Festive Yule Log – a taste of the past


Yule logs were once used by Pagans in burning ceremonies to celebrate winter solstice, but today, they often take pride of place at the Christmas dinner table …

Gary Townsend is head chef at One Devonshire Gardens in Glasgow’s West End, one of Scotland’s most prestigious hotels. Here, he shares his festive recipe for a Yule log dessert




■ 5 large eggs, separated

■150g caster sugar

■ 50g cocoa powder

■ 1 tsp vanilla extract

■ 100g dark chocolate

■ 150g icing sugar

■ 120g soft butter

■ Orange zest

■ Icing sugar to dust


1. Pre-heat 170 ̊C/340oF/Gas mark 3. Line a Swiss roll tin approx 30cm x 20 cm with greaseproof paper. In a clean, dry mixing bowl place the egg whites and begin to whisk using an electric mixer. As the whites begin to rise gradually add the sugar.

2. When you have stiff peaks fold in the cocoa powder and the vanilla extract. Spoon the mixture on to the tin, spread out to the corners. Place in the oven. Bake for about 20 minutes.

3. When the sponge is cooked allow to cool before lifting and turning out onto a sugared piece of greaseproof paper. Gently roll over with a rolling pin to remove any bumps. 

4. Carefully roll up the log into a Swissroll.  Once rolled, set aside and cover with a damp cloth. 

5. For the icing whisk the butter in a bowl until pale. Add the icing sugar and then fold in the melted chocolate and orange zest.

6. Unroll the log and spread a covering on the inside.

7. Roll the log up again and spread the remaining on the outer side of the log. Using a fork, push it through the icing to resemble the log texture. 8. Refrigerate until needed, finishing with a sifting of icing sugar for the snow effect!