This easy Vegan Yule Log is a light chocolate sponge filled with a rich chestnut cream and covered in dark chocolate ganache. A beautiful festive centrepiece!
🍽 Why you will love this recipe
This pretty and decadent vegan yule log is deceptively easy to make, and tastes incredible! A perfect festive dinner party dessert or teatime treat.
A light-as-air chocolate sponge is rolled with a chestnut and brandy cream filling, then covered in a rich dark chocolate ganache. This isn't one for dieters. but hey - it's Christmas!
There are simple step-by-step photos below to guide you through each step of the recipe, and a handy video to show you what to do. Even a vegan baking novice could make this gorgeous yule log!
📝 What you need
Dairy-free yoghurt I tend to use unsweetened soya yoghurt for baking as it has the highest protein content of all the plant yoghurts so is the best egg replacer. But if you can't have soya or don't have any to hand, a coconut or oat yoghurt will also work here.
Dairy-free milk Always use unsweetened milk for baking. Again soya is best, but any plant milk will be fine.
Dark chocolate Many brands of dark chocolate are vegan, but you do need to check labels - it can vary within a brand, such as blocks of dark chocolate being dairy-free but then dark chocolate chips made by the same brand containing milk. So don't ever assume, always check!
Chestnut purée is usually widely available at Christmas time but not so much throughout the rest of the year. It is sold either in tins or in pouches so look out for it in supermarkets. It really makes all the difference to the filling of this vegan yule log so do try to get hold of some if you can.
Whilst you don't need any sort of mixer for the cake batter (in fact it is better to make it by hand or it will become over-mixed), you will need some electrical help to whip the cream for the chestnut filling. Vegan cream takes quite a bit more whipping than dairy cream and it isn't really possible to do by hand.
Either a good electric hand whisk or a stand mixer is ideal - my hand whisk is by Dualit and has served me well for many years, but any similar electric whisk will do the job well. However I usually use my trusty food mixer - a KMix by Kenwood. I’ve had it for over 10 years now and it is really sturdy and good quality, making light work of cake mixes, bread dough and all sorts of baking tasks.
👩🏽🍳 How to make your vegan yule log
For a full, printable recipe with ingredients and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this page👇🏼.
Line a baking tin with baking parchment. Combine the wet ingredients in a bowl - oil, vegan yoghurt, plant milk and vanilla extract.
Sift in the dry ingredients - self-raising flour, cornflour, icing sugar, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Mix by hand until smooth and no lumps of flour remain. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 10-12 minutes.
Tip the cooked sponge onto a cooling rack covered with a clean tea towel and sheet of baking parchment. Roll up the sponge with the backing parchment inside and leave to cool.
For the filling - whip the cream and mix through the chestnut purée and brandy (optional). When the sponge is completely cool, carefully unroll it, spread over the cream and re-roll. Trim the ends, and cut off a 'branch' at a diagonal angle about three quarters of the way along the roll.
To make the ganache, heat the cream until very warm (but not bubbling). Break the chocolate into chunks and mix into the cream until a thick, glossy ganache has formed. Leave to cool to room temperature. Spread all over the yule log and make a bark texture with the end of your knife or a fork. Sprinkle with icing sugar 'snow' and serve.
🔪Top Tips & FAQs
Don't over-mix the sponge mixture To get a light and flexible sponge you need to use a light touch - mix by hand, not an electric mixer, and stop as soon as there are no lumps of flour left.
Always sift the dry ingredients for added lightness and to help mix them as quickly as possible.
Trim off any dry edges before rolling the sponge, to help get a smooth and even roll. I find a bread knife best for this.
Whip the cream for a long time to make it as stable as possible. Vegan cream takes much longer to whip than dairy cream... keep going!
Because of the cream in the filling, it is best to consume on the same day you make it. If you do need to keep it overnight, store in the fridge but make sure it is served at room temperature.
It isn't ideal, but if you really need to the sponge can be made ahead and frozen, (but not the fillings). Make the recipe up to stage 7., wrap it in baking parchment and then a layer of foil, then freeze. Make sure it is fully defrosted and back at room temperature before you try to unroll it.
If you liked that...
.... you might also enjoy these vegan recipes from The Veg Space:
Vegan Yule Log
For the Swiss Roll:
- 50 ml vegetable or sunflower oil
- 180 ml dairy-free yoghurt (unsweetened soya works best)
- 120 ml dairy-free milk (unsweetened soya works best)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 185 g self-raising flour
- 40 g cornflour
- 100 g icing sugar
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- pinch salt
For the chestnut cream filling:
- 150 ml vegan double cream must be whippable - I use Elmlea Plant Double Cream
- 120 g chestnut purée
- 1 tbsp brandy or amaretto (optional - check it is vegan)
For the chocolate ganache:
- 250 ml double cream I use Elmlea Plant Double Cream
- 250 g dark chocolate check it is vegan
- pinch salt
For the chocolate sponge:
- Line a baking tin with baking paper/parchment, and preheat the oven to 180ºC / 350ºF / Gas Mark 4. Your tin should be a minimum of 20 x 30cm, but slightly bigger is even better - a thinner sponge is even easier to roll.
- In a large bowl, mix the wet ingredients - oil, vegan yoghurt, vegan milk and vanilla extract.
- Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl - flour, cornflour, icing sugar, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Mix to combine, just until a smooth batter has formed and no lumps of flour remain - don't over-mix.
- Pour the mixture into your prepared tin, and put straight into the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the sponge springs back when pressed.
- Whilst it is cooking, cover a cooling rack with a clean tea towel. then a sheet of baking parchment.
- When the sponge is ready, remove it from the oven and turn it out immediately onto the baking parchment. Carefully peel off the paper it was cooked in.
- Roll it up from the long edge, with the paper trapped inside. If the edges are a little dry it might help to carefully cut these off first, for an easier roll. Leave to cool.
For the chestnut cream filling:
- Whisk the cream until thick - this takes a while, at least 2-3 minutes in a stand mixer - keep going!
- Stir through the chestnut puree and mix until it is fully combined and no lumps remain. Stir through the brandy (if using).
For the chocolate ganache:
- Gently heat the cream in a saucepan - it should be very warm but not bubbling. Remove from the heat.
- Break the chocolate into small pieces and add to the saucepan. Stir until thick, glossy and smooth. Stir through the salt and set aside to cool - it needs to be at room temperature before using.
- When the sponge is completely cool, unroll it carefully. Don't worry if it cracks in places, you will be able to hide it with ganache! Spread a layer of the chestnut cream over the whole sponge, then re-roll to form a long swiss roll.
- Trim the ends to neaten them, (these offcuts are the chef's perks!), then slice about a quarter of the roll off the end on the diagonal. Place this on one side to become the branch.
- Cover the whole log in chocolate ganache, then use a table knife to create the texture of the bark along the length of the log, and circles at each end. Sprinkle with icing sugar. decorate and serve.
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