Buche De Noel How To

I originally wrote this post a year ago but I wanted to revisit it before the holidays are upon us and finish writing the recipes and instructions to share with anyone that might want to tackle making a Buche de Noel for their very own.

Happy holidays everyone! I've been so busy with Pastry School for the past 15 weeks that I have not had time to complete a blog (though I have a few half-attempted blogs waiting to be finished and read by all). Tante Marie's midterm party was last weekend, which means I'm on a two-week break from school, but definitely not from baking. Yesterday I spent the whole day baking, as well as running around my neighborhood getting last minute Christmas gifts and taking two trips to the market to get more sugar and eggs. I made components of the Buche De Noel, which I'm serving tonight for Christmas Eve dinner and challah to have with brunch and as french toast on Christmas morning.

For weeks I have been talking about Chef/Instructor Cindy Muschet's Buche De Noel that she demo'ed for us in class the other week to get us excited about the holidays. (You should really buy her book!)

Moss only grows on one side of the tree

This is literally one of the best cakes I've ever had. The other being the Chocolate Mocha from The Prolific Oven in Palo Alto.

A Buche de Noel is something that any home-baker can tackle. It is manageable if you make it in pieces, spread out over many days. The meringue mushrooms can be made several days ahead of time, stored in an air-tight container or Ziploc freezer bag. The cake can be made 1-2 days ahead of time and left in the pan, wrapped air-tight with plastic wrap. The buttercream frosting can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days or 2 months in the freezer. The ganache frosting can be made the night before so that it cools and sets to the consistency of frosting.

Cindy's recipe is made with a vanilla chiffon cake (spread out in a half-sheet cookie pan with oiled parchment paper on the bottom), a plain french butter cream frosting with Nutella added, a ganache outer frosting. And lastly, the meringue mushrooms and sugared rosemary sprigs and sugared cranberries (made my brushing with whisked egg white then sprinkling with sugar.)

Have you checked out all of my pictures from Tante Marie's on Flickr?

Recipes for Buche de Noel
from Chef Cindy Muschet

1. Meringue Mushrooms
You'll need 1/2" plain piping tip & ziplock bag or pastry bag and an instant read thermometer.
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
A pinch of cream of tartar
Any type of melted chocolate to act as glue

Preheat oven to 225F. Line a cookie pan with parchment paper. Place the whites, sugar and cream of tartar into the bowl of an electric mixer. Place over simmering water and whisk constantly si it doesn't scramble. Heat it to 160F on an instant read thermometer. Immediately transfer to the mixer and whip on high speed until firm peaks form.

Pipe rounds and "stalks" with the 1/2" tip. Bake for 1 hour, turn off the oven and let rest in the oven overnight to finish drying. In the morning, attach the stalks to the caps by making a small hole in the bottom of the cap with the tip of a paring knife. Spread a thin later of melted chocolate on the bottom of the cap. Insert the stalk into the cap and set aside until the chocolate hardens. Keep in airtight container until needed.

2. Ganache
12 ounces semi or bitter-sweet chocolate (64% cacao maximum), finely chopped
1 1/4 Cup (10 ounces) heavy whipping cream

Melt all ingredients in the top of a double boiler, then let cool to frosting consistency

3. Vanilla chiffon cake
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
4 large egg whites, separated + 2 additional whites
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an edged cookie sheet with parchment, and lightly spray the parchment but not the sides of the pan.

Sift together 1 cup sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to blend.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the yolks, oil, water and vanilla. Whisk to blend.

In the clean bowl of a standing mixer, with the whisk attachment, whip the whites (6 in total) to soft peaks. As the mixer runs, add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a slow and steady stream and continue whipping untile the whites hold firm peaks.

Fold the meringue into the reserved batter. Pour the batter onto the prepared sheet pan and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until the edges of the cake start to pull away from the sides of the pan and the center springs back when lightly touched. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

4. Nutella Frosting
For the Nutella frosting you can either make a simple frosting like this one on the blog My Baking Addiction or use a recipe for a french buttercream and add Nutella to taste (start by adding about 3 tablespoons) 

Buche de Noel Assembly

1. Dust the top of the cooled chiffon cake with powdered sugar. Cover with a sheet of parchment and flip over. Remove the bottom sheet of parchment.

2. With the cake positioned so that the long side is parallel to you, spread the buttercream over it, leaving 1" unfrosted along the opposite long edge.

3. Roll the cake, ending on the unfrosted band. Place the roll on a serving platter with the seam side down.  Protect the platter by slipping pieces of wax paper around the log to catch the drips and smudges. Chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes.

4. Trim the edges as they are usually dry.  Cut a 2" piece diagonally from each end to place on the log as cut branches. Use some frosting to glue it in place.  Cover the log with the chocolate frosting, including the optional cut branch piece.  Making tree bark striations in the soft mixture with a fork

5. Add optional decorations:
Dust snow with a powdered sugar through a sieve
Chopped pistachios on one side of log= moss
Mushrooms in groups of three
"Iced" rosemary sprigs, cranberries or pine branches. Ice the items by brushing an egg white wash on them and dusting with regular sugar


  1. Really, really sad I didn't get to try this one. It looks amazing!

  2. If you're in my neighborhood Saturday evening, perhaps you can sneak a vanilla chiffon, Nutella cupcake...


comments make me smile!