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Chocolate Malt Bûche de Noël


  • Serves 10-12

Chocolate Malt Swiss Roll Cake

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup malted milk powder  [such as OvaltineCarnation, Horlicks, and Hoosier Hill Farm*]
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder 
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 4 room temperature eggs separated
  • 1/4 c sugar to be added to the beaten egg yolks
  • 1/2 c sugar to be added to the soft peaked egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 c water
  • a mix of cocoa powder and icing sugar & a clean kitchen towel for rolling the cake

Easy [Malted] Whipped Cream with Bashed Malt Balls

  • 1 cup  whipping cream
  • 2 tbs malted milk powder [optional] such as OvaltineCarnation, Horlicks, and Hoosier Hill Farm*]
  • 2 tbs icing sugar
  • 1 cup chopped diced or smashed malted milk balls [such as Malteasers or Whoppers] 

Chocolate Malt Buttercream

  • 1/4 cup malted milk powder  [such as OvaltineCarnation, Horlicks, and Hoosier Hill Farm*]
  • 1 tbs cream, half & half, milk  or water in which to dissolve the malted milk powder
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3+ cups icing sugar sifted
  • additional cream, half & half, or milk if icing is too thick

Additional Optional Decor 

[OPTIONAL] Chocolate Malt Meringue Clouds, for bashing


Make the Chocolate Malt Swiss Roll Cake

  • Heat oven to 375.
  • Line the bottom a 15x10x1 baking or jelly roll pan with parchment paper rectangle cut 1/2 inch smaller than the pan (14×9).
  • Grease the exposed edges of the pan.
  • Sift the cake flour, cocoa powder, malted milk powder, baking powder, and baking soda into a bowl.
  • In a mixer, beat the 4 eggs yolks until thick and yellow.
  • Add the 1/4 cup sugar and beat on high until dissolved.
  • Transfer to a bowl and set the mixture aside.
  • Wash the mixer bowl and beater and dry completely.
  • In your clean mixing bowl beat the egg whites on medium until soft peaks form.
  • By the tablespoon, add the 1/2 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
  • Gently fold the egg yolk mixture into the beaten egg white mixture.
  • Quickly, but gently, by the tablespoon, alternate adding in the flour mixture and the water, just incorporating with a spatula. If it looks a little marbled, that's okay. 
  • Gently spread the marshmallowy batter as evenly as you can across the prepared pan.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the centre of the cake 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.
  •  Also, make sure your mixing bowl and beaters are clean. And place them in the refrigerator or freezer to chill for your whipped cream.
  • Take the cake out of the oven, place the pan on a wire rack, and let it cool only slightly, for 3-5 minutes. [The cake may look a bit bubbly or even mountainous! No worries! It will flatten out with the folding, anyway!]
  • Run a knife along all four edges of the pan to loosen the cake.
  • While still warm, invert the cake onto the sugar-dusted towel and gently remove the parchment or waxed paper from the surface of the cake.
  • Make sure that the cake is situated in "landscape" mode in front of you, so that you will maintain its 15-in width and that the 10-inch sides will "roll" into a "log."
  • Gently roll the cake right in towel, dusting with icing sugar as you go.
  • Set the 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 Easy [Malted] Whipped Cream with Bashed Malt Balls

  • Gather 1 cup bashed malted milk balls. To bash the malted milk balls, I put them in a ziploc-style bag and beat them with a rolling pin. 
  • In the cold bowl of a mixer fitted with a cold whisk, combine all the ingredients except the malted milk balls and beat until stiffly whipped.
  • With a spatula, gently fold in the bashed malted milk balls.

Prepare the Chocolate Malt Buttercream

  • In a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of boiling water, melt the chocolate.
  • Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature. I often move the melted chocolate to a clean bowl, so it will cool more quickly.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir the malted milk powder and 1 tbs of the cream with a spoon until the powder has fully dissolved.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer whip the butter until slightly fluffy.
  • Add the malted milk mixture and beat on low speed until combined
  • Add 2 cups of the icing sugar and beat on low speed until combined.
  • Add another cup of the icing sugar and beat until combined.
  • Slowly beat in the chocolate until combined.
  • If the mixture is still quite liquid, add additional icing sugar until the buttercream is smooth and spreadable.
  • If the mixture is too stiff, add milk or cream by the tablespoonful until the buttercream is smooth and spreadable.

Construct the Bûche de Noël

  • Unroll the cooled cake.
  • Spread the exposed top of the unrolled cake with the Easy [Malted] Whipped Cream with Bashed Malt Balls.
  • Gently re-roll the cake.
  • If desired, 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. If you just want a festive jelly roll, move on to step 7.
  • Place the large portion of the cake on your serving tray.
  • Use the Chocolate Malt Buttercream to attach these "knots" to the left and right sides of the cake as you see fit.
  • Ice the main portion of the cake, leaving the swirly knots and ends exposed.
  • You might also choose to ice the ends and knots. If so, do so quickly and gently, with a clean spreader.
  • If desired, with the tines of a clean fork, create a bark pattern on your yule log cake. I skipped this step this year.
  • If desired, decorate the cake with a dusting of icing sugar or malt powder, or with chopped or whole malted milk balls, or with whole or bashed Chocolate Malt Meringue Clouds.
  • Cake should be refrigerated until 30 minutes before serving.
  • Store in refrigerator for 3-5 days max.

OPTIONAL: Up to Five Days Before Baking, Prepare the Chocolate Malt Meringue Clouds

  • Heat an oven to 200.
  • Line a large cookie sheet with parchment.
  • In a very clean large glass or metal bowl, with very clean beaters, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy white until soft peaks form.
  • Sprinkle in 1/2 cup of the sugar a few tablespoons at a time, until sugar dissolves and meringue forms stiff peaks. It should look firm and glossy, like a cross between marshmallow fluff and taffy.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the cocoa, malt powder, and remaining sugar until well combined.
  • Sprinkle the mixture over the meringue.
  • With a spatula, and gently fold it in.
  • Dollop the meringue in large tufts or clouds onto the parchment.
  • Bake for 2 hours, or, until firm but not browned, rotating the sheet every 1/2 hour. You will want a crisp meringue for this recipe. However, you can cook for less time (~75-90 mins) for a softer, cookie style chocolate malt meringue.
  • Let the clouds stand for a few moments on the cookie sheets.
  • Then, remove the clouds on their parchment to wire racks to cool completely.
  • Store at room temperature in a dry, air-tight container for up to 5 days.
  • When you are ready to dress the cake, bash the meringues on a cutting board with a rolling pin or the flat side of a meat tenderizer. 


*Note: Hoosier Hill Farm's label indicates that the powder does not dissolve in liquids. However, I have had much success doing so with a bit more elbow grease than name-brand malt powders.
This recipe is an amended form of a version I published in 2017. That version used 1/2 c of cake flour in place of the all-purpose, 3/4 tsp baking powder, 1/4 c cocoa powder, and omitted the baking soda and water in the jelly roll.