These holiday cakes are as beautiful to look at as they are yummy to eat! We've attempted making a few bûche de noël cakes at home over the years, and as fun as this is, getting them just right can be a challenge. Here's one tip that will help keep the cake from breaking up as you roll:
Bûche de noël are made by baking a thin layer of sponge cake, covering it with creamy frosting, and then rolling them up together into a log shape. The problem is that the cake very often cracks and breaks when you try to roll it. Instead of a lovely roll, we end up with something that more closely resembles shingles that have fallen off a roof!
To keep this from happening, you have to shape the cake into a roll while it's still hot from the oven and the structure hasn't completely set. You're not actually frosting and finishing the cake yet, but just getting it to hold the shape of a roll.
Just cover the hot cake with a clean dish towel and then gently roll it into a log. The cloth will prevent the cake from sticking to itself and will also absorb some of the moisture coming from the cooling roll. When it's completely cool, gently unroll the cake, frost the inside, and roll it back up again.
Surprisingly, the cake doesn't crack when you unroll it to add the frosting layer! Just work slowly and gently, and the cake will roll up again without a hitch.