Richard Bainbridge’s Christmas Yule Log

recipe by Richard Bainbridge
Servings: 4


Chef’s note:
As we now move into the winter months and start to think about little treats and cakes to celebrate gatherings at Christmas time and the festive period, I think that one of the ultimate 70s/80s nostalgic cakes that is right up there – the Chocolate Yule Log.

I remember the Chocolate Yule Log that used to come out of a packet and sit on my mum’s or my nanny’s sideboard, decorated with plastic reindeer, plastic holly and one of those large, retro, shiny, silver signs that said “Merry Christmas”. It would sit on the side for two to three days before Christmas and I would gaze at it, desperately wanting to be able to dive straight in to this rich, chocolatey sponge cake. And that is why we are  giving you the recipe for this ultimate wintery, Christmas classic – perfect for any large gathering around the festive period and brilliant to slice up and offer to friends and family.

There is quite a lot going on in this recipe, so just make sure you read through it carefully and prepare yourself. Get your head around the various components of the dish and bring it all together. It’s also a really fun thing to make with the children, so try this amazing cake and reminisce to those 80s Christmases – with prawn cocktail to start, turkey for main, and a beautiful chocolate log to finish... Or a Viennetta slice!

“We were thrilled to learn that Richard has been given an Honorary Degree from the University of East Anglia and City College Norwich. Congratulations to Richard and his family from all at nourish!”


for the Yule Log

for the chocolate buttercream (optional)


  1. First, make the sponge. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Then beat together the egg yolks with
    80g of icing sugar until the mixture forms ribbons.

  2. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until half risen, add 45g of icing sugar, and beat again at high speed for one minute until very stiff. Using a flat slotted spoon, mix one third of the egg whites into the yolks and stir until completely blended. Very carefully, tip the remaining egg whites all at once into the yolks and mix gently. Before the mixture becomes completely incorporated, sift the cocoa powder and cornflour into the bowl and fold through until you have a smooth batter. Then, stop folding so the cake doesn’t become heavy.

  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment and using a palette knife, spread the sponge mixture evenly over the paper making a rectangle around 26x30cm. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes.

  4. While the sponge is cooking, prepare your filling: whip the cream with the remaining icing sugar until it forms ribbons. In a separate bowl, mix together the fruit coulis and your liqueur of choice.

bring it together

  1. Remove your sponge from the oven – the top of the sponge should feel springy to the touch once cooked. Turn the sponge out onto a wire rack with a tea towel underneath. Carefully peel off the parchment paper, then gently roll the sponge – including the tea towel – into a sausage shape and leave in a cool place for 5-10 minutes.

  2. Unroll the sponge and trim the edges with a knife to remove any slightly overcooked or dry parts. Then brush with a quarter of the coulis, keeping the rest to serve separately.

  3. Next, using a palette knife, spread the whipped cream to within 1.5cm of the edges of the sponge and
    scatter over the raspberries. Now use the tea towel to roll up the sponge like a Swiss roll and transfer to a serving platter. Chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours before serving.

  4. You can cover the Yule Log with chocolate buttercream and little Christmas decorations if desired, for an extra festive feel!

for the chocolate buttercream

  1. If you are covering your Yule Log in buttercream, put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the bowl isn’t touching the water. Stir until melted, then leave to cool for five minutes.

  2. Place the butter and icing sugar together in a stand mixer and start on low with a whisk attachment. Whisk until the mixture is doubled in size and is light and fluffy. Sift in the cocoa powder then pour in the melted chocolate, a pinch of sea salt and the milk, then mix again until smooth. Keep at room temperature until ready to use.

to serve

  1. When ready to serve your Chocolate Yule Log, spread over your chocolate buttercream if using, dredge with icing sugar, add any festive decorations, then cut into diagonal slices and serve on cold plates.

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