Two years ago I tried to make a Bûche de Noël and this is what happened. Isn’t this a sad, sad photo?
For those that don’t know, Bûche de Noël is a traditional French Christmas cake that resembles a yule log. They’re made out of a thin sheet cake rolled with frosting and decorated to look like rustic wood. I’ve recently seen cake pans shaped like yule logs so bakers can make a shortcut version of this traditional dessert. And to anyone that’s used one, consider yourself a cheater.
The allure of the Bûche de Noël started when I was 11 or 12. My dad was a partner at a store in a very chic neighborhood in Brooklyn. I worked weekends as a gift wrapper. One weekend the French bakery next door sent over a Bûche de Noël as a neighborly holiday gesture. It tasted… amazing.
The following year I asked my dad if he could pick up a Bûche for Christmas and he returned home empty-handed because they were going for $40, which was a lot to pay for a cake in the ’90s (in my opinion and clearly Dad’s too).
So I haven’t had a mere bite of Bûche de Noël since. Two years ago I attempted to make my own. I thought it would be easy and I was smart enough to do a trial run the weekend before Christmas. I even watched instructional YouTube videos. I baked the cake, made the buttercream, and even got the cake to successfully pop out of the jelly roll pan in one piece. Then I started to roll the cake and that’s when it started to crack and break and my dreams of baking a successful Bûche de Noël had crumbled.
In just a few weeks, once 2012 is upon us, I’m going to start baking a cake a week. And hopefully by this time next year, I’ll be brave and skilled enough to attempt another Bûche de Noël.
A version of this post originally appeared on my personal blog: NinaSpezz.com.