I love keeping family history and tradition alive. It keeps me tethered to my ancestors and shapes meaning and purpose in my life. Holidays are full of traditions brought from our European ancestors and every year I pick a few foodie creations to focus on.
My family knows I have an odd affinity for cake and buttercream. I am not much for cookies… too much temptation to eat them all. Cake, on the other hand, is one and done. So, in the words of another confection loving great: Let ‘em eat cake.
My favorite holiday cake is a Yule Log or Bûche de Noël which celebrates one of the oldest winter celebrations in the world. It’s a lot of steps but parsed into smaller bites over a day or two, it’s manageable, fun, and rewarding. I love the symbolism of the Yule Cake. As a fire lover, I cherish the history of burning a yule log during the winter solstice and Christmas season which dates back before Medieval Times. Ancient people were hunters, spending their time outdoors. The seasons and weather played a very important part of their lives. To celebrate the days lengthening, families would bring a Christmas tree into their home and place the largest end into the fire. The whole tree would be burned keeping the celebratory fire going for the day.
A Yule Log Cake, also known as a Bûche de Noël, is a cake celebrating the yule tradition. We won’t burn this yule log – we’ll eat it! This decadent creation is a chocolate sponge cake roll filled with flavored cream and covered with chocolate ganache textured to resemble tree bark. It’s decorated with meringue mushrooms and other woodland garnishes. I serve it throughout the winter season to keep the fires burning and celebrate the light. Yum!