Flourless Chocolate Bûche Nöel (Christmas Roll Cake)


November 21, 2019

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A classic Christmas favorite, this French Bûche De Nöel is naturally gluten free made with a flourless sponge cake and is filled with a light and airy chocolate whipped cream. While this gluten free Bûche De Nöel may look difficult to make, it actually is a lot easier than you think, and is an impressive dessert for any chocolate lover, and always looks good on a Christmas dessert table.

A French Bûche De Nöel (or French Yule log) may very well be one of the most classic Christmas desserts, so when I set out to Cook Around The World For Christmas I knew that I had to tackle this special French cake.

“Bûche De Nöel” is a the French name for a Yule Log Cake, which is a cake that looks like a fallen down log or tree truck — pretty self-explanatory. It is traditionally served during the Christmas season in France but has become a staple dessert across Belgium, the USA, Switzerland, and Quebec.

French Gluten Free Bûche De Nöel Christmas Recipe - The Well Essentials - A decadent and simple twist on a traditional french buche de noel, this cake is rich with chocolate flavor and whipped cream

Bûche De Nöel (French Yule Log) History

The Bûche De Nöel history dates all the way back to the European Iron ages when Celtic and Gaelic Europeans would celebrate the winter solstice at the end of December with a large winter feast that would stretch for days. During this period, the people would burn logs decorated in pine cones and ivy which would represent the cleansing of the air and the ushering in of a new year.

Once Christianity became more of the mainstream religion throughout Europe, the tradition of the yule log continued, shifting into a Christmas yule log that was burned in smaller hearths. These hearths were perfect for baking, which is where the yule log cake originated, which would be decorated similar to the real yule logs that traditionally had been burned, but instead would be served on Christmas tables.

In the 19th century, French bakers made the Bûche De Nöel (or French Yule Log) famous with their ornate fallen down log cakes with elaborate decorations, which is still baked today during the Christmas season.

How To Make A Bûche De Nöel Cake

Recently on a trip to French-Canadian Quebec, we saw so many different Bûche Nöel (also known as a French yuel log) varieties, which I was excited to see after just learning how to make this decadent chocolate dessert the week prior. While a Bûche Nöel may look like a complicated cake it in fact is very easy to pull together, there are just a few things you have to get right and the whole process is a breeze. For this recipe, we will be making a traditional French chocolate gluten free Bûche De Nöel that is naturally gluten free, and sure to be a showstopper on any holiday table.

Step One:

Make your gluten free sponge cake. This process involved separating a bunch of eggs and whipping the whites with a little sugar until they are peaked and frothy. You want to make sure that your egg whites are really voluminous and hold a peak otherwise the sponge will not have that nice and light texture.

Step Two:

Once your egg whites are whipped you will fold the chocolate egg yolk mixture into the egg whites. Make sure to do this gently with a spatula and avoid deflating the egg whites.

Step Three:

When it is time to pour your batter into your cake pan it is important that you have first placed a layer of parchment paper on the pan. This will help you remove your cake from the pan and roll it immediately (which is very important for this flourless cake)

Step Four:

Once your flourless cake is cooked it is important to work quickly. You need to roll your flourless cake into a spiral while it is warm otherwise it will not hold its shape and could crack. So once you remove the cake from the oven roll it into a spiral and then place it in the refrigerator to cool down.

Step Five:

Assembling your Bûche Nöel can take a little patience. First you will need to unroll the cake. If at this point the cake splits don’t worry, you can still roll it back up and you will be able to cover the rips with frosting anyway.

After you have spread frosting on the flourless cake you will need to roll it back up. Make sure to do this as tightly as possible to get that nice spiral. Once your Bûche Nöel is rolled you can choose to serve it as is or top it with frosting, nuts, berries, or powdered sugar.

French Gluten Free Bûche De Nöel Christmas Recipe - The Well Essentials - A decadent and simple twist on a traditional french buche de noel, this cake is rich with chocolate flavor and whipped cream

Once you get the hand of making this traditional and naturally gluten free French Bûche De Nöel recipe, I promise that it will become a holiday staple in your household, and a favorite dessert to bring with you to holiday events and family gathering. While this flourless cake is rich in dark chocolate, it is absolutely possible to lighten up this dessert with fresh summer berries and whipped cream for a more seasonally summer dessert as well.

Flourless gluten free Bûche De Nöel Recipe (Yuel Log)

naturally gluten free



  • 6 eggs (separated into whites and yolks)

  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder

  • Pinch Sea Salt

  • 1 tsp Vanilla

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 3/4 cup sugar (split into 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup)

Whipped Cream Frosting

  • 2 cups whipping cream (could also substitute for 2 cups full-fat coconut cream)

  • 1/2 cup confectionary sugar

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder

  • 1 tsp vanilla



  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

  • Whip egg whites on high using a high-speed mixer (I used my kitchenaid but you could also use a hand mixer)

  • Once egg whites are beginning to increase in volume add 1/4 cup sugar and continue whipping until soft peaks form.

  • While egg whites are whipping, beat egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a medium size mixing bowl.

  • Add cocoa powder, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt to egg yolk mixture and continue beating until well combined.

  • Next, gently fold the chocolate egg yolk mixture into the egg whites using a spatula, taking care not to flatten the egg whites.

  • Once combined, line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper and gently pout the batter into the pan.

  • Using a spatula spread the batter evenly and then place in the oven for ~12 minutes.

  • Once the Bûche Nöel has finished cooking, remove from the oven and immediately lift from the pan. While the cake is warm roll the cake into a spiral using the parchment paper.

  • Place the rolled cake in the refrigerator to cool.

Whipped Cream Frosting

  • While the cake is cooling begin to make your whipped cream frosting by combining whipping cream, sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla in a mixing bowl.

  • Whip on high until a light and airy whipped frosting forms.

  • Place in a bowl and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble your cake.

Assembling The Cake

  • Once the cake has cooled remove it from the refrigerator and unroll it.

  • Next, take a flat cake frosting knife and spread the whipped cream frosting onto the cake.

  • Lastly, using the parchment paper roll the cake back up into a tight spiral, removing the parchment paper as you go.

  • Once rolled you can top with additional whipped frosting or serve with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and fresh berries.

  • Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve and then cut into individual slices.

Megan Faletra, MS, MPH, RDN

Megan Faletra, MS, MPH, RDN

Megan is a maternal-child health dietitian and mom of two. With nearly a decade of experience working in maternal-child nutrition both domestically and abroad, Megan is passionate about supporting mothers and their little ones through pregnancy, postpartum, and beyond.

Megan especially loves helping to nourish families with simple, delicious recipes that both children and adults will enjoy. All of the recipes at MADRE are gluten free, and focused on celebrating food culture, seasonality, and supporting the nutritional needs of growing children, mothers, and families.

Megan holds a MS in Nutrition and MPH in Global Health from Tufts University, and received her dietetic license (RDN) from Brigham and Women's Hospital. She has advanced training in pediatric nutrition and baby led weaning, and is currently working towards becoming a certified lactation consultant.

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Mom of two girls under two, and registered dietitian specializing in prenatal, postpartum, and infant wellness. My passion for supporting moms and babies began more than a decade ago, but nothing made me more committed to helping moms and babies thrive than going through my own pregnancy and postpartum journey.

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