We’ve taken the classic European yule log, also known as a bûche de Noël, and reinvented it with the flavors of Black Forest cake: We switched out the sponge-cake roll for layers of rich devil’s food cake, added a cherry and whipped cream filling, and coated it all with bittersweet chocolate frosting. A few easy tricks with the icing will have this dessert resembling a tree stump; complete the festive presentation with rosemary branches, cranberries, and meringue mushrooms.
What to buy: Make sure you get dark sweet cherries in heavy syrup, not cherries packed in light syrup or water. If you can find them, these Bada Bing Cherries from Tillen Farms have great texture, and you can use a single 13.5-ounce jar instead—just make sure you remove the stems.
Special equipment: You’ll need a pastry brush for this recipe.
Game plan: You can prepare the cake layers up to 1 day in advance. Just wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature. Alternatively, you can prepare the entire cake up to 1 day in advance, refrigerate it, and let it sit at room temperature for about 1 hour before serving.
For the cherries and syrup:
For the whipped cream filling: