The Secret Trick To Making The Best Yule Log

First things first: what the heck is a Yule? Unfortunately, it's not some sort of yak-mule hybrid that pulls Santa's sleigh when the reindeer are on vacation. According to Got Questions, Yule predates Christmas as a Germanic, pagan festival that occurred in December and January. When Christmas was introduced, the church planned its feast to coincide with the pagan feast celebrating the winter solstice, and eventually, these two celebrations merged into Christmas. Today, Yule has come to mean the feast celebrating the birth of Christ and Yuletide is another word for the Christmas season.

As part of European Christmas celebrations, a Yule log was lit on Christmas Day to ward of misfortune. It burned for the Twelve Days of Christmas, and a remainder of it was kept to light the next year's log. Taking a sweet turn, the Yule log was reinvented as a dessert, also called a bûche de noël. It's a rolled-up cake made to look like a log and is popular in Belgium and France during the holidays. But, the trick to making the best Yule log is all in the roll (via Epicurious).

Let's roll another Yule log

If the cake is not rolled up correctly, it could mean you've lost all your protection from misfortune in the coming year — okay, not really, but it could mean you won't have an epic dessert to brag about on Instagram. According to Epicurious, the trick is rolling the cake into a roulade shape while it's still hot. After the genoise is done cooking, take it out of the oven. Loosen the cake from the pan using a spatula or thin knife. Then, put a cutting board that is larger than the pan on top of the cake. Swiftly flip the cake over using pot holders or oven mitts, and we're talking whip-the-cloth-off-a-table-trick swift! Tap the cake out of the pan and peel off the parchment paper.

Once the cake is "just cool enough to touch," you're not going to fill it immediately. Instead, place a clean kitchen towel on top of it and roll the cake tightly around the towel until it ends up seam down in a tight roll. Leave this towel-filled cake to cool completely, and when you unroll it to add the filling, the cake will hold its roll much better. If you think you're ready to branch out from the traditional Yule log, Inspired by Charm has a recipe for a Pink Velvet Yule Log that looks divine.