This entirely vegan Christmas Yule log cake tastes just like the classic Bûche De Noël, only entirely dairy free, egg free and gluten free! With an easy vegan chocolate sponge, dairy free chocolate hazelnut buttercream, and vegan chocolate ganache, you won’t believe how simple this Yule log is to put together and how delicious it is to eat!

Vegan Christmas Yule Log Cake (Bûche De Noël)

What is a Bûche De Noël or Yule log cake?

Traditionally, a Bûche De Noël cake, or Yule log cake, is a Christmas dessert popular in France (hence why it’s popular to call it a Bûche De Noel!) comprising of a chocolate sponge cake, chocolate buttercream, and other decorations.

Bûche De Noël actually translates to “log of Christmas,” which is what the cake visually represents: a log covered in snow in the forest!

It’s topped with meringue mushrooms, cranberries, holly, and the like to achieve that beautifully organic and holiday-inspired look!

hand sprinkling powdered sugar over Buche De Noel

The classic Buche De Noel with a vegan twist

The classic Yule log cake isn’t vegan, nor gluten free. It’s based on a sponge cake, which if you know about classic baking, then you know a sponge cake heavily relies on eggs.

However, I wanted to make an entirely vegan Yule log cake that tastes nearly identical to the classic. Every Christmas, my mom would always go to the local bakery to purchase a Yule log cake, as it’s her favorite, so it was highly critical that I got her approval on this recipe.

If you’re new to the Banana Diaries, then just know my mom is a stickler for detecting when things are vegan. And guess what? I’m proud to say that she requested that I make this Yule log cake for Christmas this year!

close up of vegan buche de Noel

Yes, specifically requested it! So you know that this vegan Yule log cake is a keeper!

But how do we achieve a completely veganized dairy free (and easily made gluten free) Bûche De Noël cake? Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Chocolate Sponge Cake: flour (you can use gluten-free 1:1 baking flour here!), cacao powder, coconut sugar, aquafaba, applesauce, and dairy free yogurt
  • Vegan chocolate hazelnut buttercream: vegan butter, coconut sugar, cacao powder, and chocolate hazelnut spread
  • Vegan ganache: vegan butter and chocolate chiips
  • Garnishes: yes, I made my very own VEGAN meringue mushrooms. You just can’t have a Yule log cake without the mushroom caps of course. And I decided to go with a few sugared cranberries as well because ’tis the season!

In terms of equipment, I recommend:

  • Medium baking sheet with walls
  • Clean kitchen towel
  • Hand mixer or stand mixer
  • Large bowl
  • Medium bowl
  • Piping bag and tip (for the vegan meringue mushrooms)
  • Serving platter
sliced Christmas Yule log

Now I know that making a Yule log cake seems complicated, but it’s really just about following the steps. Make sure that you read through the recipe card found all the way at the bottom of the post before beginning to make this recipe.

Gather your ingredients, and get ready to roll into a Yule log!

Vegan Yule Log Cake Video Tutorial

How to make a Yule log cake vegan

I know that a Yule log cake seems complicated and overwhelming, but trust me, if I can make this cake, you can too. It’s really just about following the steps and trusting the process.

The full instructions and ingredient measurements are down below in the recipe card, and be sure to read them once (even twice!) through before beginning. It’s always important to do this, but especially for the Buche De Noel cake, as there are a lot of steps.

overhead of vegan Yule log cake

However, it can be broken down into four simple categories

  • Vegan chocolate sponge cake
  • Vegan chocolate hazelnut buttercream
  • Vegan Ganache
  • Decorations

The sponge cake

Making a vegan chocolate sponge cake just has one more step to it than making my vegan chocolate cake. In fact, it’s loosely based off of that recipe!

Traditionally, a sponge cake gets its lift and airiness from whipped and stiff peaks of egg whites and egg yolks. However, this is a vegan chocolate sponge cake, so instead of eggs, we’re actually using aquafaba (chickpea brine) and applesauce.

I don’t recommend any swaps here, as the aquafaba is the perfect substitution for egg whites, and applesauce provides much more moisture than flaxseed for the replacement of egg yolks.

To make a vegan chocolate sponge cake that will be rolled into a Swiss roll:

  1. Sift together the flour, cacao powder, and baking powder.
  2. In a large bowl, whip the aquafaba and half of the coconut sugar until it reaches stiff peaks.
  3. Add in the applesauce, remaining coconut sugar, and dairy free yogurt and mix again until incorporated. Then fold in the dry ingredients and fold until there are no more dry streaks.
  4. Spread the batter onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake.
how to make vegan chocolate sponge cake

Then once the cake is baked, we’re going to cool the cake rolled in a dish towel. Yes, rolled in a dish towel! You’ll need a clean kitchen towel, and you’ll lightly sprinkle cacao powder on top once it’s spread out.

Carefully transfer the still warm cake to the dish towel (I flip the baking pan onto the dish towel), and roll the width-side of the cake (so the opposite of when you roll cinnamon rolls!), rolling the dish towel with the cake.

Essentially, the dish towel rolls in with the cake. This helps the cake cool as a roll, so when we roll it with the vegan buttercream, it doesn’t break. You’ll need to cool the cake for at least 2 hours.

But don’t worry- during that time, you can make the vegan meringue mushrooms! More on that in the below sections, but let’s move onto making the Swiss roll.

How to make a vegan Swiss roll

Once the cake is cooled, you can make the vegan Swiss roll by making the vegan buttercream first.

It’s just like any other vegan buttercream we’ve made on the blog! Just vegan butter, powdered sugar or coconut sugar, cacao powder, and a bit of vegan Nutella for the chocolate hazelnut flavor.

If you want a vanilla buttercream, simply swap in your favorite vegan vanilla buttercream!

Once the buttercream is ready:

  1. Carefully unroll the sponge cake.
  2. Spread the vegan buttercream onto the cake, making sure it touches the edges.
  3. Carefully re-roll the sponge cake, using the kitchen towel to help with that (but this time, not rolling the kitchen towel in with the cake!).
  4. Place the vegan Swiss roll cake back into the fridge while you make the ganache!
how to make a vegan Swiss roll cake

How to make vegan ganache

Making a dairy free vegan ganache is as easy and simple as making a regular ganache. If you’ve never made a ganache before, not to worry; it’s so incredibly easy!

Simply melt the vegan butter until hot, and then stir in the vegan chocolate chips until they’re completely melted.

The ganache might still be runny even once the chocolate is completely melted into it. Simply chill the ganache then in the fridge for up to 10 minutes. It should be thick at that point, but still runny.

vegan Yule log cake garnishes

Once the ganache is ready, you’re ready to assemble your vegan Buche De Noel!

Yule log cake assembly

Now is the fun part: assembling and decorating the Yule log cake!

  1. Place the Yule log cake onto a serving platter. Slice about 1/3 of the cake, on a slight diagonal, and place that piece (the diagonal side touching the main Yule log) on either side of the cake.
  2. Trim the ends of the Yule log if the frosting doesn’t quite align with the sponge cake. You can save those pieces as your own treat!
  3. Spread the ganache on top of the Yule log cake, covering the tops and sides of the cake.
  4. Use a fork to create the bark marks on the Buche De Noel. Run the fork in wiggly lines along the cake to create an organic looking bark.

Once the cake is frosted, now we can garnish with the sugared cranberries, vegan meringue mushrooms, rosemary, and the like!

how to slice a Yule log cake

I place the meringue mushrooms on the sides and on top of the cake. Then I decorate with sugared cranberries and rosemary sprigs. You can also use real holly- just don’t eat it!

I then like to sprinkle cacao powder onto the cake, specifically the mushrooms, to give them a more earthy look. Top with some powdered sugar for snow, and you’re ready to serve your beautifully classic Christmas cake!

How to make vegan meringue mushrooms

Now you’re probably wondering how the heck these meringue mushrooms are vegan.

Simple. Aquafaba. If you’re unfamiliar with this excellent vegan egg replacement, aquafaba is essentially chickpea brine, or the water that comes from soaked chickpeas.

When the chickpeas are soaked and cooked, they release starches and proteins into the water that they’re in, creating a thick mixture that resembles egg whites.

This can be used to our advantage. Aquafaba whips up just like egg whites into stiff and foamy white peaks, which can easily be used for a veganized meringue.

vegan meringue mushrooms

These meringue mushrooms are quite simple, and much easier than macarons. Don’t worry; you don’t have to do any sculpting to achieve their shape!

Simply prepare the vegan meringue, then pipe the mushroom caps and the stems (see the video for specifics!).

Bake the meringue cookies for an hour, rotating the pan every 15 minutes. Once baked, allow the meringue cookies to cool in the oven for one hour.

This timing actually works out perfectly as while the chocolate sponge cake is chilling into a beautiful Swiss roll (right before you frost it), you have plenty of time to make the vegan mushroom meringue cookies.

For assembly, you’ll simply dot a little chocolate onto the bottom of the mushroom cap, and press the stem into it. When it hardens and sets, it looks like a mushroom!

how to make a Yule log cake

Dust with a little cacao powder, and it’s like you were foraging in the forest 😉

How to store Buche De Noel

I don’t recommend leaving this cake out after a few hours, as the ganache starts to soften, along with the buttercream, and it might become a mess.

Once you’ve made your Bûche De Noël, I recommend storing any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

slice of vegan Yule log cake

I hope you love this vegan Yule log cake as much as I do! If you make it, let me know how it goes down below in the comments section along with giving it a rating so that others may find it!

As always, I absolutely love to see your beautiful creations so be sure to tag me on Instagram and Pinterest!

Happy cake rolling and baking!

More vegan Christmas cakes:

Vegan White Chocolate Cake Recipe

Secretly Vegan Red Velvet Cake

Vegan Panettone

Vegan Eggnog Cake

Paleo Vegan Spice Cake

Vegan Christmas Tree Cake

Vegan Ginger Cake

Want to save this recipe for later? Add it to your favorite recipe board on Pinterest!

Vegan Christmas Yule Log Cake (Bûche De Noël)
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how to make a Yule log cake

Vegan Christmas Yule Log Cake (Bûche De Noël)

  • Author: thebananadiaries
  • Prep Time: 240
  • Cook Time: 13
  • Total Time: 4 hours 13 minutes
  • Yield: 20 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: French
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This entirely vegan Christmas Yule log cake tastes just like the classic Bûche De Noël, only entirely dairy free, egg free and gluten free! With an easy vegan chocolate sponge, dairy free chocolate hazelnut buttercream, and vegan chocolate ganache, you won’t believe how simple this Yule log is to put together and how delicious it is to eat!

Styling inspired by Sally’s Baking Addiction


Ingredients

Units Scale

Vegan Yule Log Cake:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, cake flour, or gluten free 1:1 baking flour, sifted *see note for gluten free option
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup aquafaba
  • 1 cup coconut sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup dairy free yogurt, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder for dusting the dish towel

Vegan Hazelnut Chocolate Buttercream:

  • 1 cup vegan butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered coconut sugar or powdered sugar
  • 1 cup cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp chocolate hazelnut spread, store bought or homemade
  • 23 tbsp dairy free milk

Vegan Ganache:

  • 1 cup vegan butter
  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips

Vegan Meringue Mushrooms:

  • 1/2 batch vegan meringue (see directions below for mushroom molding)

Additional toppings:

  • 1/2 cup sugared cranberries
  • 45 stems of fresh rosemary
  • 12 tbsp cacao powder
  • 12 tbsp powdered sugar

Instructions

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a medium baking sheet that has walls with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the vegan yule log cake part: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cacao powder, and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, use a hand mixer or stand mixer to whip the aquafaba first for 5 minutes, and then add in 1/2 cup coconut sugar, continuing to beat into stiff peaks***. It should not be runny or easily moveable. Then add in the applesauce, the remaining 1/2 cup coconut sugar, and the dairy free yogurt. Beat everything together until it’s combined.
  4. Add in the dry ingredients into the wet, and fold the mixture until there are no more dry streaks. Be careful not to over-mix.
  5. Pour the batter onto the baking sheet and use a spatula or offset knife to spread the batter until it reaches the edges of the baking sheet. Place into the oven to bake for 10-13 minutes, or until the cake is set and the toothpick comes out clean.
  6. While baking, lay a clean dish towel onto the counter and dust with the 2 tbsp of cacao powder. Once baked, remove from the oven and use oven mitts to carefully flip the cake onto the dish towel so that it’s aligned. The bottom should be covering the cacao powder. Then begin to carefully roll the width side (or shorter side) of the cake, the dish towel rolling with the cake and into the cake to help the cake cool in a roll. Once the cake is rolled, carefully transfer it to the fridge to chill for 2 hours. While chilling, prepare the vegan meringue mushrooms.
  7. Prepare the vegan meringue mushrooms: make the meringue according to the meringue cookie directions up until step 5, skipping the food coloring. Then spoon the meringue into a large piping bag with a round tip. Pipe 6-7 round and slightly flat mushroom caps, about 1″ in diameter. Then pipe 6-7 stems, pulling up about 1″ once you begin piping. Lightly use your pointer or pinky finger to smooth down any tip on the top of the mushroom cap and/or stems. Bake the meringue for 1 hour, rotating the meringue cookies every 15 minutes. Then turn the oven off and leave the cookies in the oven for 1 hour. After an hour, remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool while you frost the cake.
  8. Make the vegan hazelnut chocolate buttercream: once the cake is cooled, you can leave it in the fridge while you make the vegan chocolate hazelnut buttercream. In a large bowl, cream the vegan butter and chocolate hazelnut spread until fluffy. Add in the powdered coconut sugar and cacao powder, and continue beating until fluffy, smooth, and light. If you need a bit of help with the texture, you can add in the dairy free milk here in increments until you reach the desired texture of buttercream. 
  9. Carefully unroll your Yule log cake from the kitchen towel, leaving it on the towel. Spread the hazelnut buttercream onto the top of the cake until it reaches the edges. Then carefully re-roll your Yule log cake. You can use the help of the kitchen towel but do not roll the kitchen towel into the Yule log. Once the Yule log is rolled, carefully transfer the roll back to the fridge to chill while you make the vegan ganache.
  10. Make the vegan ganache: melt the vegan butter in the microwave until hot in a microwave-safe bowl. Add in the chocolate chips and stir until the chocolate chips are completely melted into the vegan butter. This should take about 3-4 minutes. Then place the bowl into the fridge to chill for 10 minutes.
  11. Assemble the vegan meringue mushrooms: use a butter knife to flatten the tip of the mushroom stem. Then using melted chocolate or a bit of hazelnut chocolate spread, spread a dot onto the top of the mushroom stem. Carefully place the mushroom cap on top and place the mushroom to rest on the baking sheet, mushroom cap on bottom. Repeat for the remaining mushrooms, and allow them to set for 5 minutes, while you’re frosting the outside of the cake.
  12. Assemble and frost the outside of the Yule log cake: Remove the cake and the ganache from the fridge, and place the cake onto your serving plate. Slice the Yule log so that one side is about 1/3 of the cake, and the other side is about 2/3. Slice on a slight diagonal. Take the smaller part of the Yule log and place it on the side of the main Yule log, having the diagonal side touching the other side of the yule log. Slice the ends of the Yule log if the frosting doesn’t entirely reach the edges of your cake. You can save those slices and enjoy them on the side! Now using the chilled ganache (it should still be moveable, just not runny anymore), spread the ganache onto the top and sides of the Yule log. Take a fork and run wiggly lines down the tops and sides of the Yule log to create bark. Place the vegan meringue mushrooms on the sides and tops of the cake, along with the sugared cranberries and sprigs of rosemary. 
  13. Finish: top the cake with cacao powder, especially on the mushrooms, and powdered sugar for snow. Slice and enjoy! Store any leftover slices in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Notes

* For gluten free, I recommend Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 baking flour.

** To make this cake nut-free, use all nut-free dairy free milk, butter, and yogurt products, and omit the chocolate hazelnut spread from the frosting

***A kind reader did some research and found that sometimes aquafaba needs to be whipped first on its own and then have the sugar added, as the sugar can make the aquafaba lose its air and stiffness. 

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 334
  • Sugar: 37.6 g
  • Sodium: 235.9 mg
  • Fat: 14.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 52.8 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 3.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: Yule log cake, buche de noel, vegan yule log, vegan yule log cake, yule log cake, vegan swiss roll