The Yule log - The seventeenth door

Yule is a winter festival celebrated in Germanic cultures. Its origins are pre-Christian, and like so often, some of the traditions were picked up by Christianity, and those Yule traditions live on as Christmas traditions.
One of them is the Yule log.

Yule Log by Robert Couse-Baker on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Originally the Yule log was an entire tree carefully chosen and brought into the house where its big end was placed in the fireplace. Now different countries have different customs, and I doubt many of them involve an entire tree anymore.
Depending on the country, the wood used is oak, ash, birch, or cherry, and some regions use twigs instead of whole logs. In France, they sprinkle wine on the wood for a lovely scent.
The Yule log is feeding the fire for 12 days, what's left will be used to light the new log in the next year.

ûche de noël is a traditional Christmas cake from France that made its way to other countries as well. It is a sweet roulade from sponge cake and a buttercream that comes in different variations. The outside is iced or decorated with chocolate bark to make it resemble a log and can be embellished with meringue or marzipan mushrooms and Christmas decorations.
I found this amazing picture on Flickr, so appetizing and beautiful.

Coffee-almond bûche de noël with almond truffle pine cones and citron needles by distopiandreamgirl on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

I wouldn't be able to trust my cats - especially one - around open fire, but of course it would be a bit difficult to have a Yule log without a fireplace, anyway.
Should someone feel like sending me some
bûche de noël, I may not say no to that, though ...

Further information:
The History of the Yule Log (on Why Christmas)
The Story behind Yule and the Yule log (Almanac)


  1. Cat, I was familiar with the yule log, but did not know the story behind it. How very interesting! Of course, I would be worried about burning the house down!

    On the other hand, I'm much more familiar with the buche de noel, although I've only had a slice once. They are so pretty, but I'm not a good enough baker to make one and tend to stick more with baking Christmas cookies. :)

    1. With a whole tree I would definitely be concerned! I can imagine it well in one of those old castles with a huge fireplace, though.

      I don't think I ever had bûche de noël, and this one is too pretty to even think about cutting it (she has more beautiful cake pics on her Flickr, by the way).

  2. How interesting that the Yule Log could be a whole tree. I think you’d need a castle to fit it! I had not heard of Bûche de noël. The cake is absolutely amazing and beautiful. I never would have recognized this as cake had you not said so.


    1. I'm not surprised! I love the "pine cones" so much.