Chocolate Log

One of the favourite cakes of Christmas has a history all it’s own. The delicious chocolate Yule Log is an edible remembrance of the tradition of burning a very large log in the hearth during the Yuletide period. This practice comes from Europe and is even thought to date back to the times of the Norsemen. The log was specially chosen for its large proportions, so heavy it had to be dragged back to the home by several big strong men! Burning the log was a symbol of midwinter and a celebration of the Solstice,  giving magical protection to the house and those who lived there. Cutting the log was a ceremony in itself – often with singing and merriment accompanying the dragging of the log through the snow afterwards.  Some historical reports say ale and cider were  involved – even the log got a dousing before being set alight! Not many of us have a fireplace large enough to burn a very big log these days. But we can pay respect to the tradition with a Yule Log cake. You can tell its story as you dig into a slice this Christmas.  Yule Log cakes are a heavenly mix of light chocolate sponge,  filled with chocolate cream and covered with a thick coating of chocolate buttercream icing, specially scrolled to resemble the patterns of the bark, then often dusted with icing sugar for a snow effect. Holly with berries and even little robins are common decorations. Edible Yule Logs are thought to be the invention of the French, where the cake is known as Buche de Noel. If any chefs out there have their own favourite recipe or way of decorating –  please feel free to share it with us! For those who wish to purchase a Yule Log this Christmas – look no further than Good Food Ireland’s esteemed bakers and cake makers who specialise in the tastes of the season. Do as they did long ago, have your own log ‘cutting’ ceremony. Clink glasses and celebrate an ancient custom in gourmet style!