Midwest Twist on Yule Log Cake

DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) – Tiphanie Canon of Oh that’s so sweet enchants us once again as she continues her PSL »Season of sweetness ” series.

Cannon shares family recipe that showcases a Midwestern twist to a traditional French Christmas log which is made with a chiffon cake with an espresso buttercream filling and festively decorated with a rich chocolate buttercream, cranberries and rosemary.

The baking, preparation and assembly of this cake are not for the faint of heart! But she points out that the process can be fun and a lot more manageable if you spread out the many steps over a few days to complete this cake which is the ultimate centerpiece of a Christmas treat.


1/4 T vegetable oil

4 eggs separated (egg yolks in one bowl, egg whites in the other bowl)

1/3 C plus 1 tablespoon of water

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 T plus 2 tablespoons flour

1 C. baking powder

3/4 T of sugar

1/2 salt

2 egg whites

1/4 cup cream of tartar

Coffee syrup

1/4 T of coffee

1/4 T sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 325.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, 4 egg yolks, water and vanilla. Put aside
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, 1/2 C plus 1 T of sugar.
  4. Make a well in the center of the sprayer, add the egg yolk mixture and whisk briskly until very smooth, about a minute.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the 6 egg whites until fluffy. Add cream of tartar and beat until egg whites form soft peaks. Slowly add the remaining 3 T of sugar and beat until the egg whites are stiff and shiny peaks.
  6. Using a rubber spatula, pour about a third of the egg whites into the yok mixture and gently fold. Once incorporated, stir in remaining egg whites until combined.
  7. Pour the dough into a loaf pan covered with parchment paper, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cake is set. Cool completely.
  8. Make the coffee syrup: mix the coffee and the sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  9. To assemble the Yule log: Flip the cake over on a clean tea towel and remove the top sheet of parchment paper. Using a brush, moisten the cake with the coffee syrup. Using an offset spatula, spread the espresso buttercream evenly over the cake, leaving a one-inch border on the long sides. Starting with the long side, roll the cake using the parchment to help lift it up and roll it evenly and firmly. If it cracks, keep driving!
  10. Refrigerate cake until buttercream is firm, about two hours.
  11. To glaze and decorate the log: Using a sharp knife, cut off the ends of the log, about 1/2 inch at each end. Cut a 6-inch piece from one end of the log and cut it in half on the diagonal.
  12. Place the log seal side down on a serving platter. Cut the 6 ″ piece in half and place it on opposite sides of the log. Place two large spoonfuls of chocolate buttercream on top and smooth the buttercream so that it resembles a log.
  13. Decorate the log with the sweet cranberries and rosemary.
  14. Espresso buttercream filling


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar


  • Dissolve the espresso powder in the vanilla in a bowl or mug and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter and beat with a whisk on high power for five minutes. Reduce speed to low and slowly add powdered sugar – ½ cup increments are good – and allow each addition to combine completely.
  • Once all of the powdered sugar is in, scrape the bowl, then whisk for a minute or two until frothy and light.
  • After that, add the espresso-vanilla mixture and mix over low heat until everything is smooth.

Chocolate buttercream

1 cup of butter

3 1/2 C powdered sugar

1/2 cup cocoa powder

3 tablespoons heavy cream or milk

2 teaspoons of vanilla

  1. Using a hand or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk, beat butter on medium speed until creamy – about 2 minutes. Add the icing sugar, cocoa powder, heavy cream, salt and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 1 full minute. Add 1/4 cup icing sugar or cocoa powder if the icing is too thin or another tablespoon of cream if the icing is too thick. To taste. Add another pinch of salt if desired.
  2. Use immediately or cover tightly and store for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer. After freezing, thaw in the refrigerator then beat the icing at medium speed for a few seconds to make it creamy again. After thawing or refrigerating, adding a little heavy cream or milk will help dilute the frosting again, if necessary.

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