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Bûche de Noël

Bûche de Noël
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Gluten free Bûche de Noël

I dare you to google “decorate Bûche de Noël” and not get intimidated. Pish posh with the intimidation! And honestly, the meringue mushrooms kinda freak me out. I mean, they look like actual wild mushrooms. Thanks but no thanks. This one’s easy peasy, ’cause really? We’ve made a million gluten-free Christmas cookies. We’re in the home stretch. It’s almost time for a well-deserved rest (for you; me? I’m like a robot).

We’ve made roll cakes before. Pumpkin cake roll? Check. Swiss rolls? Check. You remember how it’s done, right? Bake the cake in a 10 by 15 inch rimmed baking sheet until it springs back when pressed gently. Roll the hot hot cake right out of the oven in a tea towel (a flat weave kitchen towel, so it doesn’t lint things up) sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar (so the cake doesn’t stick), and then let it cool while it’s still rolled tight. Then, unroll, frost, and reroll. That’s it.

Gluten free Bûche de Noël


And when you’re ready to fancypants it up, all you have to do is cover with a thick layer of cooled chocolate ganache. Run a butter knife or small offset spatula along the length of the cake, over and over again, so it looks like the bark of a tree. Pretty sweet, right?

I have one more simple cookie recipe tomorrow, and a few tips on wrapping up Christmas cookies for special delivery. Wait ’till you see how happy it’s going to make people. And you’ll be spreading the good-for-gluten-free-isn’t-good-enough gospel. Proper.

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Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 8 to 10 servings


For the Cake
¾ cup (105 g) gluten-free cake flour (86 g high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour + 19 g cornstarch)*

¼ teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar

6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 extra-large eggs (180 g, without the shell) at room temperature, beaten

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

3 to 4 tablespoons warm water

Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling

*In place of 3/4 cup gluten-free cake flour, you can use the same amount, by weight, high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour. Your cake will simply be a bit denser.

For the Chocolate Buttercream Filling
6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

7 tablespoons (84 g) vegetable shortening

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

2 ½ to 3 cups (288 g to 345 g) confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

For the Ganache Glaze
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

½ cup heavy whipping cream


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease 15 x 10 inch rimmed baking sheet. Line it with unbleached parchment paper, then grease again. Sprinkle some extra flour on the greased paper, and tap it around to evenly distribute it. Set the pan aside.

  • Make the cake batter. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar, and whisk to combine. Add the butter, eggs, vanilla and 3 tablespoons water, mixing well after each addition. The batter should be thin and easily pourable. If necessary to achieve the proper consistency, add more water by the tablespoon and mix again. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and shake it gently back and forth and side to side so that the batter is in an even layer. Smack on the counter to break any trapped bubbles.

  • Bake the cake. Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until top of cake springs back when touched. While the cake is baking, spread a tea towel out flat on the counter, and sprinkle it liberally with confectioners’ sugar. Once the cake is done, turn it immediately onto the prepared towel. Carefully peel off the paper, and place a short edge of the towel over the short edge of the cake. Roll the cake and towel together tightly, starting with narrow end and rolling away from your body. Transfer the rolled cake and towel onto a wire rack to cool completely.

  • Make the chocolate buttercream filling. While the cake is cooling, make the filling. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening until light and fluffy. Place the chopped chocolate in a small, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 45 seconds at a time on 60% power, stirring well in between microwaving, until melted and smooth. Pour the chocolate mixture into the mixer, and beat to combine well. Add 2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar to the mixer, and mix until well-combined. With the mixer on low speed, add the corn syrup. The frosting should be smooth but thick enough to hold its shape when scooped with a spoon. If it is too thin, add more confectioners’ sugar by the tablespoon until it reaches the proper consistency. Set the filling aside.

  • Make the chocolate ganache. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium-sized heat-safe bowl. Place the cream in a small, heavy-bottom saucepan and place over a medium flame until the cream just begins to simmer. Pour the cream over the top of the chopped chocolate and allow it to sit undisturbed for a minute or so to melt the chocolate. Stir until smooth, and set the ganache aside to thicken as it cools.

  • Assemble the cake. Once the cake is cool, carefully unroll it. Remove the towel, and spread the buttercream all over the cake, leaving a 1½ inch clean border all around. Carefully reroll the cake tightly. Wrap it securely in plastic wrap and place in the freezer until firm, about 15 minutes. Remove the cake from the freezer, unwrap the plastic wrap and slice off the very end of both sides of the cake to create clean edges. Place the cake, seam side down, on a wire rack above a clean rimmed baking sheet. Pour the ganache evenly over the cake, and spread it into an even layer. With a small offset spatula or butter knife, create lines along the cake that run along the length of the cake to resemble the bark of a tree. If the ganache does not hold its shape in a pattern, place the cake in the refrigerator to cool a bit. Place the decorated cake in the refrigerator to set. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before slicing thickly to serve.



P.S. If you haven’t yet, please pick up a copy of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread! Your support means the world to me. *mwah*

  • Sara

    Do you add the cornstarch in the beginning with the other dry ingredients?

    • gfshoestring

      Yup, Sara. The cornstarch is an ingredient in the cake flour. So it is included in the “flour” in the directions.

  • Lori_greenacres

    Not enough time to do this one – but I wanted to say THANK YOU for sharing.  I love watching for your eMAILS to see what the next wonderful surprise will be!

    • gfshoestring

      Thanks, Lori!!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Carole

    Made the Andees mint cookies  this morning with there baking chips. Used a half bag as it was 10 oz. Oh!! are they ever good. Used the other half bag to make mint chocolate chip ice cream, we’ll see how that turns out.
    I’m definitely going to buy more bags of Andees baking chips before they disappear. Didn’t use the food coloring as I have a thing about dyes. And the cookies look and taste terrific.
    Can’t wait to see what your next idea will be.
    Merry Christmas !!!!!!

  • Gluten Monster

    That looks great! Aand in the summer you can replace the chocolate with fresh strawberries and whipped cream!

  • Candaceiw

    Oh, where was this LAST NIGHT! I made cupcakes for my son’s birthday thinking it would be more of a “crumb” cake and it was like an angel food cake. Not that it was bad, but not to my liking…I felt like I wasted four cups of Better Batter and I was very sad :(

    I will try this one next and I see the difference. Not as much baking powder, addition of baking soda and the corn starch to make a cake flour…you are an amazing food chemist Nicole! I’d love to know how you figure out this stuff!

    • Katelyn

       This is not the cake you’re looking for.  This cake came out really spongey, definitely not a crumbly sort of cake. 

      • gfshoestring

        Very true, Katelyn. This recipe is not suitable for cupcakes! If it were, it wouldn’t be possible to roll it into a yule log spiral. Two very different cakes. But there are plenty of 9-inch cake and cupcake recipes here on the blog, though. I’d browse there, Candace. 
        xoxo Nicole

  • Ligea

    Hey, Nicole! I pretty it up by coloring marzipan red & green to make holly leaves and berries. Great post!!!

  • Cassandrapwebb

    I’ve been meaning to ask this question for some time – is there a recipe for your gf cake flour using measurements instead of weight?  Is this a silly question?  Thanks.

    • gfshoestring

      There isn’t a volume measurement that will properly approximate the cake flour ratio that I use, Cassandra. If you don’t bake by weight, I’d suggest just using the all purpose gluten free flour.

    • Candaceiw

      It is all because of Nicole! I LOVE my scale!! I use it for everything and curse other recipes that don’t weigh their items..

  • Katelyn

    My husband just told me his mom isn’t making any dessert for Christmas dinner. Bam, bringing this with us. Looks like you just saved Christmas.

    • gfshoestring

      Long live Christmas! If a little Bûche de Noël can’t fix it, it ain’t broken, Katelyn!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Sailaboat8

    How long can/should I keep it in the refrigerator before serving?

    • gfshoestring

      You only put it in the refrigerator for the chocolate ganache to set, Sailaboat, which doesn’t take too long (your finger will come away completely clean when you touch the outside of the cake), and then take it out of the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving.

      • Sailaboat8

        Thank you for this recipe! It came out perfect and cheered up my husband so much on his first gluten free Christmas (and no one else believed it was gluten free!)

  • Zfarmer

    Wow, this was really sweet. All the other recipes I’ve made from this site are fantastic. This one seemed like there was just too much sugar in the buttercream. Next time I will cut back or add cornstarch to it or something.

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