Crunchy Caramel Bûche de Noël Crunchy Caramel Bûche de Noël

Crunchy Caramel Bûche de Noël | Food styling by Claire Stubbs | Prop styling by Alanna Davey Image by: Yvonne Duivenvoorden

Need a dessert to wow even the most discerning dinner guests? Look no further than this traditional holiday cake, updated with white chocolate birch bark topping and buttery toffee filling.

  • Prep time 1 hour & 15 minutes
  • Total time 5 hours


Birch Bark:
Butter Icing:
Chocolate Cake:


Filling: In small saucepan, add 2 tbsp water; sprinkle gelatin over top. Let stand until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in separate saucepan, bring sugar and 2 tbsp water to boil over medium heat, stirring, just until sugar is dissolved. Continue to boil, without stirring, until amber in colour, about 4 minutes. Standing back and averting face, stir in 1/4 cup of the cream, the butter and vanilla. Cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and thickened, about 2 minutes.

Cook gelatin mixture over medium heat until melted, about 30 seconds. (Do not boil.) Stir in caramel sauce until combined and smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape into large bowl. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.

In separate bowl, beat remaining cream until stiff peaks form. Stir one-quarter of the cream into cooled caramel mixture until combined; fold mixture back into cream just until no white streaks remain. Fold in toffee bars. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

Chocolate Cake: Line rimmed 17- x 11-inch (45 x 28 cm) jelly roll pan with lightly greased parchment paper. Set aside.

In large bowl, beat egg yolks with 1/2 cup of the sugar until pale yellow and thickened, about 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla.

In separate bowl, sift together flour, all but 1 tbsp of the cocoa powder and the salt.

In separate bowl, with clean beaters, beat egg whites until soft peaks form; beat in remaining sugar, 2 tbsp at a time, until stiff peaks form. Spoon one-third over egg yolk mixture; sift one-third of the flour mixture over top. Fold just until combined. Repeat twice with remaining egg white and flour mixtures. Scrape into prepared pan, smoothing top.

Bake in 400°F (200°C) oven until cake springs back when lightly touched, 10 to 12 minutes. Using tip of knife, loosen edge of cake from pan.

Dust clean tea towel with remaining cocoa powder; invert cake onto towel. Peel off parchment paper. Starting at narrow end, roll up cake in towel. Set aside, seam side down, to cool.

Birch Bark: In separate heatproof bowls set over saucepans of hot (not boiling) water, melt white chocolate and dark brown chocolate.

Pour white chocolate onto parchment paper–lined rimmed 15- x 10-inch (38 x 25 cm) baking sheet, spreading to scant 1/8-inch (3 mm) thickness. Dip toothpick in dark brown chocolate and run lengthwise through white chocolate, making thin lines that resemble birch bark. Refrigerate until set, about 10 minutes. Break chocolate perpendicular to dark lines into about 3-inch (8 cm) shards. Arrange in single layer on tray; refrigerate until needed.

Butter Icing: In bowl, beat butter until smooth; gradually beat in cream and vanilla. Beat in icing sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Assembly: Unroll cake; trim 1/4 inch (5 mm) from each edge. Spread filling over top, leaving 1/2-inch (1 cm) border at 1 short end. Starting at end opposite border, roll up cake; place, seam side down, on cake plate. Spread icing over cake; arrange birch bark shards over top. Using tines of fork, make shallow circular ridges in icing to resemble rings in wood. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

Tip from The Test Kitchen: If the white chocolate bark begins to harden before all the dark lines are drawn, place the baking sheet in a 200°F (100°C) oven for a few seconds to soften the chocolate.

Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Nutritional facts per each of 12 servings: about

  • Fibre 1 g
  • Sodium 186 mg
  • Sugars 64 g
  • Protein 6 g
  • Calories 603.0
  • Total fat 35 g
  • Potassium 125 mg
  • Cholesterol 144 mg
  • Saturated fat 23 g
  • Total carbohydrate 70 g


  • Iron 7.0
  • Folate 9.0
  • Calcium 10.0
  • Vitamin A 24.0
  • Vitamin C 2.0
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Baking & Desserts

Crunchy Caramel Bûche de Noël