that you always use, but this is one of my personal favorites. I like to go over the top with my decorations and think additions like little marzipan toadstools can give your Yule Log a fresh from the forest look.
2. Mocha Yule Log
Coffee cake is often an all round favorite, so I doubt you could go wrong with this Mocha Yule Log. This delicious cake is made up of the classic chocolate cake, but with a coffee flavored cream for that signature swirl.
I like this Yule Log as a more sophisticated take on the classic, and think it would be a lovely thing to offer up to guests with a hot drink when you are undoubtedly bombarded with spontaneous visitors throughout the festive period.
3. Peanut Butter Yule Log
This Peanut Butter Yule Log is a bit of fun, and I know that so many of my family members would absolutely love it, especially the kids.
Chocolate and peanut butter is a classic flavor combination that just works, so you would have no worries surrounding the flavor of your cake. There are quite a few different components that come together to make the final cake in this recipe, but it would definitely be worth the little bit of extra effort. Although the recipe seems long, it is extremely detailed which makes it perfect for a first timer to follow.
4. Chocolate Peppermint Bark Yule Log
There are few things that will make you feel more festive than sitting with a candy cane in hand, and with this Chocolate Peppermint Bark Yule Log, you can capture that feeling in a dessert for your Christmas meal.
Not only would this taste divine, but it looks incredibly fun and festive, with the red and white candy canes against the deep brown chocolate. I love the fact that there are crushed candy canes running through the buttercream as well as on top of the Yule Log, and think it would enhance that sweet minty flavor.
5. Red Velvet Yule Log
Red velvet is my absolute favorite flavor of cake, so when I saw this recipe my mouth practically dropped open.
Not only would this Red Velvet Yule Log taste delicious, as all red velvet cakes do in my opinion, but it also looks incredibly festive with the red and white colors. It's like Santa Clause in cake form. I like the addition of the coconut coating on the outside, I think it looks like a fresh layer of snow, but of course, you could leave it out or use another method of decoration like sprinkles or an edible colored dust.
6. Chocolate Gingerbread Yule Log
If you want a posh looking Yule Log, then this Chocolate Gingerbread one is what you're looking for. Just look at that shining mirror glaze.
Despite how delicious and perfect it looks, it isn't actually too difficult to pull together, and you will definitely end up with a finished cake that you are proud to show off. It is packed full of yummy spices like cinnamon and ginger, but it still maintains that classic Yule Log appearance and chocolatey taste. This would be a great one to give your guests a little unexpected but welcomed surprise.
7. Chocolate, Caramel, and Chestnut Yule Log Cake
Now, this isn't your traditional rolled Yule Log, but it is something a little different if that's what you're going for, both in shape and in flavor.
This Chocolate, Caramel, and Chestnut Yule Log Cake look incredible, and the sweet woody flavors of the caramel and chestnuts would match well with the tree-like look of the cake. The concept of this cake is similar to a traditional Yule Log, with the cake layers enclosing a buttercream, all covered in chocolate frosting, but if you want to avoid the sometimes tricky rolling of the sponge, then this recipe could be your new best friend.
8. Chocolate Hazelnut Yule Log
Compared to some other recipes, the one for this Chocolate Hazelnut Yule Log is incredibly simple, which immediately removes the fear of taking on a Yule Log for the first time.
Chocolate and Hazelnut screams Nutella to me, and it's difficult to find someone who isn't a fan of that. I think the way this Yule Log has been decorated is so cool, something I haven't tried before but definitely will now. Even if you aren't using this chocolate hazelnut recipe, you could easily make this ‘bark' to cover any cake or other Yule Logs with.
9. Tiramisu Yule Log
This Tiramisu Yule Log sounds delicious, just looking through the recipe made me desperate to try it. My dad is the world's biggest tiramisu fan, so I am pretty sure his plate would be licked clean.
There are a couple of really interesting twists in the making of this particular Yule Log. For one, the cake itself is vanilla, which brings more attention to the coffee flavor. The cake is then covered in an espresso syrup and rolled with a filling that includes mascarpone cheese, cinnamon and a cheeky splash of cognac or brandy. This really sounds like a step up from the traditional Yule Log, and to be honest is something you could make all year round with seasonal decorations.
10. Salted Caramel Yule Log
Salted caramel is one of my favorite flavors out there, so I would not be surprised if found myself whipping up one of these Salted Caramel Yule Logs this Christmas.
The filling used in this recipe is meringue buttercream, which sounds like something I will be struggling not to eat straight from the bowl before even making it onto the cake. Although I am all about eccentric decorations, I do quite like the simple, rustic look of the example here, with the open ends and the chopped nuts on top. I can already see myself going back for seconds.
11. Yule Log With Cherries
This Yule Log With Cherries is like a classic Yule Log meets Black Forest Gateau.
I like that the filling of this doesn't look perfectly smooth, with the chunks of cherry running through it, and can imagine they would make each mouthful extremely yummy and interesting. The frosted cherries on top are gorgeous, and I think I will be taking inspiration from this and adding them to other desserts over the Christmas period. The icing sugar gives the illusion of a dusting of snow, and I think this would look very pretty sitting on your festive table.
12. White Chocolate Yule Log
As much as I am a fan of the traditional, and this is very opposite from that, I cannot deny the fact that I would probably eat a decent percentage of this White Chocolate Yule Log all by myself.
I love the combination of white chocolate and berries, and the fact that you can use frozen berries in this recipe is incredibly helpful for winter baking. The bright colors of the berries in the swirl of the Yule Log contrast with the white cake and frosting, and I can imagine that their sharpness would balance extremely well with the sweet white chocolate.
13. Exotic Yule Log
This Exotic Yule Log looks like nothing short of a masterpiece, and I can imagine taking so much pride in bringing it all together and making it look beautiful.
I really like lemon meringue pie, and this looks like an even better version of that, with the passionfruit mousse and piped meringue on top. Although I may be thinking about it too much, as I often do, this could be really cool as a dessert for New Years, with the fruits and bright colors looking like fireworks. Guests would be so surprised to see this as your take on a classic Yule Log and would be as eager to try it as I now am to make it.
14. White Chocolate and Baileys Yule Log
I think this is the recipe with the fewest ingredients that I have found, so if you want something quick, easy or even last minute, this White Chocolate and Baileys Yule Log will do the trick.
This is a very adult Yule Log, initiated by the Baileys of course, and I think it would be perfect for a dinner party over Christmas. The white chocolate and Baileys frosting sound delicious, and the decoration with the little-pearlized balls makes it look sparkling and ready for a party.
15. Raspberry Chocolate Yule Log
Even though this Raspberry Chocolate Yule Log might be cheating slightly by avoiding the classic but difficult roll, it would be perfect for a quick dessert fix, or for a baking beginner.
As the recipe suggests, because there is less cake than in the traditional Yule Log, this is a lighter alternative. The lightness is also helped by the lack of chocolate ganache, that being replaced with a drizzling of dark chocolate. I love raspberries, they go so well with chocolate, and I believe that their freshness and color are the perfect choice to have in the filling of this lighter Yule Log.
16. Christmas Vanilla Yule Log
My inner child is screaming out to get her hands on the layers of buttercream in this Christmas Vanilla Yule Log. This bake would be great for fussy kids and adults alike.
The addition of the colored sprinkles into the cake batter and buttercream is genial. I like the fact that some of the colors have run in the baking process, making the dough slightly colored. The green and red colors make this cake ultra-festive, but you could easily adapt this recipe to suit any time of the year, with multicolored or seasonally appropriate sprinkles.
17. Mini Yule Logs
I love anything mini, and these cute Mini Yule Logs are no exception.
These would be absolutely perfect to bring to work and share with colleagues or to bring to a little mate date before Christmas. It is such a lovely touch to have added on an extra piece of cake to the sides of each log to make them look more realistic, and it's fun little details like that which make them all the more Christmassy. They don't look like they would be too difficult to pull together, and I will very likely be making some of these to share with friends and family this Christmas.
18. Gingerbread Yule Log
I challenge you to find something more Christmassy than a Gingerbread Yule Log because I certainly can't even imagine it.
I love all the spices within gingerbread, and the fact that they are all included in this recipe makes me even more desperate to try it out. Vanilla and cinnamon are also added to the cream filling, which I think would give it the most lovely flavor without making it too sickly sweet. This is bound to go down well during the festive period, at parties, dinners, or on the big day itself.
I will never look at a festive Yule Log in the same way again now that I know of all the fancy ways in which it can be spruced up. I also love all the ideas for decoration, and I will definitely be looking back on all of them for inspiration once I have made the tough decision of which cake to make.
The exotic Yule Log is so different that I think it would be fun to really push the boat out, although I might struggle to stay away from my favorite, red velvet. The mini Yule Logs would also be a lot of fun to bring to a party.
Do you think you will stick to the traditional chocolate Yule Log this Christmas or try something a little bit more weird and wonderful from this list?