Bringing Home the Yule Log
Bringing home the yule log in certain European countries involves picking a special “block” of wood to burn on Christmas Eve. The Yule Log that I am referring to will be consumed, but hopefully, never burned. When my kids were little, our traditional Christmas meal dessert was a yule log cake. I found the recipe in Southern Living and made it most years along with our Holiday Eggnog for adults.
Yule Log Cake
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 to 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- Yule Log Frosting
- 1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa
- Grease bottom and sides of a 15x10x1 jellyroll pan with vegetable oil; line with wax paper and grease and flour wax paper. Set aside.
- Combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
- Beat eggs at high speed of an electric mixer until foamy. Gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating until mixture is thick and lemon colored (about 5 to 6 minutes). Stir in water and vanilla. Gradually fold in flour mixture. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
- Sift 1-2 tablespoons powdered sugar in a 15×10 inch rectangle on a towel. When cake is done, immediately loosen from sides of pan and turn out on sugared towel. Peel off wax paper. Starting at narrow end, roll up cake and towel together; let cool completely on a wire rack, seam side down.
- Unroll cake. Thinly spread Yule Log Frosting over cake; set aside remaining frosting. Re-roll cake, without towel, and place on serving plate, seam side down.
- Diagonally cut a 1 inch piece from one end of cake. Position cut edge of short piece against side of longer piece, to resemble a knot.
- Combine remaining Yule Log Frosting with 1/4 cup powdered sugar and cocoa; beat at medium speed of mixer until blended. Thinly spread frosting over cake roll. Score frosting with a fork to resemble bark.
Bringing Home the Yule Log
- Legend tells us that just before supper on Christmas Eve, while the Yule log is burning, all other lights are put out, and the candles are lighted from the Yule log by the youngest person present. While they are being lit, all are silent and make their wish for the new year. The wish must not be told, but watched closely during the next year to see if it comes true. As soon as the candles are on the table, silence may be broken. They must be allowed to burn themselves out, and no other lights may be lighted that night.
H. J. Rose records a similar folk belief from Killinghall, Yorkshire in 1923: “While the Yule log is burned, a piece of it is saved to light the next year’s log. On Christmas morning something green, a leaf or the like, was brought into the house before anything was taken out.”
Our little yule log cake can be eaten by candlelight, while silently asking a prayer of blessings for the new year. My Christmas blessing for you this night refers to Leviticus 6:13 where the Israelites were instructed not to let the alter fire ever go out.
May your candles burn brightly to honor the newborn Son who has been given to us this night. May the candles you burn throughout the new year be a symbol of hope and peace; and may all your yule logs be chocolate.