I’ve never made a yule log cake recipe before. But in typical dietitian-fashion, I decided to take up the challenge further and experiment with a healthier version. The yule log cake recipe certainly impressed everyone at Christmas dinner! Although it looks finnicky, it’s actually not difficult to make. It just takes a while to assemble it all!
How is this yule log cake recipe healthier than the typical ones out there? Yes it still has sugar added but it’s a bit less than a typical recipe. If you want to go all the way, you can replace the sugar with a mix of blended dates and bananas instead. It also uses wholewheat pastry flour in place of white flour, but still achieves a fine spongey texture.
And instead of using chocolate frosting with butter and icing sugar, it’s just a simple ganache with semisweet chocolate and cream. You could experiment with cashew cream to substitute your dairy cream but I decided to live a little here and save some time 😉
In terms of the cream, I used coconut milk just out of curiosity (whether dairy cream or coconut cream is healthier is quite debatable!), and it tasted quite delicious. Adding chestnuts to the cream spruces up the festive vibe (and fibre). Nope this is not a healthy cake per se, but it tastes delicious and is slightly healthier than most recipes out there ;). Hope you enjoy it in moderation and Merry Christmas!
Credits go to two bloggers that I got inspiration for the healthier swiss roll from Cook’s Hideout, and the decorations and assembly of the yule log cake recipe from NatashasKitchen. For a more traditional version you could head over here where many recipes are analysed and reported!
Gorgeous and Healthier Yule Log Cake Recipe
Serves ~20 slices Time: 2 hours
- 1 cup wholewheat pastry flour
- 1¼ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 4 large eggs
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup canola or sunflower oil
- ¼ cup buttermilk or yoghurt or milk kefir
Coconut chestnut cream
- 2 cups heavy cream or coconut cream (use this method to whip some coconut cream)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 100g cooked chestnuts, pureed (add ~50ml water to make it less thick; alternatively you can use any fruit you like e.g. mango, strawberries, cherries, or coffee)
- (optional) 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 230g semisweet chocolate
- 1 cup heavy reduced-fat cream
- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting finished cake
- 1 tsp icing sugar
- 1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios
- 4 oreo cookies, cream removed and crushed
- (optional) 1 tsp each of freeze-dried strawberries, mangoes, a few cherries/raspberries/cranberries; and sprigs of rosemary
- A few pieces of cooked chestnuts (toasted in oven till browned)
- A few squares of milk/white chocolate
1. Preheat oven to 200°C and put rack in middle position. Get a 25cm x 38cm swiss roll pan. Place a piece of baking paper on top and then oil again. (to ensure cake doesn’t stick to the pan). Place a kitchen towel on kitchen counter and dust with icing sugar.
2. Place flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk.
3. Mix buttermilk/yoghurt/kefir and oil together in a separate small bowl.
4. Beat eggs in a bowl until light and creamy coloured. Add in sugar gradually, continuing to beat the eggs until mixture is thick.
5. Gently fold in flour mixture, distribute it almost completely uniformly. Then add in buttermilk mixture and whisk in gently to complete the uniform distribution of the flour and batter.
4. Pour batter onto baking sheet and spread evenly using a spatula.
5. Bake at 200°C for 12 – 14 minutes until golden brown.
6. Remove cake from oven and invert it onto the kitchen towel. Peel off baking paper.
7. Use kitchen towel to roll the warm cake, from the short side to the other and allow it to cool in rolled position.
Assembly and Frosting
1. Pour cream and honey into mixing bowl and whisk till stiff peaks form. Fold chestnut puree into cream.
2. Unroll swiss roll. Spread cream mixture over top of cake, leaving a 2.5cm border on all edges.
3. Carefully roll up the cake again. Wrap rolled cake in baking paper, and place on a plate. Chill 2 – 8 hours.
3. Trim off both sides of the roll to make it presentable (you can reserve the remnants to put the swiss roll on a board to make a two branches by putting the piece of cake at an angle to look like a branch coming off the big log). Slice 1/5 of the cake off on the diagonal (~45˚angle). Transfer the larger log portion to your serving platter. Place the small stump over the top of the log, flat side down. Press a few chestnuts onto the sides of log cake. Refrigerate cake till ready to frost.
4. Make ganache: Bring heavy cream to a simmer on stove, stirring occasionally. As soon as it simmers, remove from heat and place chocolate chips in, swirling to ensure all chocolate is covered. Place lid on pan and let it sit undisturbed (no mixing) for 5 mins. Remove the lid and swirld the chocolate with a spatula starting from the centre, working outward till smooth. Let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.
5. Beat ganache on high speed for 45 seconds to 1 min or until fluffy (don’t over-beat or it may look a little grainy). Spread evenly over entire log cake including over the branches and ends, but don’t frost the sliced end of the small stump or the chestnut ‘knobs’. Pull a fork across the entire surface of the log, making some spirals to add natural character. Remember to do wibbly circles, as in tree rings, on each end. You can wipe the fork frequently with a paper towel as you go.
1. For effect: Dust the top with cocoa powder, cherries/raspberries/cranberries, crushed freeze-dried strawberries or mango (to look like gold dust), and icing sugar over a sieve (to look like snow). You can also add sprigs of rosemary to make it look foresty.
2. For the dirt: Sprinkle crumbs on the board base, surrounding the log.
3. For moss: Sprinkle pistachios in patches on log.
4. For chocolate leaves: Melt chocolate and use a brush to spread on edible leaves (like bay leaf). Set in the fridge and peel leaves off. Place elegantly on yule log cake recipe.
Alternatively you could decorate it in this cute reindeer style or completely covered in chocolate leaves. If you want to up the ante on the decorations (and have a lot of spare time!), you could make white chocolate snowflakes, strawberry santas, and meringue mushrooms. I unfortunately don’t have that time, so I used real button mushrooms instead!