How to Decorate a Christmas Log Cake

Are you wondering how to decorate a Christmas log cake for the holidays? In many parts of the world, including France and Belgium, it is tradition to enjoy Yule log cakes during the Christmas season.

These festive desserts are symbolic of the Yule log tradition, where families would burn a large log on Christmas Eve and use its embers to light their hearths throughout the holiday season. Decorating a Christmas log cake is an important part of embracing this tradition and adding a touch of holiday cheer to your dessert table.

To create the perfect Christmas log cake, you will need specific ingredients and tools such as frosting, edible decorations, and flavored cake mix. Baking and decorating this iconic dessert can be a fun and rewarding process that adds to the overall merriment of your holiday celebrations.

From baking the cake itself to creating a realistic wood grain effect with frosting, there are several tips, techniques, and creative ideas that can help you achieve a beautiful presentation for your Yule log cake.



In this article, we will provide step-by-step instructions on how to bake and decorate a Christmas log cake. We will explore various decorating techniques using edible mushrooms, sugared cranberries, marzipan holly leaves, as well as non-edible adornments like powdered sugar snow or decorative ribbons.

Whether you’re looking for inspiration for your upcoming holiday gathering or simply wanting to try your hand at a new baking project, decorating a Christmas log cake can add an extra special touch to your seasonal festivities.

Ingredients and Tools

When it comes to creating the ultimate Christmas log cake, having the right ingredients and tools is essential. To start, you’ll need basic baking ingredients such as flour, sugar, eggs, and butter, along with optional flavor additions like cocoa powder or vanilla extract.

For the specific shape of the log cake, a jelly roll pan is essential to achieve the long, narrow shape necessary for the Yule log. Additionally, parchment paper and a kitchen towel are important for rolling the cake.

In terms of frosting and filling, a chocolate buttercream or ganache is typically used to cover the exterior of the cake to resemble tree bark. Edible decorations like meringue mushrooms or sugared cranberries can then be used to add a festive touch.

When choosing non-edible decorations, consider powdered sugar for “snow,” decorative figurines related to Christmas themes, or ribbons that match your overall holiday decor. You can even use edible items in creative ways – marzipan holly leaves and berries make an especially festive addition.

Finally, for presenting and serving your Christmas log cake, consider using a wooden platter or serving dish to enhance its natural appearance. Garnishes like fresh holly leaves or sprigs of rosemary on top of the cake can add color and elegance. With these ingredients and tools in place, you’ll be well-equipped to create a showstopping Christmas dessert that’s both delicious and visually stunning.

Ingredient/ToolDescription
Jelly Roll PanNecessary for achieving the long shape of a Yule log cake
Parchment PaperUsed while rolling the cake into its log shape
Kitchen TowelHelps with rolling and shaping the cake without breaking it

Baking the Cake

To create the perfect Christmas log cake, it is essential to start with a moist and flavorful sponge cake that will hold its shape when rolled. Begin by preheating the oven to the specified temperature and preparing a sheet pan with parchment paper, greasing it lightly to ensure the cake does not stick. When creating the batter for the sponge cake, include ingredients like flour, sugar, eggs, and flavorings such as vanilla extract or cocoa powder for a chocolate variation.

Once the batter is prepared, spread it evenly onto the prepared sheet pan in an even layer before placing it into the oven to bake. It is crucial to keep a close eye on the baking time to prevent overcooking, which can lead to cracking when rolling the cake later on. To check if the cake is ready, gently press on the surface – if it springs back and no indent remains, it is done.

After baking, remove the cake from the oven and immediately loosen it from the edges of the pan using a knife. Generously sprinkle a clean kitchen towel with powdered sugar or cocoa powder before carefully transferring the warm cake onto it. The towel will help prevent sticking and assist in rolling up the cake while still warm.

Gently roll up the cake and towel together starting at one of the shorter ends, allowing it to cool completely in this rolled shape. This process helps form muscle memory within your sponge so that when filled later on with frosting or ganache your sponge doesn’t crack.

Frosting and Filling

Creating the Frosting and Filling

To begin decorating a Christmas log cake, it is essential to first create the frosting and filling. Traditional Yule log cakes are often covered in chocolate buttercream, which provides both a delicious flavor and a smooth base for decorating. Additionally, the filling can vary from simple buttercream to whipped cream or ganache, depending on personal preference. It’s important to ensure that the frosting and filling are well-made and at the right consistency for easy spreading.

Achieving a Realistic Wood Grain Effect

One of the key elements of decorating a Christmas log cake is creating a realistic wood grain effect on the frosting. This can be achieved using a fork or toothpick to create lines that resemble tree bark. To enhance the illusion of wood, consider adding small touches of cocoa powder or finely grated chocolate to certain areas of the frosting. The goal is to make the cake look like an actual log taken from a wintry forest.

Adding Dimension With Texture

In addition to creating a wood grain effect, adding texture to the frosting and filling can elevate the visual appeal of the Christmas log cake. Consider incorporating swirls and peaks in the frosting to mimic natural wood patterns, as well as using varying shades of brown for depth.



The texture not only enhances the overall appearance but also adds layers of flavor and visual interest when serving slices of the cake. By carefully considering these techniques for creating and applying frostings and fillings, anyone can create an enchanting Christmas log cake that will delight all who see it.

Decorating Techniques

Decorating a Christmas log cake is a wonderful way to add a festive and natural look to your holiday dessert. There are several decorating techniques that can be used to create an eye-catching and delicious Yule log cake. One popular option is to use edible mushrooms, meringue mushrooms, or sugared cranberries as decorations for the cake.

To make edible mushrooms for your Christmas log cake, you can use modeling chocolate or marzipan to shape small mushroom caps and stems. You can then dust them with cocoa powder to give them a realistic appearance. Meringue mushrooms are another great option that adds a light and airy touch to the cake. These can be made by piping meringue into mushroom cap and stem shapes and baking until crisp.

For a pop of color and sweetness, sugared cranberries can also be used as decorations for the log cake. To make sugared cranberries, simply dip fresh cranberries in simple syrup and then roll them in granulated sugar before allowing them to dry. These sparkling red berries will add a festive touch to your Christmas dessert.

In addition to these specific decorating techniques, you can also get creative with other edible decorations such as marzipan holly leaves and berries or chocolate bark. The options are endless when it comes to decorating a Christmas log cake, so feel free to let your imagination run wild.

TechniqueDescription
Edible MushroomsCreate realistic-looking mushrooms using modeling chocolate or marzipan dusted with cocoa powder
Meringue MushroomsPipe meringue into mushroom shapes and bake until crisp for an airy decoration
Sugared CranberriesDip fresh cranberries in simple syrup and roll them in sugar for a pop of color on the cake

Edible Decorations

When it comes to decorating a Christmas log cake, there are endless creative possibilities for edible decorations that can add a festive and natural touch to your dessert. Here are some ideas for edible decorations that will make your Yule log cake stand out at any holiday celebration:

  • Edible Pinecones: Create realistic-looking pinecones using modeling chocolate or marzipan. Shape the conical base and add textured scales to mimic the appearance of a pinecone.
  • Marzipan Holly Leaves and Berries: Use green-tinted marzipan to mold holly leaves and red marzipan or fondant to form the berries. These classic Christmas symbols will add a pop of color and elegance to your log cake.
  • Chocolate Bark: Make chocolate bark by spreading melted chocolate on a baking sheet, then adding toppings like chopped nuts, dried fruit, or edible gold dust. Break the hardened chocolate into irregular pieces and arrange them on top of the frosted Yule log cake for a rustic yet sophisticated look.

These edible decorations not only enhance the visual appeal of your Christmas log cake but also provide an extra layer of flavor and texture. They allow you to showcase your creativity and attention to detail in every aspect of your holiday dessert.

In addition to these suggestions, don’t be afraid to get creative with other edible elements such as sugared cranberries, candied citrus peel, or even hand-piped icing designs. The key is to incorporate elements that evoke the spirit of the season while adding depth and interest to your Yule log cake. With these edible decorations, you can take your Christmas dessert from ordinary to extraordinary with just a few simple yet artful touches.

Non-Edible Decorations

When it comes to decorating a Christmas log cake, non-edible decorations can play a crucial role in enhancing the overall festive look of the dessert. From creating a winter wonderland scene to adding a touch of elegance, the non-edible decorations can truly elevate the presentation of the Yule log cake.

Here are some suggestions for non-edible decorations to consider when decorating your Christmas log cake:

  • Powdered Sugar Snow: Sprinkling powdered sugar on top of the log cake can mimic a dusting of snow, giving it a whimsical and wintery appearance.
  • Festive Figurines: Adding figurines such as Santa Claus, reindeers, or snowmen can bring a playful and charming element to the cake. These figurines can be placed on top of the cake or around the serving platter for added visual appeal.
  • Decorative Ribbons: Tying festive ribbons around the log cake or the serving platter can instantly add a pop of color and holiday cheer. Whether it’s classic red and green ribbons or metallic gold and silver, choosing ribbons that complement the Christmas theme will enhance the overall look of the dessert.

Incorporating these non-edible decorations alongside edible elements such as sugared cranberries or marzipan holly leaves can create a visually stunning Christmas log cake that is sure to impress your guests.

By carefully selecting and arranging non-edible decorations, you can transform your Yule log cake into a centerpiece that captures the spirit of the holiday season. Experiment with different combinations to find a decorative style that suits your personal taste and enhances the festive atmosphere of your Christmas celebrations.

Final Presentation

In conclusion, decorating a Christmas log cake is not only a festive tradition but an opportunity to showcase your creativity and culinary skills. From baking the perfect cake to applying the frosting and filling, to creating realistic wood grain effects, there are countless ways to make your Yule log cake stand out.

By using edible decorations like marzipan holly leaves and berries or non-edible decorations like powdered sugar snow, you can create a visually stunning centerpiece for your holiday table.

When it comes to presenting and serving the Christmas log cake, the possibilities are just as endless. Whether you opt for a rustic wooden platter or an elegant cake stand, adding garnishes like fresh cranberries or sprigs of rosemary can enhance the overall look of the dessert. Additionally, consider serving the log cake with accompaniments such as whipped cream, fruit compote, or a dusting of cocoa powder for a truly decadent experience.

Ultimately, decorating a Christmas log cake is about more than just creating a delicious dessert-it’s about capturing the spirit of the holidays and delighting your loved ones with something special. With attention to detail and a touch of creativity, you can turn an ordinary cake into a show-stopping centerpiece for your Christmas celebration. So gather your ingredients and tools, get ready to bake and decorate your Yule log cake-and let your imagination run wild.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Decorate a Christmas Log?

Decorating a Christmas log, also known as a Yule log, can be done in various ways. One popular method is to use icing or frosting to create a bark-like texture on the cake and then adding decorative elements like meringue mushrooms, sugared cranberries, and powdered sugar for a snowy effect.

What Is the Tradition of the Log Cake at Christmas?

The tradition of the log cake at Christmas dates back to medieval times when families would bring home a large log, known as the Yule log, to burn in the fireplace during the 12 days of Christmas. It was later transformed into a cake that symbolizes the warmth and coziness of the holiday season.

What Is the Easiest Way to Decorate a Christmas Cake?

The easiest way to decorate a Christmas cake is by using ready-made fondant or marzipan to cover the cake and create a smooth surface. From there, you can add simple decorations such as edible glitter, festive sprinkles, or pre-made edible cake toppers for an effortless yet eye-catching finish.

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