Christmas brings with it many great traditions and foods you only see once a year. One treat you may have seen is a cake that’s shaped and decorated to look like a log called a Yule Log Cake. Ever wondered why that’s even a thing?
• Yesterday marked the Winter Solstice and also the start of Yule, which is a 12-day celebration observed by Germanic people dating back to the Iron Ages as they looked forward to the days being longer and nights being shorter.
• One of the ancient Yule traditions was to burn a large log or stump known as the “Yule Log” on the hearth in an effort to keep it lit for the entire 12-day celebration.
• In 1615 the first known recipe for a Yule Log cake made its appearance as a sweet homage to the traditional log burning. This treat was popularized in the 19th century.
• These cakes typically consist of chocolate sponge cake rolled up and filled with mascarpone whipped cream, covered in chocolate ganache, and decorated in ways to really play up the log appearance.
• The end of the rolled cake is sometimes cut off and added to the top or side to make it appear as a trimmed branch jutting out of the log.
• The outer frosting is usually roughed up to appear like bark and powdered sugar can be added to add a snow-like look.
• Finishing touches to the log include cranberries and rosemary to act as mistletoe, marzipan leaves, and meringue mushrooms.