Making your own yule log at home can be achieved in a few fun steps. In this take on the traditional bûche de noël, spiced gingerbread cake is filled and topped with a super-sweet maple frosting, and covered in a salted walnut praline for added crunch. Celebrate the season with this gorgeous centrepiece on your holiday dessert table — it’s sure to garner praise from guests!
Salted Walnut Praline
Cooling Time: 8 hours
For the frosting: combine all icing ingredients in a medium saucepan, whisking constantly until mixture is bubbling and thick. Continue to whisk and cook for 1 minute.
Pour into a medium bowl and chill overnight.
For the Gingerbread Cake: Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Line a half sheet pan (18″ x 13″ x 1″ high) with parchment paper; oil and flour parchment, tapping out excess flour. Reserve.
Add a clean tea towel to counter and evenly dust over additional icing sugar.
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, five-spice, baking soda and salt.
In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or with a handheld mixer in a large bowl, beat eggs on high speed until tripled in volume. Add sugar and beat for 1 to 2 minutes, until thick and voluminous. Add flour mixture and beat until almost combined. Finish folding in by hand with a large spatula. Smooth batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until cake springs back when you touch it. Immediately flip out onto tea towel and remove parchment. Starting at the end, use the tea towel to roll the cake into a log shape.
Tuck in ends, transfer to wire rack and cool completely in tea towel, about 4 hours. Reserve.
For the Salted Walnut Praline: preheat oven to 375ºF.
Combine walnuts, maple syrup and salt to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until maple syrup is caramelized.
Cool completely (they crisp as they cool) and roughly chop. Reserve.
For the assembly: whisk frosting until smooth (soften at room temperature for 30 minutes if required).
Carefully unroll cake and spread ½ of frosting over interior, leaving a 1-inch gap around the edges. Sprinkle 3 Tbsp of walnut praline. Carefully roll and ice the outside of cake with remaining frosting. Place cake on serving plate.
Gently press walnuts onto exterior and dust with cocoa powder. Loosely cover (a large cake dome, box or oblong plastic container) keep chilled until ready to serve.