Chocolate and Chestnut Buche de Noel

January 08th, 2008  | Category: Cakes, Chocolate

Chocolate Chestnut Buche de Noel

Here’s the Chocolate and Chestnut Buche de Noel with Marzipan Mushrooms and Acorns we enjoyed at the New Year’s Eve dinner party. Come December, there would be a debate at the Mansion on what to prepare for the dinner party. For dessert, a few would always insist on a chocolate and raspberry cake, just because nothing can top that. Some wouldn’t even participate in the debate, since they pretty much enjoy everything. For me, it has to be something new. For one, I have a food blog and it is always nice to blog about something new. Secondly, how do we know the cake we ate last year was the best without exhausting all the possibilities from the piles of cookbooks I bought over the years? Someone needs to put them into good use, right?

Right. So I decided to try something I haven’t baked before. Hence the Buche de Noel (or Yule Log if you want to call it that). The funny thing is I ended up using a recipe from an old issue of Martha Stewart Living!!

New Year’s eve was a work day, so I had to plan everything down to the last minute. Two days before the dinner, I prepared the marzipan mushrooms and acorns as well as the chestnut puree and chocolate ganache filling.

Chocolate Chestnut Buche de Noel

I baked the chocolate genoise the day before and assembled everything the day of. I must admit that I was a bit scared of the Buche de Noel challenge.

Chocolate Chestnut Buche de Noel

But I was lucky. A week before I baked it, the whole Daring Bakers community tackled the same challenge. I read a lot of their posts and made mental notes of their tips and tricks. That’s the best part of being a food blogger! Check out their blogroll and drool over their creations!

Chocolate Chestnut Buche de Noel


Chocolate Genoise Cake

recipe from Martha Stewart Living December 2003


Makes one 10 1/2-by-15 1/2-inch cake

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for parchment and pan
  • 2/3 cup sifted cake flour (not self-rising) (I used all-purpose)
  • 1/3 cup sifted cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
  • Pinch of baking soda
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10 1/2-by-15 1/2-by-1-inch jelly-roll pan. Line with parchment; butter and flour paper, tapping out the excess flour.
  2. Sift flour, cocoa, and baking soda together twice into a medium bowl. Set aside. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Skim off white foam, and pour clear yellow butter into a bowl, discarding white liquid at the bottom. Set aside in a warm place.
  3. In a medium-size heat-proof bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar. Set bowl over a pan of simmering water; stir until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, and beat on high speed until mixture is thick and pale and has tripled in bulk. Reduce speed to medium, add vanilla, and beat 2 to 3 minutes more.
  4. In three additions, sift flour mixture over egg mixture, folding in gently with a spatula. While folding in last addition, dribble melted butter over batter and fold in.
  5. Spread batter evenly in pan, leaving behind any unincorporated butter in the bottom of the bowl. Tap pan on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake until cake springs back when touched in center, 15 to 20 minutes. Don’t overbake or cake will crack. Let sit in pan on a wire rack until cool enough to handle.
  6. Dust surface with cocoa powder. To make rolling easier, trim edges of cake, and cover with a sheet of waxed paper and a damp dish towel. Invert onto a work surface, and peel off parchment; dust with cocoa. Starting from one long end, carefully roll up cake in towel. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate until ready to use.

Chocolate Ganache and Chestnut Filling & Icing


Makes 3 cups chocolate ganache and 1 cup chestnut filling

  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 11 ounces candied chestnuts (drained weight)*

* You can substitute with a cup of canned chestnut puree


  1. Chop chocolate into small pieces, and place in a medium bowl. Heat cream until bubbles begin to appear around the edges (scalding); pour over chocolate. Let stand 5 minutes, then stir until smooth. Refrigerate until cold but not solid, stirring occasionally.
  2. Transfer candied chestnuts into a food processor and mix until it turns into a paste.

Marzipan Mushrooms and Fig&Marzipan Acorns


Makes 3 mushrooms and 3 acorns

  • 5-ounce log of marzipan
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 3 dried figs


  1. For marzipan mushrooms, pinch off small portions from the marzipan log and roll into balls. Flatten slightly, then, using a paring knife, form a hollow in each ball. Pinch off an equal number of small portions of marzipan, and roll into cylinders. Insert stem into the hollow of each cap. When ready to use, dust lightly with unsweetened cocoa powder (optional).
  2. For fig&marzipan acorns, mix 3 teaspoons of marzipan with 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder. Roll a teaspoon of marzipan into a small ball. Flatten in your hand; using a toothpick, make a hole in center. Insert fig stem into hole; mold marzipan around top of fig. Roll marzipan firmly against the small holes of a box grater to make dimples (alternatively, you can use a toothpick). Repeat with remaining marzipan and figs.


  • To assemble cake, carefully unroll genoise on the back side of a baking sheet (discard the plastic wrap and waxed paper, but keep the towel). Spread 1 1/2 cup of the cooled chocolate ganache evenly on cake to within 1 to 2 inches of one long end. Spread the chestnut paste on top of the ganache. Reroll cake, starting from other long end, using towel to help roll it. Cover with plastic wrap; chill until firm, about 1 hour.
  • Place cake, seam side down, on a serving platter; tuck parchment around it to keep platter clean while decorating.
  • Whip remaining ganache at medium speed until it has the consistency of soft butter. Cut two wedges off ends of cake at a 45 degrees.angle; set aside. Ice log with a thin layer of ganache. Attach wedges on diagonally opposite sides of log. Spread ganache all over log, using a small spatula to form bark-like ridges. Chill until ganache is firm, about 30 minutes.
  • When ready to serve, arrange marzipan mushrooms and acorns around and on cake, and dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar (optional).
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  1. 1 - Tartelette on January 8th, 2008

    Fantastic job! Made a couple over the holidays also but what I dig the most is your creativity with the acorns…adorable!

  2. 2 - Amanda on January 8th, 2008

    When everyone was making these cakes in December I really wanted to join and try my hand at it. But knowing my luck, rolling up that cake would’ve been disasterous. Do you have any tips for rolling the cake up?

  3. 3 - clumsy on January 8th, 2008

    Thank you for the link! Being a blogger is so much fun, eh? I loved checking out all the yule logs all over the net.

    Your acorns look AMAZING!!

  4. 4 - Mandy on January 8th, 2008

    oh my, chocolate and chesnut! I bet it must be the talk of the party. Love the acorns!

  5. 5 - fanny on January 8th, 2008

    Ooooh! Those acorns. I have no words. They’re too sweet and beautiful.

    x fanny

  6. 6 - daniesza on January 9th, 2008

    chocolates and chestnuts and marzipan oh my! your table is better than visiting the wizard of oz!

  7. 7 - Helen on January 9th, 2008

    The fig and marzipan acorns are truly beautiful – I will definitely try those!

  8. 8 - megan on January 9th, 2008

    I love the acorns made of figs! Now thats something I can use next year because my BF has a tree! But I cant find chestnuts in my neck of the woods;( Lovely log.

  9. 9 - Patricia Scarpin on January 9th, 2008

    A work of art, Cenk.

  10. 10 - Sil (BsAs) on January 9th, 2008

    Here I drool and learn! I didn’t know what acorns were…
    Thanks Cenk, lovely work!

  11. 11 - kellypea on January 10th, 2008

    I spent quite a bit of time looking through Martha’s cookbooks before I made my buche de noel looking for decorating ideas. Your acorns are beautiful.

  12. 12 - Ivonne on January 10th, 2008

    I’m too busy drooling over your creation! I love your mushrooms … all the best in 2008!

  13. 13 - Warda on January 10th, 2008

    You are a very talented baker, Cenk. I am really impressed. Bravo!

  14. 14 - Mansi on January 10th, 2008

    Congrats on the reference in NY Times! I love your site and you as a chef:) keep up the good work!

  15. 15 - Julie O'Hara on January 10th, 2008

    This is wonderful! Your acorns are beyond cute, but what I really love is the chocolate and chestnut combo. Anything with chestnuts works for me.

  16. 16 - MiM on January 15th, 2008

    beautiful ..

    I want a little bite 🙂

    would you please give me the recipe of Chestnut dessert ..

    I know it`s a tirkish dessert , ao do u know the recipe ?

    thank u

  17. 17 - Cenk on January 15th, 2008

    MiM – Which chestnut dessert exactly?

  18. 18 - Elise on January 19th, 2008

    Talk about daunting, bravo! I love the little fig acorns, and your marzipan mushrooms are perfectly formed. This really is a beautiful cake; I want to eat it right off the page.

  19. 19 - Cenk on January 19th, 2008

    Thank you Elise!

  20. 20 - eni on January 28th, 2008

    gene harika foto ve yummy bir reçete.teşekkürler!

  21. 21 - bron on January 29th, 2008

    I second what others have said – your fig acorns are absolutely adorable! Super!!

  22. 22 - Cenk on January 31st, 2008

    Thank you Bron!

  23. 23 - Sandra on March 13th, 2008

    Dear Cenk, I just love your blog, the recipes and the text that goes with them.
    Could you please help me – I’m having trouble with this recipe. Read it thoroughly, still can’t figure out where the chestnut filling goes. Do you mix it into the chocolate ganache or do you spread it on top of the ganache before rolling the cake? Thanks!

  24. 24 - Cenk on March 13th, 2008

    Hi Sandra – I am sorry for the confusion. You are right; that part was missing from the recipe. You spread it on top of the ganache before you reroll the cake. Hope you like it.

  25. 25 - Italian language course on April 6th, 2008

    What a goodness!! This Chocolate and Chestnut recipe looks fantastic!! I must to say that your entire blog is great!!

  26. 26 - Kimbers on July 10th, 2008

    Looks very yummy!
    I remember we made one of these in French class when I was 7. We somehow assembled the whole thing around some chocolate biscuits, lined up in a row.

  27. 27 - Codes for Plndr on January 7th, 2012

    I’ve had this before and indeed it’s probably one of the best cakes I’ve ever ate. Is marzipan like almond butter?

  28. 28 - Cenk on January 10th, 2012

    Codes for Plndr – They have different textures. Marzipan is also made of sugar and blanched almonds but the sugar proportion is much higher.

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