Classic Bûche de Noël

Our classic bûche de Noël is a proper holiday centerpiece. With a stiff buttercream filling and moist syrup-soaked genoise, it can be stored in the refrigerator a day before decorating. 

Before you get to baking, see our test kitchen’s top tips for making the perfect genoise and take a look at our visual guide to assembling your bûche.

4.0 from 2 reviews
Classic Bûche de Noël
Makes 1 bûche de Noël
  • 4 large eggs (200 grams), room temperature
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (6 grams) vanilla bean paste
  • ¾ cup (94 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup (25 grams) Dutch process cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream (90 grams), room temperature
  • ¼ cup (56 grams) vegetable oil
  • Cold Brew Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
  • Vanilla Bean Buttercream (recipe follows)
  • Chocolate Buttercream (recipe follows)
  • Meringue Mushrooms (recipe follows)
  • Garnish: ground pistachios, confectioners’ sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray a 17½x12½ rimmed baking sheet with baking spray with flour. Line pan with parchment paper; spray parchment.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat eggs and granulated sugar at high speed until thick and pale, 5 to 7 minutes. Beat in vanilla bean paste.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Gently fold flour mixture into egg mixture.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream and oil. Fold sour cream mixture into egg mixture, scraping bottom of bowl to fully combine. Spread batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with an offset spatula.
  5. Heavily dust a tea towel with cocoa.
  6. Bake until set and top springs back when touched, 10 to 12 minutes. Immediately run a sharp knife around edges of pan to loosen cake. Turn out cake onto prepared tea towel. Gently peel off parchment. Trim edges, if desired. Starting with one long side, roll up cake and towel together. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  7. Carefully unroll cake, and brush with Cold Brew Simple Syrup. Spread Vanilla Bean Buttercream on top. Reroll cake without towel, and place, seam side down, on a baking sheet, using towel as a sling. Cover with towel, and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
  8. Trim ends of cake flat. Trim 3 to 4 inches diagonally from one end; set aside. Trim a ¾-inch slice from same end; set aside.
  9. Place large cut piece at an angle off side of cake, and attach with Chocolate Buttercream. Place small cut piece, angle cut side up, on top, and attach with Chocolate Buttercream. Spread remaining Chocolate Buttercream on outside of cake. Use an offset spatula to create detailed bark ridges. Decorate with Meringue Mushrooms; garnish with pistachios and confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

4.0 from 2 reviews
Cold Brew Simple Syrup
Makes about ⅔ cup
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) water
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) cold brew coffee
  1. In a small saucepan, bring sugar and ¼ cup (60 grams) water to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, and stir in coffee. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight contatainer in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

4.0 from 2 reviews
Vanilla Bean Buttercream
Makes about 3 cups
  • 3 large egg whites (90 grams), room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
  • 1¼ cups (284 grams) unsalted butter, cubed and softened
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together egg whites, sugar, and reserved vanilla bean seeds by hand. Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, whisking occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer registers 155°F (68°C) to 160°F (71°C).
  2. Carefully return bowl to stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on high until bowl is cool to the touch, about 8 minutes. Add butter, 2 tablespoons (28 grams) at a time, beating until combined after each addition. Beat in salt. Use immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days. If refrigerating, let stand at room temperature for 2 hours and rewhip until smooth before using.

4.0 from 2 reviews
Chocolate Buttercream
Makes 2 cups
  • ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons (15 grams) Dutch process cocoa powder
  • ⅓ cup (80 grams) sour cream
  • 2½ cups (300 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add cocoa, beating until combined. Beat in sour cream until smooth. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth and creamy. Use immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days. If refrigerating, let stand at room temperature for 2 hours before using.

4.0 from 2 reviews
Meringue Mushrooms
Makes about 24 mushrooms
  • 2 large egg whites (60 grams)
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (40 grams) dark chocolate melting wafers, melted according to package directions and cooled slightly
  • Cocoa powder, for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 275°F (140°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt at low speed until foamy. With mixer on high speed, add sugar in a slow, steady stream. Beat until stiff peaks form.
  3. Place meringue in a large piping bag fitted with a ½-inch round tip. Holding tip perpendicular to parchment paper, pipe half of meringue as mushroom tops, ¾ to 1¼ inches across. (Use a wet finger to press down any points.) With remaining meringue, pipe stems as large kisses with ½-inch wide base. (It is OK if the kisses don’t have smooth tips.)
  4. Bake until meringues look dry and have started to brown slightly, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely.
  5. Using a wooden pick, poke a small hole in bottom of each mushroom top. Dip or brush melted chocolate on bottom of each mushroom top, and insert pointed stem end. Let stand until chocolate is set, about 5 minutes. Lightly dust with cocoa before serving. Best served the same day.


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  1. I love BFS recipes, so sorry to say this one did not work out for me. Chocolate frosting was very yummy, but my cake was very thin and lacking much flavor. Vanilla buttercream was easy to make and tasted great out of the mixer bowl, but in the cake it was unpleasantly dense and also not much flavor. Even the kids didn’t finish their slices. I did enjoy the process of making the rolled cake, and I’ll look out for other BFS roll cake recipes, maybe with a whipped cream filling?


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