Citrusy orange flavor adds holiday sparkle to this Chocolate Orange Yule Log Crepe Cake. Marmalade, whipped cream, and orange ganache-filled crepes are wrapped in a chocolate Swiss roll sponge.
I couldn’t let the season pass without enjoying one of my favorite Christmas baking projects – the yule log cake, a.k.a. Bûche De Noël. It’s something I look forward to each year. Earlier, in spring, inspiration struck when I was browsing a confectioners’ periodical. I saw a sponge roll with crepes wrapped inside. It reminded me a little of tree rings. I knew I had to try the technique for myself. And I just knew it would make a fantastic looking yule log cake.
With just a picture (and no recipe or instruction) I cobbled together my favorite tried-and-true cake elements. The Swiss roll sponge from my Pumpkin Swiss Roll Cake made a wonderful base for wrapping up all the other elements.
If you’re feeling short on time from all the holiday hustle and bustle (I am) I’d like to recommend purchasing crepes ready-made from the grocery store. They can be found at most US grocery stores in the produce department. Sometimes they are placed alongside plastic clamshells of berries to encourage berry-filled crepe assembly at home. However, if you have time for scratch-made crepes, you’ll find the ingredients and instructions in the notes of this yule log recipe.
Assemble the crepe center by smearing on a thin layer of orange-chocolate ganache on a crepe. Roll it up!
Continue by rolling the first crepe into a second ganache covered crepe. Keep going until all the crepes and rolled up and you have a crepe baton.
Unroll the swiss sponge after it cools and cover it with prepared marmalade. Then, add a layer of homemade whipped cream on top. Spread it out evenly. Next, roll the crepe baton into the sponge. Refrigerate the roll until set. Which means the crepe center and whipped cream will firm up.
White bark covering.
Roll out some ready-made white fondant for the covering . A tree bark silicone fondant mat makes a beautiful bark impression in the fondant, which is what I used. Although sugar paste is my preferred covering for this cake, I understand that some people prefer buttercream. Double the orange buttercream recipe provided, and you’ll have enough to cover and decorate the cake’s entire exterior.
Pipe a wavy line of buttercream on the top center of the cake using a large petal piping tip. Add some chopped toasted almonds around the sides of the cake for a ‘woodchip’ garnish.
Use this bartender trick I picked up while doing some freelance work food styling cocktails. Peel the skin off of an orange in one or two large pieces. Use mini fondant or cookie cutters (metal, plastic is too flimsy) to stamp out shapes from the peel. It’s such a pretty and natural garnish. Place the stars upright in the buttercream on top of the cake.
The marmalade and whipped cream together help keep the chocolate Swiss sponge moist, and the crepe center has such a nice multilayered texture. The dynamic duo of chocolate and orange together evokes the essence of a special holiday. It has garnered much praise from all who have tasted it!
Related recipe: Chocolate Mocha Yule Log Cakes
Chocolate-Orange Yule Log Crepe Cake
Bark motif fondant mat
disposable piping bag
Large petal decorator piping tip
Small star cookie cutters, 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch
- 4 large eggs
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 tablespoon buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon orange liqueur or 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
- 10 ready-made crepes 10-inches round
- 1/2 cup prepared orange marmalade
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Fondant covering and buttercream
- 1/2 lb. white fondant ready-made
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- Milk or cream to thin buttercream if needed
- 1 teaspoon orange extract
Toppings and garnish
- Peel of 1 orange removed in one large piece
- 1/2 cup chopped almonds toasted
To make the cake, preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 15×10-inch jelly roll pan and line with parchment paper.
Place eggs in large bowl; beat using electric mixer on high speed 5 minutes. The whipped eggs will become thick and lightened in color. With the mixer still running, slowly add sugar and oil, followed by buttermilk and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Slowly add to the liquid ingredients. Mix until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake 12-15 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back when pressed with fingers.
Sprinkle a tea towel with powdered sugar and rub sugar into towel with your hands. Immediately turn cake out onto the sugar-covered tea towel. Peel off the parchment paper and roll cake into the tea towel, beginning at the narrow end. Place rolled cake on a wire rack, seam-side down, and let cool completely.
Ganache filled crepes
Combine the chocolate and cream in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 1 minute at 100% power. Let the mixture set for 1 minute then whisk together until smooth. Whisk in the orange liqueur. Refrigerate until thick but still spreadable, about 10 minutes, stirring intermittently.
Lay one crepe on a work surface and spread a thin layer of ganache over the entire surface. Roll the crepe up jelly roll style. Spread a second crepe with ganache; set the first rolled crepe at one edge of the second crepe and roll up. Repeat this process until all of the crepes are rolled up. Lightly cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
Stir the marmalade until loosened; set aside.
Beat the heavy cream on medium-high in the bowl of an electric mixer. Gradually add in the sugar. Beat until the mixture is whipped thick and spreadable.
Unroll the Swiss roll cake. Spread the marmalade over the surface. Add the whipped cream over them marmalade and spread until even. Place the crepe roll at the most curled end of the cake and roll up. Place the cake on a serving platter. Refrigerate until chilled and set, about 30 minutes. When the cake is chilled, trim away 1 1/2 -inch slices from each end of the cake so the crepe center is revealed.
Fondant and buttercream
Dust a work surface with powdered sugar. Knead fondant well and roll to 1/2 inch thickness. Place the fondant on top of a dusted woodgrain impression mat. Use your fingers to press the fondant into the mold, then use a rolling pin to even the surface. Flip the piece over and trim the excess fondant away. Repeat this process once so that you have two wood grain fondant pieces.
Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Lightly brush the surface with water so the fondant will stick to the surface. Lay one fondant piece over the cake, lining up the edge with the edge of the cake. Add the second piece so that it touches the edge of the first piece; trim away the excess. There may be a visible line between the two pieces, this is normal.
Cream the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix again until combined. If mixture is thick, add milk or cream to thin to piping consistency. Beat in the orange extract. Beat on high speed until the buttercream is almost white. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large petal tip.
Pipe a dollop of buttercream on your finger and fill the visible line between the fondant pieces on the cake, if needed.
Pipe and undulating line on top of the cake starting from the designated ‘back’ to the front of the cake. Position the piping tip with the thinnest edge pointed toward the sky as you pipe.
Toppings and garnish
Use the star cutters to stamp shapes from the orange peel. Place the stars standing upright in the buttercream on top of the cake. Garnish with chopped almonds around the edge of either side of the cake.
Refrigerate the cake until set, 10 minutes. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Bring the cake to room temperature before serving.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
6 large eggs 1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or a blender and process until well combined. The mixture will be the consistency of heavy cream.
Brush a 10 -inch skillet with melted butter and place over medium heat until butter just starts to smoke. Pour scant 1/4 cup of batter into the skillet. Swirl the batter with the pan lifted over the stove eye until the bottom is coated with a thin layer of batter.
Place pan on the stove eye and cook until the surface of the crepe loses most of its glossiness and the top is set. At this point, most recipes will tell you to flip the crepes; mine were cooked through without flipping, so I just slid them out of the skillet and onto a plate.
Repeat process until all crepe batter is used. If the crepes start to cook before you can get the entire bottom of the pan coated with batter, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Allow the crepes to cool completely.
Orange garnish tip:
- After stamping out the shapes from the orange peel, place the stars in a zip-top bag and store in the refrigerator until ready to decorate. The orange peel will dry out if left uncovered at room temperature, and the ends of the stars will curl slightly.