Recipe by Alice Medrich
A home-made yule log cake is the most spectacular holiday centerpiece of all! This one starts with Renewal Mill Vanilla Cake Mix, baked in a sheet—instead of a cake pan—and rolled up around the creamiest rich chocolate frosting ever.
Bonus: the plant based frosting doubles as a spectacular fudge sauce over ice cream (or just on your spoon).
Vanilla & Chocolate Yule Log Cake
- Upcycled Renewal Mill Vanilla Cake Mix
- 3 1/2 cups Chocolate Cream Frosting. (see recipe)
- Optional decorations: sprigs of greenery, sugared cranberries, aqua faba meringue mushrooms, chocolate shavings, red or green gumdrops, marzipan holly leaves….
- 12x16x1-inch or 11x17-inch rimmed baking sheet or jelly roll pan
- Parchment paper and foil
- Handheld mixer
- Offset spatula
- Plastic fork for decorating
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
Mix the cake according to the instructions on the package. Scrape the batter into the lined pan and spread it as evenly as possible—an offset spatula is the best tool for this.
Bake 9-11 minutes or until the surface is starting to turn golden brown in spots. Rotate the pan from front to back halfway through the baking time.
Run a small spatula around the edges of the pan to detach the cake. Cover the cake with a sheet of foil (or parchment) and flip the pan and foil onto the counter. Remove the pan and peel the parchment liner from the cake bottom. Let the cake cool completely.
Slide a rimless baking sheet under the cake and foil, put another sheet of foil and another baking sheet on top of the cake. Hold the two sheets together, then flip the whole business over so that the cake is right-side-up. Remove the top baking sheet. Carefully peel the foil from the surface of the cake—it will have stuck to the cake and will peel of the thin top “skin” of the cake. This is just what we want!
Soften the frosting as described in the recipe, so that it is easy to spread but not too runny.
Spread 1 ¾ cups of frosting evenly over the cake.
Start rolling the cake from one short edge by folding the edge about an inch over the filling. Continue to roll the cake, using the foil beneath it to help you. Roll the cake gently, but tightly, as though it were a sleeping bag, to keep the roll as cylindrical as possible. When the roll is complete, wrap it tightly in the foil and put it in the freezer for several hours or until ready to finish the cake. Cover and set aside the remaining frosting aside at room temperature if using within 24 hours or cover and refrigerate it for later use.
Have the following tools at hand for finishing the cake:
- A large sharp knife and tall pitcher of hot tap water
- a spatula for spreading frosting
- a plastic fork
- two metal dinner forks
- a serving platter.
Unwrap the cake and trim a fraction of an inch from each end using the knife dipped in hot water and wiped dry. Set the cake on a turntable or on a baking sheet.
Use a spatula to spread the cake lavishly with plenty of frosting. Immediately, before the frosting starts to stiffen, rake the plastic fork through the frosting so that it resembles the texture of tree bark.
Dip the knife into hot water and wipe it dry. Cut a slanted stump from one end of the log and set it aside. Dip the knife, wipe, and cut a slanted stump from the other end and set it aside. Use the two metal forks to lift and transfer the cake log to the serving platter. Position the stumps against the cake on either side, slanted sides facing out. Use the reserved frosting and plastic fork to fill in any gaps and touch up the bark effect.
Decorate with greenery, sugared cranberries, meringue mushrooms or what-have-you. Cake keeps at least a day at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days.
Chocolate Cream Frosting
- 18 ounces (3 cups) semisweet or dark chocolate chips*
- 1 ¼ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Generous 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups evaporated (not sweetened condensed) oat milk** or evaporated soy milk
Pour chocolate chips, vanilla, and salt into a bowl. Heat the evaporated milk to a simmer and pour it over the chocolate. Cover the bowl for 2-3 minutes to let the chocolate melt. Whisk the mixture until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Let the frosting sit at room temperature until it has thickened to a soft spreadable consistency with a beautiful glossy sheen. It may take a couple of hours or more to come to the right consistency—a brief period in the fridge can speed this along.
If the frosting gets too stiff (either from standing or in the fridge), soften it by placing the bowl in a pan of barely simmering water. When the frosting is partially melted, remove the bowl and stir it smooth. Return to the hot water bath or fridge at any time to adjust the consistency to your needs. You will want a soft-but- not-too-runny texture for filling the cake and an extra soft consistency for finishing.
*We love the quality and flavor of Guittard Akoma Chocolate Chips—as well as the fact that they are organic and dairy-free.
** canned evaporated oat milk is available at some supermarkets or online. You can make your own evaporated soy (or other non-dairy) milk, by simmering regular unsweetened soy (or other) non-dairy milk, stirring from time to time, until it is reduced by 50-60%. Strain into a jar and refrigerate until needed.