I couldn’t finish up my 12 Days of Holiday Baking without this Chocolate Hazelnut Bûche de Noël.
When I posted the original recipe on my previous website, Huffpost added it to one of their holiday must-bake lists. Didn’t see that post a few years ago? No worries, here it is, and better than ever….I’ve streamlined the recipe a bit!
Chocolate Hazelnut Bûche de Noël
Chocolate Hazelnut Whipped Cream
- 2 cups heavy cream separated into two 1 cup measures
- 1/2 cup Nutella* or other chocolate hazelnut spread.
- 2 ounces good semi-sweet or dark chocolate grated
Chocolate Hazelnut Jellyroll
- 3 cups whole hazelnuts** [a.k.a. filberts]
- 1 cup cake flour OR or 1 cup minus 2 tbs all purpose flour + 2 tbs corn starch or arrowroot flour sifted 5-7 times [See note re cake flour below]
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or hazelnut liqueur
- Additional icing sugar and a tea towel
[OPTIONAL] Hazelnut Soak
- 1/4 cup additional white sugar
- 1/8 cup additional hazelnut liqueur
- 1/8 cup additional water
Chocolate Hazelnut Buttercream
- 1 cup butter
- 3/4 cup Nutella* or other chocolate hazelnut spread.
- 1 1/2 + cups icing sugar
- a few ounces of good chocolate chopped
- whole or rough-chopped roasted hazelnuts
Prepare the Chocolate Hazelnut Whipped Cream, Part One [4-24 hours before preparing the rest of the cake]
- In a small, heavy pot, combine 1 cup of the heavy cream and 1/2 cup nutella.
- Over medium heat, bring to a low simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture is combined.
- Remove the mixture to a glass or stainless container, discarding any sediment at the bottom of the cooking vessel.
- Place the mixture in the refrigerator and chill at least 4 hours. 24 hours is preferred.
Roast and Chop
- Heat oven to 300.
- Place the whole hazelnuts on a parchment lined pan and set in the oven.
- Every minute, open the oven and stir the tray of nuts, until the nuts are lightly roasted. [Approximately 7-10 minutes.]
- Rub nuts in a clean towel to remove about 40-50% of the skins.
- Roughly chop the nuts, removing additional skins as you can, but without being precious about it.
- Set aside 3/4 of the chopped hazelnuts for the cake and reserved any remainder for decor.
Make the Cake
- Heat oven to 375.
- Gently grease the bottom a 10x15x1 jelly roll pan.
- Line the pan with parchment or wax paper cut about 1/4-in smaller than the base of the pan.
- Grease and flour the lined pan.
- In a bowl or on a sheet of wax paper, sift 1 cup of flour, 1/4 cup cocoa, 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
- In a mixer or by hand, beat the three large eggs until thick and creamy.
- One tablespoon at a time, beat in the 1 cup of sugar, until mixture is quite thick.
- Stir in 1/3 cup of water and the 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or hazelnut liqueur.
- Quickly but gently fold in the flour mixture until just combined, but not lumpy.
- Fold in 3/4 cup of the chopped, toasted hazelnuts.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a spatula.
- Bake the cake for 12-14 minutes, until the centre springs back when lightly pressed with a finger.
- While the cake is baking, spread a large tea towel on a countertop or table and dust the towel with icing sugar.
- After you take the cake out of the oven. let it cool slightly in its pan on a wire rack for 3-5 minutes.
- While still warm, invert the cake onto the sugar-dusted towel and gently remove the parchment or waxed paper from the cake.
- Make sure that the cake is situated in "landscape" mode in front of you, so that you will maintain its 15-in length and "roll" its ten inches into a "log." And, gently roll the cake right in the towel, dusting with icing sugar as you go.
- Set rolled cake in its towel on a flat surface and cool completely. [You can store the cake like this for up to one day or re-roll the cake in wax paper, wrap wax-paper-rolled cake in foil and freeze for 2-3 weeks.]
Prepare the the Optional Hazelnut Soak
- In a pan on the stove, combine 1/4 cup sugar, 1/8 cup water, 1/8 cup hazelnut liqueur.
- Stir over medium heat just until the sugar dissolves. [No need to boil or thicken].
- Allow to cool, slightly.
Finish the Chocolate Hazelnut Whipped Cream
- In a cold mixing bowl fitted with cold beaters, whip the cold cream and nutella mixture from the refrigerator until a light and fluffy whipped cream forms. It is imperative that you whip this mixture ONLY until it is light and fluffy. Over-whisking will result in separation.***[Made a mistake? See the notes for a quick substitute!]
- If you feel you have too little whipped cream to cover your cake, set this mixture aside, beat up to 1 cup additional plain whipped cream with a few teaspoons of sugar, and combine this white cream with your nutella cream.
- Grate 2 ounces of good chocolate and, if desired, add at least half of this chocolate to the whipped cream, reserving the remainder, if any, for the top of your cake.
For the Chocolate Hazelnut Buttercream
- In a mixer, combine 1 cup room temperature butter and 3/4 cup Nutella until combined.
- Gradually add 1 1/2 cups icing sugar until you have a thick but soft and spreadable icing.
- If the icing looks too soft, refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.
- Beat in more icing sugar if the icing is still too soft.
Prepare the Bûche de Noël
- Unroll the cooled cake.
- Optional: Brush the exposed top with a bit of the hazelnut syrup. You will probably only use about 1/8 of the recipe.
- Spread the exposed top of the unrolled cake with the whipped cream.
- Gently re-roll the cake.
- Slice a 1 1/2 to 2-inch slice off of each end of the cake roll to use as the "knots" on your cake. Skip this step if you prefer a jelly-roll style cake.
- Place the large portion of the cake on your serving tray.
- Use icing to attach these "knots" to the left and right sides of the cake as you see fit.
- If desired, dirty ice the cake and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Ice the cake. You do not have to ice the open ends and open knots of the cake. This is a bit tricky, but can be done with a clean icing spreader.
- If desired, with the tines of a fork, create a bark pattern on your yule log cake.
- Decorate the cake with additional chopped hazelnuts and grated chocolate as you see fit.
- By cake flour, I mean traditional super-fine cake flour, which is not always available in stores. Be aware that most "cake and pastry flour" I've seen at the grocery is not the old "boxed" cake flour of my childhood (and from which this recipe was born). This readily available mix very often contains benzoyl peroxide. A solid choice for good cake flour is Bob's Red Mill. The substitute flour and cornstarch or flour and arrowroot powder combo has become my preferred method of preparation. The general rule is 1 cup minus 2 tbs flour with 2 tbs of cornstarch or arrowroot powder added. Then, you sift this mixture 5-7 times.
- *You will need 1 1/4 total cups of spread for the entire bûche de noël.
- **You will need 3/4 cup roasted chopped hazelnuts for the cake. I reserve any of the remainder for decor.
- *** If your nutella whip separates, don't panic. Simply whip up an alternative...In a cold, clean bowl, with cold clean beaters, whip your remaining 1 cup of whipped cream, add a few tablespoons of white or icing sugar, some chopped chocolate, and, if desired, some chopped roasted hazelnuts, and call it a day!
Use my slightly fuzzy Cannoli Bûche de Noël Assembly Guide to Assemble your Chocolate Hazelnut Bûche!