A traditional French Yule Log, or Bûche de Noël, is rich with dairy and eggs. But this vegan yule log is dairy-free and egg-free, and it can even be made nut-free and soy-free! It’s a delicious sample recipe from the cookbook Vegan Holiday Cooking by Kirsten Kaminski.
This Vegan Yule Log Cake will Make Christmas Complete
This decadent chocolate roll cake is the ultimate festive dessert. You can actually serve it for just about any occasion. But spreading the chocolate ganache in rustic lines, like tree bark, is what makes this a classic
Bûche de Noël, or Christmas Log.
Vegan Holiday Cooking is all about Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter. It’s filled with mains, sides, and sweets to make the perfect feast. The recipes have an air of tradition, but boast some of Kirsten’s special twists.
The vegan Yule Log recipe below is just one of the enticing dishes that you will find in Vegan Holiday Cooking, but I think it’s an excellent example. Kirsten doesn’t shy away from indulgence, especially around the holidays. Nevertheless, she interjects healthier ingredients when they work. You might have noticed that the cake and cream filling use unrefined sweeteners, but she recognizes that powdered sugar is best for the chocolate ganache.
For those of you with additional diet concerns, I have a few suggestions for Kirsten’s vegan yule log recipe.
- Starch Options: If you aren’t a fan of cornstarch or need corn-free, then you can substitute another starch, like arrowroot or tapioca starch.
- Milk Beverage Options: Kirsten uses almond or soymilk, but you can substitute your favorite dairy-free milk beverage. Most will work without notable changes to the finished cake.
- Vinegar Option: Kirsten uses just a little bit of vinegar to help in the cake texture and rise. If you don’t keep apple cider vinegar on hand, you don’t need to run out and buy it for such a small amount. You can substitute plain white vinegar.
- Sweetener Options: If you don’t have coconut sugar on hand, you can substitute another granulated sweetener. If you need lower sugar, there are sugar-free powdered sugar substitutes like Swerve Confectioners’.
Editor’s Notes (Modifications and Tips)
Some of you had difficulty with the cake (or found it lacking in flavor) and filling, so we tested this recipe in our Go Dairy Free kitchen. Rather than directly modifying Kirsten’s original recipe, which some of you like, we’re adding our preferred modifications here for adding more flavor to the cake and ensuring your cream filling works.
Chocolate Cake – For a more flavorful chocolate cake, we used 1/2 cup white sugar in place of the coconut sugar, increased the cocoa powder to 3 tablespoons, increased the salt to 1/4 teaspoon, and added 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract with the wet ingredients. This made a lightly sweet cake with a slightly deeper chocolaty flavor. We did find the baking time to be accurate. The cake does have a slight gummy texture, to keep it more pliable and cohesive for making the roll cake. When fully assembled, it works well. Make sure to follow the directions on removing it from the pan after just 2 minutes, but unroll it while still a little warm. If it is completely cold, it will be more brittle.
Cream Filling – See our Dairy-Free Whipped Cream Recipe for foolproof tips, which will help to make the cream filling in this recipe correctly.
Special Diet Notes: Vegan Yule Log / Bûche de Noël
By ingredients this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, optionally nut-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian.
- 1 1⁄2 cups (180 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon (8 g) cornstarch
- 1⁄4 cup (48 g) coconut sugar
- 2 tablespoon (14 g) cocoa powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch salt
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (270 ml) almond or soy milk beverage
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) melted coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) unsweetened applesauce
- 1 (14-oz [420-ml]) can full-fat coconut cream, refrigerated overnight
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup (75 g) dairy-free buttery spread or sticks
- 1⁄2 cup (56 g) cocoa powder
- 1 cup (130 g) powdered sugar, plus more as needed
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) almond or soy milk beverage
- To make the chocolate sponge cake, preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a rimmed 9 1⁄2 x 12 1⁄2–inch (24 x 31.75–cm) baking sheet with parchment paper, making sure the edges are completely covered. (Note that it’s important to use a baking sheet that’s close to these dimensions, or the cake will be too thick or thin to roll.)
- In large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, combine the milk beverage, vinegar, oil and applesauce. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined. The batter should be thick and pourable.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared baking sheet and spread it into an even layer about a 1⁄2 inch (13 mm) thick. Bake the cake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 2 minutes.
- Gently roll the cake from short end to short end, rolling the parchment paper up inside the cake and using it as a guide. Be very careful during this step so as not to break the cake—try to handle it as little as possible. Let the rolled cake cool to room temperature (otherwise the filling will melt).
- While the cake is cooling, make the cream filling. Scoop only the solid portion of the chilled coconut cream into a medium bowl, then add the maple syrup and vanilla. Whip the cream filling using a hand mixer until it is light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes (editor note: coconut cream does not get voluminous like heavy cream. What you see to start is what you will get, so make sure the coconut cream you have is very thick, dense, and spoonable). Place the cream filling in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- To make the chocolate ganache, combine the butter, cocoa powder, powdered sugar and milk beverage in a medium bowl. Whip the ganache using a hand mixer until it is smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Place the ganache in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Once the cake has cooled to room temperature, carefully unroll it and top it with all of the cream filling. Spread the filling evenly over the cake, leaving a 1⁄2-inch (13-mm) border along the edges. Begin rolling the cake back up the same way it was unrolled, from short end to short end, removing the parchment paper as you go. Continue rolling, using the parchment paper as a guide, until the cake is seam-side down. Wipe away any excess filling that may have spilled over.
- Gently wrap the cake in parchment paper and carefully transfer it to a cutting board. Place the cutting board in the refrigerator until the cake is completely chilled and firm enough to handle easily, 30 to 60 minutes. Carefully unroll it from the parchment wrap and place it on a serving platter.
- Spread the chocolate ganache on top of the cake and use a frosting knife to shape the cake like a wooden log. Leave the vegan Yule log as is or dust it with a bit of powdered sugar. Use a clean knife to carefully slice the log into pieces. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.