This Apple Cinnamon Bûche De Noël recipe is the Ultimate Yule log if you want to make a really fancy Christmas cake that not just tastes amazing but truly unique and impressive! Apple and cinnamon flavours can be found in a dreamy, airy mousse cake with a wonderful festive design that can be the showstopper dessert on your Christmas table! Good news is that it is not particularly difficult to make this Apple Cinnamon Bûche De Noël recipe! My step by step baking tutorial will ensure that you will succeed in making this cake!
Unlike the Yule log that I shared earlier (Pistachio Raspberry Bûche De Noël, recipe in here) this Apple Cinnamon log recipe is not a cake roll, more like a traditional mousse cake in a Christmas dress.
This Apple Cinnamon Bûche De Noël recipe contains 5 elements:
1. creamy cinnamon whipped ganache
2. aromatic cardamom flavoured apple compote
3. thin sponge layer infused with spices
4. crispy cardamon crumble
5. adorable white chocolate deer as decoration
Making the elements one by one is surprisingly easy yet require some planning, patience and precision as you build up the layers on each other. Let´s get started!
My Top 5 Baking Tips for home bakers
- Read the recipe carefully including my tips and recommendations on how to avoid and fix typical issues during baking this Apple Cinnamon Bûche De Noël recipe
- Avoid using substitutes and changing the recipe unless you are aware of how to fully reformulate the recipe in order to keep the balance in texture as well as flavour. Reducing sugar, replacing egg, using ingredients not on the right temperature etc. will all have an impact baking this Yule log
- For consistent, happy baking experience always measure your ingredients with the help of a Digital scale. Cup measurement is provided as an indicative figure only and might be used for less complex and large batch recipes however it is not an appropriate method for more delicate, complex pastries
- Did you know that most home ovens can significantly under or oven run? Also, oven temperature hugely drops when opening the oven door therefore it is recommended to always pre-heat the oven above the required baking temperature.
- Temperature is so important when it comes to baking and accurate oven temperature is key, can make or break any recipe. Make sure you invest into an inexpensive Digital oven thermometer to avoid under baked, burnt, sad looking desserts
Some important notes regarding the INGREDIENTS of this Apple Cinnamon Bûche De Noël recipe (Yule log)
For the sponge
- Butter: Use always unsalted as you want to be in control of the quantity of the salt. I am using 82% fat content butter in all my recipes. In this recipe butter needs to be at room temperature which technically means soft enough to be able to cream but not too soft or runny so avoid last minute microwaving
- Icing Sugar: For the creaming method to make the sponge for this Apple Cinnamon Bûche De Noël recipe I am using icing sugar in the recipe which dissolves quickly. If you want to learn about the different types of sugar and how to use them in baking, please read my article in here
- Egg: Room temperature as always
- Flour: All purpose flour or pastry flour works well. They are so called “soft flour” which are low on protein resulting in delicate, tender texture. If you want to be a Pro when it comes to deciding what type of flour to use in your baking, please read my article in here
- Salt: An essential ingredient in most of the dessert recipes. Balances flavour and enhances other ingredients
- Spice: Cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg all can be a good idea
- Baking powder: No baking powder is needed in this sponge recipe. What we are looking for is a thin layer of sponge that gives an extra layer. In contrast to traditional tall, airy sponge cakes, our sponge will be rather buttery and thin. Check this recipe for tall, fluffy sponge cake
For the cinnamon whipped ganache
- White chocolate: It is worth to remember that not all chocolate are created equal, in fact the quality of the chocolate goes way beyond taste. In this recipe I am using Callebaut White chocolate (callets), that is a high-quality chocolate (yet affordable) that contains a higher percentage of cocoa butter than the average supermarket chocolate. It is usually sold online in a bigger pack eg. 1 kg and perfect to make recipes that requires high quality chocolate. I order mine from Amazon and surprisingly the price / kg it is not even so much more expensive than a low quality supermarket chocolate. Couverture chocolate is not a must in this recipe, but try to buy the best one you can access so that it will have the right texture as well as a pleasant creamy taste that won´t overpower the taste we want to achieve that is cinnamon
- Cream: Also known as whipping cream or double cream, has a fat content between 36% and 40% . Avoid substitutes like vegetable based “whipping cream”. Cream is what makes this Apple Cinnamon Bûche De Noël recipe extra creamy and delicious so make sure it is fresh, great quality with high fat content
- Gelatin: It´s an odorless, tasteless and colorless thickening agent, very often used by pastry chefs particularly in mousse cakes. Powder or sheet versions are available, in my recipes I always use sheet (1,7 g / sheet), which I found easier to handle. Simple soak the gelatin sheets into cold water for a few minutes before you need them and use it according to the recipe. Please note that gelatin is not suitable for vegetarians. Agar agar can be a good substitution for vegetarians however replacing gelatin with agar agar is not 1:1 and can only be done by reformulating the recipe slightly
- Cinnamon and star anise (optional): This is a Bûche De Noël recipe for Christmas celebration so any winter spice can work, I decided to use cinnamon and star anise. Use whole spices, not the powder versions. The mousse will have an intense cinnamon taste with star anise aftertaste following cream is infused with these spices. Tiny cinnamon pieces (a whole cinnamon stick processed in food processor) are also incorporated into the cream that give a beautiful strong aroma and also looks nice visually in the white cream
For the apple compote
- Apple: Use almost any apple that is available in your country. I find it looks better if some part of the compote is actual apple and some part apple sauce (apple sauce is made in the food processor)
- Cardamom: I am using a fair amount of cardamom that makes the compote wonderfully flavourful
- Sugar: Simple white granulated sugar is working perfectly fine
- Lemon juice: Juice of lemon, freshly squeezed. Remember, lemon juice balances the flavours, just like salt in the cake
- Gelatine sheet: Same as above
For the glaze (optional)
I was really in a rush so I used Silikomart mirror glaze in this Bûche De Noël recipe that is kind of a hassle free, ready made glazing option. No need to prep anything, all I did is was warming up the ready made glaze to 37C / 99F and poured it onto the frozen cake. Easy peasy, hassle free. The cake is totally fine with or without glaze.
For the white chocolate deer decoration
- White chocolate: Same applies as above, even more important that you use high quality white chocolate as it will need to be tempered and cut into a deer shape (I am using a cookie cutter to do that). You will need couverture chocolate if you want to replicate those beautifully chocolate decorations you see on Instagram or in professional pastry shops and a Bûche De Noël recipe definitely requires a pretty decoration ! In this recipe I am using Callebaut White chocolate (callets) that contains a higher percentage of cocoa butter than the average supermarket chocolate. The additional cocoa butter, combined with proper tempering technique gives the chocolate a more shiny look, a firmer “snap” when broken, and a creamier, more smooth texture. Alternatively you can also use dark chocolate to make the deer, however I wanted to try the white chocolate + cocoa powder texture this time, doesn´t it look adorable?
- Cocoa powder: this is optional but I think it gives a nice texture and colour to the overall design and the deer sort of "pops out"
Now let’s continue with my top 7 tips of making this Apple Cinnamon Bûche De Noël recipe (Yule log)
1. How to make cinnamon whipped ganache
First of of why make whipped ganache? Ganache is chocolate-cream 1:1 ratio mixture. As of whipped ganache, it also contains gelatine and the cream ratio is higher so when it is whipped, the consistency will be super creamy and fluffy. It has the perfect consistency and the perfect taste without adding any powder sugar or butter.
So whipped ganache is a mixture of cream, chocolate and gelatine. It can be flavoured with coffee, pistachio paste, raspberry puree etc and this time, it is infused with spices.
Regarding the chocolate, I recommend to chose a high quality brand when it comes to chocolate with high cocoa content to avoid disappointment. I am using Callebaut White chocolate (callets), that is creamy and has a natural, mild taste so when I add flavour to the ganache, it will come through really strongly.
Regarding the cream, I am using heavy cream that has 36% fat content. Do not make ganache using low fat creams or vegetable creams.
Regarding the gelatin, I am using sheet gelatin that is super easy to work with, please see my note about gelatin above.
How does the process look like to make cinnamon whipped ganache for this Bûche De Noël recipe
- Heat some part (225g) of the cream until simmering then place cinnamon sticks and star anise pieces into the cream, cover it and let them infuse for min 1 hour, overnight is even better
- The next day, remove spices from the cream, measure the cream and fill it up to reach 225g again (the spices will "drink" surprisingly a lot of some cream overnight)
- Place Callebaut White chocolate (callets) into a bowl or alternatively finely chopped white chocolate, the best you can buy
- Soak gelatin into cold water
- Heat the 225g cream until simmering. If it’s boiling, the cream is too hot and could burn the chocolate. If the cream is not warm enough, it won´t melt the chocolate properly and won’t emulsify
- Mix gelatin into warm cream
- Pour warm cream over the chopped Callebaut White chocolate (callets)
- Let the two sit for a minute then stir together or use a blender to emulsify
- Once slightly cooled to room temp, pour the rest of the cold cream into the mixture and fold together
- With the help of a food processor grind 1 cinnamon stick into tiny pieces, fold into cream
- Cover the surface of the ganache with plastic wrap and refrigerate for min. 4 hours, overnight ideally
- After ganache set, gently whip it in a stand mixer (the quantity of the cream will be quite a lot). It will reach a fluffy, pipeable consistency in a minute or two. Make sure, you do not over beat the mixture after this point as it can break
2. How to make the apple compote insert for this Apple Cinnamon Yule log
I love making apple compote, it is so easy and so delicious! Generally, it is worth playing with different kind of spices; vanilla bean, tonka bean, ginger, cinnamon, 5 spices, cardamon are all brilliant choices and go super well with apple! The apple compote is made with cardamon in this Bûche De Noël recipe and since it will be an insert within the Yule log, it needs to be stabilized with gelatine.
Making apple compote insert is super easy! Cook all ingredients together for 10 minutes then mix in gelatin and pour compote into the insert mould, then freeze it. Very important that the insert is properly frozen before using it as it can make a mess with the whipped ganache otherwise. I am using an insert mould from Silikomart called Inserto, find in here. It has two part, a 190m and a 400 ml. The apple insert is made in the smaller, 190ml part.
3. How to make the spiced sponge layer for this Bûche De Noël
This is my favourite, super simple buttery cake layer, I also use in mousse type of cakes. It is made of equal amount of egg, butter, flour and icing sugar creamed together then spread evenly in a tray and baked in a fairly short time, 8-10 minutes. You can play around with this basic recipe and replace some part of the flour with cocoa powder, walnut flour, almond flour or even matcha to make a different type of cake. Or as I did, you can use any spice to make it into a spiced sponge that works super well in a winter and Christmas theme Bûche De Noël recipe.
Do not expect a tall fluffy sponge cakes, in fact it is rather dense (but not dry) and low in height. Its function is more to provide a layer underneath the whipped ganache, so not the classic sponge cake. For classic tall and fluffy sponge cake, check my recipe in here.
You will need a 24x6cm sponge layer so bake the sponge in a small tray. I have a 27x17cm tray that I used to make this recipe and I cut out the required sponge layer after baking.
4. How to make crumble?
Crumble is a mixture of butter, sugar, flour and almond flour. It provides an extra layer of crunchy texture and also serves as decoration in Bûche De Noël recipe. Mix all ingredients together for a minute or two then spread it over on parchment paper. With the help of a spatula or spoon, arrange crumble pieces in a way that you will get smaller and bigger pieces too. Bake for 12-15 minutes, very importantly fold the crumble at every 5 minutes so it bakes evenly without one part burning it.
5. How to make the chocolate deer decoration
The chocolate deer decoration is what turns this mousse cake into true celebration Yul log or Bûche de Noël! Making these chocolate starts is actually not super hard once you learn how to temper chocolate!
There are various methods to temper chocolate, for home bakers and with small batch of chocolate, I recommend the “seeding method” that is super easy and can be achieved with a microwave and thermometer, eg. Infrared thermometer gun. It might sound complicated and too scientific, but in fact it is really easy. Remember, you only have to learn how to temper chocolate once and after you can make beautiful chocolate decorations any time you wish! All you need to do is melt chocolate to a certain temperature then add more chocolate chips (that is called callet, it is already tempered and it is NOT the same as cheap supermarket chocolate chip!!) into the melted chocolate – that will bring down your chocolate temperature to the so called working temperature. That´s it! If you can access couverture chocolate, the required temperatures are stated on the bag. In my case, for the Callebaut White chocolate (callets) I have to warm up the chocolate to 45C then cool it down to 28-29C by adding more chocolate.
Please check my hot chocolate bomb tutorial where I go in much more detail into the topic. Oh and why not try that recipe too?!
So once you have tempered your chocolate, spread chocolate over a Silicone baking mat in an even layer with the help of a large Offset spatula. Not too thin, not too thick, sort of 1-2 mm thick, dust with cocoate powder and wait. You will need to wait for the perfect moment to cut out the deers, the exact moment when chocolate starts to set but not too hard yet. Visually the chocolate will go from shiny to mat however deciding on the exact moment will obviously will require some practice… like anything in life. Since my kitchen is rather hot, I personally like to put the chocolate into the fridge for 2-3 minutes and check every 30 seconds. It is a good idea to check the side of your chocolate with your finger and see how hard it has set already. Then when chocolate already firm enough but not too hard cut out the deers with a cookie cutter. In a similar way you can cut out any decoration, eg. stars, Christmas tree, whatever cookie cutter you have. Let the decoration further set in the fridge until decorating this Apple Cinnamon Bûche De Noël.
6. How to assemble the Apple Cinnamon Bûche De Noël
Assembling this Yule log is actually a rather easy job once you have all the elements prepared including a Bûche De Noël mould and an insert mould. I recommend to schedule the work over 3 days in the following order
Day 0 - Prepare the cinnamon & star anise infusion and let it infuse overnight
Day 1 - Prepare the apple insert and freezer it overnight
Prepare the cinnamon ganache and let it set in the fridge overnight
Day 2 - Bake the sponge. Let it cool to room temp
Once ganache set, whip it up and move it into a piping bag
Assemble the cake: Pipe whipped ganache into the Buche mould then place the frozen apple compote insert into the middle of the cinnamon ganache then pipe more ganache on top. Finish with placing a layer of sponge on top of the ganache. Let the cake freeze overnight. Please note that the cake needs to be very well frozen to remove it from the mould! I am using a Buche mould from Silimart, you can find it here.
Day 3 - Prepare the crumble. Let it cool to room temp
Glaze (optional) the frozen cake
Temper chocolate and prepare the deer decoration
Decorate the cake with crumble and the deers. Store in fridge
Please don´t be overwhelmed with the "3 days of work", it is actually super straightforward and a quick job each day, the only thing is that you need to wait until certain elements are set before moving onto the next step. It is a very easy recipe, but requires some patience and precision. At the end of the 3rd day you will be rewarded with a truly unique, super delicious showstopper Christmas Yule log!
7. What equipment is needed it make this Yule log recipe
Feel free to use the equipment you already have however since I usually get a lot of questions about what I use, I thought it is better if I summarize it.
For the Bûche De Noël recipe I am using a so called Magic Buche Kit from Silikomart, available in here. Use any Buche mould if this is not available for some reason.
For the apple insert I am using the Inserto mould, available in here. It has two sides, one is 190ml, the other is 400ml, the apple insert is made in the smaller, 190ml part
Apart from the Yule log mould I mention above I always use my Digital scale to measure every ingredients, Digital oven thermometer to control the oven temp, Offset spatula to spread the sponge into the tray and generally to spread everything. I use Rubber spatula all the time to fold ingredients that need to be handled with care. I use my Stand mixer to whip the ganache. And lastly, I love using my Silicone baking mat and Infrared thermometer gun to temper the chocolate.
Try some of my other Christmas recipes
Chocolate pistachio tart Christmas tree edition - This festive Chocolate Pistachio Tart Christmas tree edition is the ultimate elegant dessert you can serve during Christmas and impress everyone! Homemade Pâte Sablée tart cases filled with crunchy pistachios, creamy pistachio paste that is topped with silky chocolate ganache. Recipe in here
Christmas tree meringue - I am sharing with you today my foolproof Christmas tree meringue recipe including all my tips and trick! Meringue based desserts are naturally gluten-free, in fact the recipe using only a few ingredients you probably already have at home, namely egg and sugar. Recipe in here
Christmas tree cupcake - This Christmas tree cupcake recipe consists of a moist and tender chocolate muffin filled with chocolate ganache and decorated with my favorite super light and easy mascarpone cream frosting. Easy, quick, looks and tastes just amazing! Recipe in here
Pistachio Raspberry Yule log - This Yule log filling includes a delicious, slightly tangy raspberry couilis and the silkiest, creamiest pistachio whipped ganache, two flavours that perfectly balance each other without being overly sweet! Finally, the Bûche de Noël is decorated with super easy, yet visually appealing white chocolate stars that are garnished with freezed dried raspberries. This is a totally showstopper Christmas cake that is completely doable for home bakers! Recipe in here
Gold macaron - These Gold macarons can be perfect for any special occasions or celebrations like birthdays, weddings, Christmas or New Year´s etc. Festive French macarons that also tastes amazing; they are filled with caramelized white chocolate that has the perfect deep caramel note without being overly sweet and hazelnut paste with the most delicious natural nutty flavor. The Gold macarons are decorated with a very simple technique using gold glitter that is painted on them. Recipe in here
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Apple Cinnamon Bûche De Noël recipe (Yule log)
For the cinnamon whipped ganache
- 225 g Callebaut WhiteChocolate (callets)
- 675 g Heavy Cream fat content min 36%, 225g + 450g will be used separately
- 4 Gelatine sheet
- 5 Cinnamon sticks
- 8 Star anise pieces
For the Apple compote
- 170 g Apple peeled, cut into pieces
- 100 g Apple sauce
- 6 g Lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 35 g Granulated sugar
- 2 Gelatine sheet
- 1 teaspoon Cardamon
For the spiced sponge layer
For the chocolate deers
- 150 g Callebaut WhiteChocolate (callets) +7% for tempering
- Cocoa powder
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
- Heat the smaller portion (225g) heavy cream until simmering then place the cinnamon sticks and star anise pieces into the cream. Cover the bowl, place it into the fridge and let them infuse for min 1 hour, overnight is even better
Prepare the Cinnamon whipped ganache
- Remove spices from the cream, measure it and fill it up with cream again to reach 225g (the spices will "drink" some cream overnight)
- Place Callebaut WhiteChocolate (callets) into a bowl (or chop high quality white chocolate into small pieces)
- Soak gelatin into cold water
- Heat the previously infused 225g cream until simmering, mix gelatin sheet in and pour it over the chocolate
- Let the chocolate cream mixture set for a minute until chocolate gently melts then stir together or hand blend
- Once mixture slightly cools to room temp stir in rest of the cold cream (450g)
- With the help of a food processor grind 1 cinnamon stick into tiny pieces, fold into ganache
- Cover the top of the ganache with plastic wrap and refrigerate for minimum 4 hours, ideally overnight
Prepare the apple compote insert
- Soak gelatin sheets into cold water
- Cook all ingredients together for 10 minutes then mix in gelatin and pour compote into the insert mould. Freeze overnight
Bake the sponge
- Pre-heat oven to 180C / 356F
- You will need a 24x6cm sponge layer in the recipe. I recommend to bake the sponge in a small tray (mine is 27x17cm) then cut out the required sponge layer after cake is cooled
- Cream room temp butter with icing sugar until fluffy, mix egg in and whip it for a few more minutes. Sift in flour, salt and spice, fold the mixture together then pour cake batter into your prepared baking tin and bake for 10 minutes
Assembling the Cake
- Take ganache out of the fridge and in a stand mixer whip it for a minute or two until it reaches a fluffy, pipeable consistency. Make sure, you do not over whip the mixture as it can break
- Move whipped ganache into a piping bag and pipe ¾ of it into the Buche mould
- Take apple insert out of the freezer and place it into the middle of the piped ganache. Pipe more ganache around making sure that there is no "hole" in the mixture
- Finish with placing a 24x6cm layer of sponge on top of the ganache. Freeze the cake in the mould overnight
Bake the crumble
- Pre-heat oven to 180C / 356F
- Cream all ingredients together for a minute or two then spread it over on parchment paper. With the help of a spatula arrange the crumble pieces in a way that you will get smaller and bigger pieces too
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, fold the crumble mixture in the baking tray at every 5 minutes so it bakes evenly without one part burning
- Let the crumble cool to room temp before using it
Prepare the deer decoration
- Temper Callebaut WhiteChocolate (callets) and spread it over a sheet of silicone baking mat in 1-2mm even layer. Dust with cocoa powder
- At the perfect moment, when chocolate is already hardening but not too hard yet, cut out 4 deers with the help of a cookie cutter. Let the deers further set in the fridge until using them
- Glaze the cake when it is frozen. I used Silikomart mirror glaze in this recipe that is a quick and hassle-free glazing option. Heat 1 jar of glaze up to 37 C and pour it onto the frozen cake. The cake is totally fine with or without glaze.
Decorating the cake
- Place the cake onto a tray you plan serving from. Apply crumble around the cake then carefully place 2-2 deers on each side