December 21, 2023

Chocolate Yule Log

Tonight is the Winter Solstice which is a pagan celebration called Yule.  This is an ancient celebration of the shortest day, midwinter, and the return of lighter days and the sun. A yule log was burnt and sacrificed by tradition, and so we thought that we would make a chocolate Yule log, and I would make the sacrifice of eating it!  I am not pagan, and do not particularly follow any religion, but I do try to be close to nature, and celebrate the best values of all religions.

Yule logs often adorn tables at Christmas, as well, and make a frugal dessert compared to the price of the ones that I have seen in the shops.  We made it with staples that we already have in the cupboard and fridge. I rarely eat Swiss rolls as it was the cheapest cake in the shop when I was a child, and was often all we were offered plain.  However, covered in buttercream, and served with ice cream or cream a yule log makes a lovely dessert.  This is a recipe from my Mum’s Bero book that I adapted by adding cocoa.  The recipe does not have baking powder in but Mr S tends to add a little bit when adding cocoa.  Some people cover their yule log in ganache but I just use the butter cream as it is cheaper and is what my gran used to do.

Swiss Roll Ingredients

75g  sieved plain flour

3 room temperature large eggs

75g sugar

2 tbsp of sieved cocoa

half a tsp of baking powder (optional)

Butter cream

500g sieved icing sugar

250g room temperature butter (margarine can be used but doesn’t taste quite as nice)

35g cocoa powder

1 tbsp of water (we add warm)

Adding Flavour

I am a chocoholic and so if you would prefer not to have chocolate butter cream inside your Swiss roll, you could add vanilla buttercream, or add flavourings such as orange or Hazelnut to the buttercream to switch it up a notch.  You could also spread jam, lemon curd or marmalade inside the Swiss roll before adding the butter cream.  I have also known friends spread some Baileys on top of the chocolate butter cream before rolling it up.


  1.  Preheat the oven to 180C
  2.  Grease a 13 by 9 inch Swiss Roll tin or shallow, oven proof tray and line with baking parchment.
  3.  In a large bowl whisk the eggs for at least 10 minutes until they are pale and very light.  The whisk should also leave a trail.
  4. Gently fold in the flour, cocoa (and baking powder if used) using a large metal spoon.
  5.  Pour the mixture gently into the tin and make level.
  6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until it has risen and feels firm when touched.
  7. Before you take the cake of the oven, place a clean tea towel or some baking parchment on to the work surface.
  8.  When the cake is ready immediately tip out onto the tea towel or parchment and remove the parchment paper that it was cooked in.
  9. Score a the cake 1 inch from the shorter edge to help you fold the Swiss roll.
  10. Place more parchment over the Swiss roll and then roll up from the short end leaving the parchment inside to cool.
  11. Leave to cool completely before unrolling.
  12. Make your butter icing by mixing the butter with the icing sugar and cocoa, adding the water at the end if the butter icing is too thick.  You can add milk instead but the butter icing does not store as long.
  13. Unroll the cake gently when cold and fill with about a third of the butter icing, and other jams etc, if used.
  14. Roll the cake gently back up and then cover with the rest of the chocolate butter icing, using the back of a fork to make a bark pattern.  I also added a small sprinkle of icing sugar to look like snow.
  15. Decorate.  You can add figures as I have done (these have been passed down by the family) or you can use natural things like dried orange slices or sugared fruit.




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