Every family has their Christmas traditions, for some it's a festive movie, for others it's an overly competitive board game, for my family it is the chocolate Yule Log. We have had one every year for as long as I can remember and, as the only vegan in my family, I was desperate not to miss out on our long standing tradition. So this year I made my first ever home-made Yule Log to bring as the centrepiece for my family Christmas meal, and it was definitely a hit. So here it is, my recipe for the best ever vegan Yule Log (even my family agrees)!
This Yule Log is a surprisingly quick bake, although not the easiest for any beginner bakers... The careful rolling of the sponge requires delicacy to create the neat inner swirl, however the light sponge is coated with the richest dark chocolate ganache-style icing which perfectly hides any accidental breakages!
A chocolate yule log is the ideal recipe for those who are not the neatest when it comes to icing - The more rough and textured the icing, the more it looks like tree bark! To finish, I topped my Yule Log with icing snowflakes, green foliage and icing sugar 'snow' to create the perfect winter woodland feel for this show-stopping dessert.
Vegan Yule Log
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes
For the sponge:
215g self-raising flour
100g caster sugar
10g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
65ml vegetable oil (or alternative oil e.g. coconut)
240ml plant-based milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
For the icing:
150g dairy-free butter
300g icing sugar
150g dark chocolate
2 tbsp plant-based milk
Line a large rectangular baking tray (9'' x 13'') with grease proof paper and preheat the oven to 180°C (or 160°C for fan ovens).
Combine the 240ml milk with the apple cider vinegar in a small bowl and set aside for around 10 minutes (this makes vegan 'buttermilk').
Combine all the dry cake ingredients in a large bowl and mix well, making sure there are no lumps.
Whisk the vegetable oil into the 'buttermilk', pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir gently until combined (do not overmix).
Pour the mixture onto the lined baking tray, making sure it is evenly spread out and reaches all the edges.
Bake the sponge for approximately 20 minutes - It should rise slightly and feel springy when done.
Remove the sponge from the baking tray, turn it upside down onto a new sheet of grease proof paper and carefully remove the paper it was cooked in (if the edges are not straight you can trim them with a knife to form a perfect rectangle).
Whilst still warm, gently roll up the sponge, with the grease proof paper inside, (starting from the long edge) then set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, prepare the icing by whisking the spread in a bowl until light and creamy.
Slowly add in the icing sugar and continue whisking to form a smooth buttercream.
Melt the dark chocolate (I used a microwave), cool a little and stir into the buttercream, if the mixture is a little thick you can add a splash of milk as required.
Carefully unroll the cooled sponge and spread on a thin layer of the icing, then tightly re-roll the sponge (this time without the grease proof paper).
After the 'log' is formed, use the remaining icing to cover the outside of the yule log.
To decorate I used a fork to create the bark texture and used icing sugar as 'snow'.
Store in a sealed container for up to 5 days.
You can leave the yule log as one long sponge, or once filled and rolled you can cut a slice off to form a branch.
The icing sets fairly quickly so make sure not to take too long!!
As an alternative icing you can substitute the dark chocolate for 3-4 tbsp of cocoa powder (although it won't be quite as rich and decadent).
Get creative with the decoration - Add some red berries and holly, gingerbread people or mini festive figurines!
Thanks for reading, I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and enjoy baking my vegan chocolate yule log. If you do try any of my recipes I'd love to know how they turn out - tag me on Instagram @josiewalshaw!