Mod Yule Log #TheCakeSliceBakers

As a baking tradition, I make a Yule Log every year.

In the years that I've been baking along with the Cake Slice Bakers, I've made a modified Swiss Roll, and a salted praline Buche de Noel. When I saw this ultra-modern beauty as a choice for this month's bake, I knew I that was the one!

Check out the links at the end of this post to see what the other lovely bakers chose!

This creation out of Zoe Bakes Cakes not only stylish--it's delicious. 

It has the same chocolate cake base as the candybar-esque Chocolate Devil's Food Cake that I baked back in February--so I knew it was going to be a winner. This chocolate cake is reminiscent of Ina Garten's famous recipe, with the secret ingredients of a fabulous chocolate cake: buttermilk and oil instead of butter.

But...Zoe's cake DOESN'T sink in the middle (like the other one does every. single. time. Like seriously--The Barefoot Contessa herself warns that it always sinks in the recipe).

When you take a moist, dense, chocolatey cake and fill it with dark chocolate ganache, a decadent mousse-like peanut butter French buttercream, and salted's a feast for the eyes as well as the tastebuds.

The "bark" on this modern Christmas treat is made of tempered dark chocolate shards, made by brushing melted chocolate on to wax paper with a pastry brush. As long as it was kept cool, it wouldn’t HAVE to be tempered—but learning to temper chocolate is one of those skills that makes you feel like you can conquer anything in the culinary world. (I love this tutorial by my favorite YouTuber, if you’re interested).

Together with the crunch from the peanuts, the snap of the chocolate makes this cake something really special.

And what's a Buche de Noel without candy mushrooms? These sweet, faux fungi are baked swiss meringue.

Now...I know some of you will scroll down to look at the recipe and say, "There's no freakin' way I'm doing all of that."

It's true--there are multiple steps to this cake.

Buuut…you can divide the elements over a couple of days to so as not to be TOO overwhelming. You could theoretically start now for Christmas (I freeze cake layers ALL the time--just wrap them well and thaw when you need them. And you can make buttercream and ganache a day or two ahead of time with no problem). 

Like the Blackberry Diva Cake, this Mod Yule Log is admittedly a *bit* fussy. But divas like these are just fabulous enough to make up for being pains in the neck---er..."dramatic." 

If you're looking for a showstopping dessert, give this Mod Yule Log a go! It'll turn heads AND tempt tastebuds:)

Mod Yule Log

from Zoe Bakes Cakes by Zoe Francois

2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup dutch-processed cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup strong, hot coffee
2 T rum or brandy (optional)
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla

1. Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour four 6" round pans. 
2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa together in a large bowl. Mix the coffee and rum together in a small bowl.
3. In another bowl, mix the eggs, buttermilk and oil until well combined. add the egg mix and half of the coffee to the flour, and whisk until smooth and incorporated. Add the remainder of the coffee and stir. The batter is very runny.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a tester comes out cleanly.

"Ultra Rich" Peanut Butter Buttercream
1 cup sugar
8 egg yolks at room temp
2 cups room temp butter
1 T vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup peanut butter

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the sugar and yolks on medium to combine. The mix will be grainy and thick.
2. Put an inch of water in the bottom of a saucepan to create a double boiler. Heat to a simmer and place the mixer bowl over the saucepan. Stir with a rubber spatula until the sugar is melted (test for graininess) and the mixture reaches 140 degrees.
3. Put the mixer bowl on the stand mixer with a clean whisk and beat on medium-high until light, glossy, and fluffy. The outside of the mixer bowl should be room temp, or the mixture is too hot and will melt the butter. 
4. On medium, add butter 2 T at a time. Beat until incorporated. On low, add the salt and the vanilla and incorporate. Add the peanut butter and beat until well mixed. 

Dark Chocolate Ganache:
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1. Heat the cream until simmering.
2. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow to sit for 3 minutes.
3. Stir to emulsify.

Meringue Mushrooms:
90ml egg whites (from about 3 eggs)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 pinch salt

1. Heat the oven to 275F. 
2. In a medium saucepan, bring 1" of water to a simmer.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the egg whites, sugar and salt. Place over the simmering water and stir with a plastic spatula until the mixture is hot and you can't feel grains of sugar when you rub a dab between your fingers.
4. Remove the bowl from the heat and whip on high with a stand mixer. Beat until thick, glossy, stiff peaks form.
5. Put the meringue in a piping bag fitted with a medium round piping tip (I used a Wilton 12). On a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a silpat mat, pipe quarter-sized blobs for the "mushroom" caps. Pipe stems by making a small blob and putting straight up.
6. Cook the meringues for 30 minutes, then turn off the oven. Without opening the door, allow to cool in oven for 1 hour.
7. Poke a little hole in each mushroom cap. Dip a stem in melted chocolate and place it in the hole to make a mushroom. Repeat as needed. Allow the chocolate to set, and store in a cool, dry place.

Chocolate Shards:
Melt 8 oz dark chocolate and brush onto wax paper with a pastry brush.

1. Layer the baked cakes with a spreading of ganache, 1/4 inch of buttercream, and 2 T crushed peanuts. Repeat twice, ending with a layer of cake. 
2. Cover the stacked cake with peanut butter buttercream. On the top (using a turntable), create a swirl with an offset spatula.
3. Place the chocolate shards around the sides of the cake, overlapping slightly. 
4. Sprinkle crushed peanuts around the base of the cake, and decorate with meringue mushrooms.


Each month The Cake Slice Bakers are offered a selection of cakes from the current book we are baking through. This year it is Zoë Bakes Cakes by Zoē François. We each choose one cake to bake, and then on the 20th - never before - we all post about our cake on our blogs. There are a few rules that we follow, but the most important ones are to have fun and enjoy baking & eating cakes!

Follow our Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest pages where you can find all of our cakes, as well as inspiration for many other cakes. You can also click on the links below to take you to each of our cakes. If you have a blog and are interested in joining The Cake Slice Bakers and baking along with us, please send an email to thecakeslicebakers at gmail dot com for more details.

The Cake Slice Bakers also have a new Facebook group called The Cake Slice Bakers and Friends. This group is perfect for those who do not have a blog but want to join in the fun and bake through this book.

It is a new year and a new book - Zoë Bakes Cakes - and our choices for November 2022 were ~

Vanilla-Bean Pound Cake

Grandma Ellen's Trinidad Rum Cake

Mod Yule Log


  1. What a gorgeous tall cake! Your attention to detail is amazing!

  2. Beautiful! You make it seem so easy!!

  3. It turned out gorgeous. You should be very proud of this wonderful cake.

  4. This is a picture perfect cake! I may have to make this in lieu of our normal yule log this Christmas.


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