I don’t know in how many you still know about this old tradition during the wintertime and especially around Christmas. Today many traditions are gone, in some countries you can’t even call an event anymore by its name because there is a slight possibility that one of 8 billion people could feel offended.
But talking about the tradition called Yule Log: This is an old Pagan tradition widely spread throughout Europe. For the winter solstice people have gone into the woods to cut a big trunk of an ash or an oak to be burned during the next days in the kitchen on the open fire place. I should bring luck, send away the bad spirits and of course help to warm the house which very often most of the time was only one room.
During the early Christendom it was of course forbidden. I guess because they didn’t know what kind of meaning they should give it that it sounds ‘from Christ’. But in the 12th century it was again an official ritual. Since then the trunk would burn from Christmas day to the Epiphany. After that the ashes would be thrown on the fields and given to feed the domestic animals to make them prosper and healthy.
Today this tradition is still very alive in England and English speaking countries. The first time it was mentioned in Germany around the 12th century.
Many countries don’t use anymore this tradition but transformed it into a… dessert. In France they call it Bûche de Noël and in Italy we call it Tronchetto di Natale. It is a dessert made of chocolate, eggs, sugar and cream and has the shape of a tree trunk. Also the surface is made with chocolate or cream that it looks like bark.
The cake is a sponge cake, thinly baked and then spread with jam or cream, rolled into a roulade and then cut slantwise into two or three pieces to form the trunk. On the top the chocolate ganache is made of chocolate buttercream or also chocolate. Who wants more decoration can put some berries, meringue or marzipan mushrooms or just icing sugar for some ‘snow’ feeling.
Enjoy this (sweet and creamy) tradition!