Chocolate Chestnut Bûche De Noël

There are many flavor and presentation variations for this traditional French Christmas log. I like this one because the chocolate cake and chestnut buttercream are not excessively sweet together. Also, the marzipan decorations can be prepared well in advance and kept loosely covered until needed.

Makes12 to 15-inch long roll, about 10 servings

Cooking MethodBaking


Total Timehalf-day

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionBuffet, Family Get-together, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe CourseDessert

EquipmentElectric Mixer, Food Processor


Taste and TextureButtery, Chocolatey, Sweet

Type of DishChocolate Cake


  • 1 recipe Chocolate Génoise , baked in a 10½ × 15½-inch jelly-roll pan
  • ¾ pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter
  • ½ cups sweetened chestnut spread (Faugier brand)
  • 2 tablespoons white rum
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ pound almond paste
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Confectioners sugar


  1. Cool the génoise layer.

  2. To make the buttercream, in a bowl, beat the butter by machine until soft and light, then beat in the chestnut spread until smooth. Gradually beat in the rum and vanilla and continue beating until the buttercream is very light and smooth, 4 or 5 minutes.

  3. Turn the génoise layer over and peel away the paper. Cover with a piece of fresh paper, turn over again so the cake is on the clean paper, long sides top and bottom, and spread with half the buttercream. Use the paper to roll from the long side nearest you into a tight cylinder. Wrap the paper tightly around the roll and twist the ends together. Refrigerate the cake while preparing the marzipan. Reserve the remaining buttercream refrigerated for the outside of the bûlche.

  4. To make the marzipan, combine the almond paste, confectioners’ sugar, and 2 tablespoons of the corn syrup in a food processor and pulse only 5 or 6 times, until the mixture is coarse and crumbly in appearance. Do not ouerprocess. Remove from the work bowl, and knead smooth, adding up to 1 tablespoon more corn syrup if the mixture seems dry. Wrap in plastic until needed.

  5. To make marzipan mushrooms, roll the marzipan into a cylinder and slice into l-inch lengths. Roll half the lengths into balls. Press the cylinders against the balls to attach them, flatten one side of the balls slightly, and form mushrooms. Smudge with cocoa powder.

  6. Remove the rolled cake from the refrigerator and unwrap. Trim the edges diagonally, cutting one of the edges about 2 inches away from the end. Position the roll on a platter and place the uncut end of the 2-inch piece about two thirds along the top side of the roll. Cover the buche with the remaining buttercream, making sure to curve up the protruding branch on the top, leaving the three cut ends unfrosted. Streak the buttercream with a fork or decorating comb. Decorate with the mushrooms. Dust the platter and buche sparingly with confectioners’ sugar “snow.”


  1. <p><b>Serving</b>: Cut diagonal slices to serve.</p>

  2. <p><b>Storage</b>: Refrigerate the cake until immediately before serving.</p>


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