Yule Log “Stump” Cake

Yule Log “Stump” Cake

What happens when you chop down your Christmas tree? Well, in the Redpath test kitchen, what you’re left with is a festive and delicious Yule Log “Stump” Cake. This recipe is the perfect opportunity to get creative with your decorating skills. Patience and an eye for detail combine to make this over-the-top wonderful cake!


12 to 14 servings


1 hour 45 minutes


30 minutes


What you need for the Hazelnut Sponge Cake

  • 1 cup (135 g) whole hazelnuts
  • 1 ¼ cups (250 g) Redpath® Granulated Sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups (196 g) cake and pastry flour
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ tsp (9 g) salt
  • ¼ cup (56 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

What you need for the Vanilla Syrup

  • ¾ cup (150 g) Redpath® Granulated Sugar
  • ⅔ cup (160 ml) water
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) dark rum (optional)

What you need for the Chocolate Swiss Buttercream

  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1 ¾ cup (350 g) Redpath® Granulated Sugar
  • ½ tsp (3 g) salt
  • 1 ½ cups (341 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla extract
  • 244 g / 10 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

What you need for the decoration

  • ¼ cup (30 g) crushed pepitas or pistachios
  • ¼ cup (100 g) marzipan
  • red and green gel food colouring
  • small holly leaf-shaped cookie cutter


How to prepare the Hazelnut Sponge Cake

Preheat oven to 375°F (180°C). Grease the bottom of two 8 inch (20 centimetre) cake pans and line the bottom with greased parchment paper.

In the bowl of a food processor, fitted with metal blade, process the hazelnuts with ¼ cup (50 grams) Redpath® Granulated Sugar until the mixture is finely ground; about 45 seconds.

Into a large bowl, sift the flour. Whisk in the hazelnut mixture and sift again. Any large pieces of hazelnut can be put back in the food processor to be processed again.

In a medium saucepan, heat 1 inch (2.5 centimetres) of water to a gentle simmer.

In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, remaining sugar, vanilla and salt.

Set bowl over simmering water and whisk until the mixture reaches 110°F (43°C) on an instant read thermometer; about 9 minutes.

Place warmed egg mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat until mixture is pale and thickened; 8 to 10 minutes.

Sift the flour mixture over the eggs mixture in two additions, and gently fold in each addition using a rubber spatula.

Pour the cooled melted butter down the side of the bowl; fold in.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.

Bake until cake springs back when pressed, and a cake tester inserted into the centre of the cake emerges clean; 25 - 30 minutes.

How to prepare the Vanilla Syrup

Combine the Redpath® Granulated Sugar and water in a small pot. Set over medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil for 1 minute. Stir in vanilla and rum and set aside to cool.

How to prepare the Chocolate Swiss Buttercream

In a medium bowl, microwave the chocolate in 20 second increments, stirring in between each increment until smooth. Set aside to cool.

In a medium saucepan heat 1 inch (2.5 centimetres) of water to a gentle simmer.

Place the egg whites, Redpath® Granulated Sugar and salt in a heatproof bowl and place over the water (take care that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water).

Whisk continuously until mixture reaches 150°F (65°C) on thermometer. When the mixture is rubbed between your fingers, you shouldn’t be able to feel any sugar granules.

Either in the same bowl using an electric mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs on high until they are completely cooled and have formed stiff peaks; 10 to 12 minutes.

Switch to the paddle attachment, if on the stand mixer, and reduce speed to low. Add the butter a couple tablespoons at a time, until all the butter is incorporated. Beat in vanilla.

Increase speed to medium and beat until buttercream is glossy and lightened in colour; about 10 minutes. It may appear curdled at first, but will eventually become smooth.

If frosting has not come together after 10 - 12 minutes, place the bowl in the refrigerator for 15 minutes, then continue mixing.

Remove about ¼ cup (35 grams) of the buttercream to a small bowl. Set aside.

Whisk 1 cup (132 grams) of buttercream into the chocolate, in order to lighten it.

Fold into the plain buttercream.

How to assemble the Yule Log “Stump” Cake

Using a serrated knife, level the tops of the cakes.

Split each cake in half, horizontally. Transfer one cake layer to a cake turntable or cake stand cut-side up.

Brush cake generously with vanilla syrup.

Spread about ¾ cup (99 grams) of the chocolate swiss buttercream evenly over the cake with an offset spatula. Place another layer on top.

Repeat brushing the cake with syrup and covering with a layer of frosting for the next two layers.

Place the last layer on top and brush with syrup.

Coat the entire cake with a thin smooth layer of frosting to seal in the crumbs. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Remove and cover the tops and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting (frosting does not have to be perfectly smooth).

To create the bark, use an offset spatula or butter knife create vertical grooves on the sides of the cake.

To create the rings on the top, roughly spread the reserved plain frosting in concentric circles on the top of the cake

Run a fork in a spiral around the top of the cake.

How to decorate the Yule Log “Stump” Cake

To create the moss, press the crushed pistachios or pepitas into the side of the frosting.

Colour 3 tablespoons (75 grams) of the marzipan green. Roll to ¼ inch (6 millimetre) thickness between two pieces of wax paper. Cut out leaves.

Colour remaining marzipan red. Roll into ⅜ inch (1 centimetre) balls.

Decorate with leaves and berries, as desired.


  • The Hazelnut Sponge Cakes can be made ahead. Wrap well, place in a plastic freezer bag and freeze for up to one month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before continuing with the recipe.