For the past two years, I’ve tried my hand at a classic rolled Yule Cake (a bûche de Noël). They’re impressive and delicious and I encourage everyone to give rolling a cake a go at some time. But I have to confess that I actually prefer the look of the stump version, made with a simple layered cake. It’s so beautiful. Everyone will be impressed and yet it couldn’t be easier.
You can use any recipe you like for the cake—chocolate or vanilla (or even use the boxed mix). Here’s a recipe for basic chocolate one.
Whatever you do, I do encourage you to make your own frosting. It’s so easy and makes a world of difference. Plus, you can play with the quantity powdered sugar, adding more to make yours stiffer for more pronounced peaks—which you may want to do for the appearance of bark.
This Daisy Sour Cream chocolate frosting is a fantastic one for this reason: It’s already an all-around great chocolate frosting, but the slight tartness of the cultured cream means your frosting won’t be overly sweet if you up the powdered sugar content.
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar (*with an additional cup or two on hand)
1/4 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup Daisy Sour Cream
In a medium bowl, beat the butter at high speed until creamy (1 to 2 minutes). Add the cocoa powder and vanilla; continue beating, scraping the bowl often, until the mixture is creamy (1 to 2 minutes). Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the milk and ¼ cup sour cream; continue beating, scraping bowl often, until creamy (1 to 2 minutes).
You can add more powdered sugar for stiffer peaks. I probably added one cup to mine. If it gets too stiff, add another tablespoon of milk to soften it back up and beat again.
Frosting the cake is simple—and very forgiving. In fact, you may have seen on Instagram that I dropped the entire cake on the counter, and then pieced it back together with a crumb coat (a thin layer of frosting). I actually saved some of the broken cake pieces to sprinkle on the outside like dirt. So don’t worry if your frosting isn’t perfect. Every tree is different, after all.
A bûche de Noël can be decorated in all manner of woodland or holiday garnishes. You can restrict it to purely edible items or incorporate some decorations from the craft store. Just make sure that anything touching the frosting is food-safe, even if it is to be removed before eating.
Some ideas: red hots, chocolate covered cherries, chocolate shavings, rosemary, gummies, sprigs of rosemary, fondant leaves, faux flowers, plastic figurines, pre-made sugar decorations, shaped marzipan, meringue… the list is endless.
The most classic addition is perhaps meringue mushrooms, but I wanted a simpler alternative and cut my marshmallows on the diagonal and stuck them onto rolled cookies before dipping them into powdered sugar and dusting them with cocoa powder.
To add the appearance of moss, I pressed some crushed pistachios into the sides and top of the cake and let some fall onto the cake stand.
And instead of making leaves out of marzipan or fondant, I added sprigs of rosemary for greenery.
Chocolate covered cherries and red hots gave a nod to holly berries, and a brilliant red Cardinal sat atop the stump.
I decided to stop there for the cake, but I’m sure a child would love to create an entire holiday scene in those creamy swirls.
This post is brought to you by Daisy Squeeze Sour Cream. Squeeze more out of the holidays with a #DollopOfDaisy.