Vegan Buche de Noel–with Chocolate Mousse Filling and Mocha Buttercream Frosting

Finished CakeYield: 12 servings (at least)

Vegans need not forego a rolled cake–for this beautiful buche or any other iteration–if you take advantage of my many experimentations with both ingredients and technique…

I regret that I didn’t have time to experiment with this recipe until after Christmas, but it is so exquisitely beautiful and delicious that I can’t wait a whole year to share.  Plus, a winter log cake should be appropriate at least through February, no?

Important note:  it is far easier and quicker than it may look from these instructions.  And well worth any effort…

After conducting considerable research online, I chose a recipe for Vegan Swiss Roll on the Allergy Mums website (thank you!), filling it with my favorite chocolate mousse and frosting it with my longtime favorite mocha buttercream.  The creator of the “sponge” claims that it doesn’t crack and, indeed, her photo is picture perfect.  However, I found that not to be the case.

Still, my accomplice and good friend, Janie Jacobson, a healthy foods cooking instructor and cookbook author, and I were unperturbed because the luscious frosting hid any cracks completely.

I have now made two of these cakes–one for an impromptu post-New Year’s tea party and the other for a postponed 12th Night Party on Saturday night.  It was a rave both times.  But then I made two more rolled cakes according to another recipe and with considerable experimentation on my part in order to perfect the “sponge” to avoid dreaded cracks.

In terms of decorating, yes, I know about aquafaba and have made gorgeous meringues, but I was afraid it might not work for the meringue mushrooms typically used to decorate these yule logs. So I devised my own decoration of sliced almonds to suggest shelf-like mushrooms that grow on tree trunks.  Some sprigs of rosemary and cinnamon sticks lend a woodsy note–with rosemary being a surprisingly enticing aroma with chocolate–and a light dusting of powdered sugar suggests a hint of snow.

Someone told me it was the prettiest Buche de Noel she’d ever seen and another that it was my best dessert creation yet. That makes this recipe good enough to share with you.

 

Vegan Buche de Noel

1 cup soy or other non-dairy milk

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons flaxseed meal

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (I use white whole wheat)

3/4 cup natural granulated sugar (I use demerera)

2 tablespooons cornstarch

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup canola or other neutral vegetable oil

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Vegan Chocolate Mousse (recipe follows)

Vegan Mocha Buttercream (recipe follows)

Garnishes: sliced almonds, rosemary sprigs, cinnamon sticks, powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a rimmed 10 x 15″ pan with non-stick spray.  Line with one sheet of parchment paper and spray lightly again.  Sprinkle a tea towel with a little powdered sugar in a 10 x 15″  rectangle.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together soymilk and vinegar, set it aside to curdle for a couple of minutes, and then whisk in flaxseed meal, making a thickened vegan buttermilk.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt.  Make a well in the center and pour in canola oil, vanilla extract, and soymilk mixture.  Whisk together for 100 strokes until smooth.  (Whisking for a portracted time like this will develop gluten and, hence, structure.)  Transfer batter into prepared pan and gently smooth into the corners.  Bake for 12 to 13 minutes or just until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool in pan for 3 minutes and then invert onto prepared tea towel.  Carefully peel off parchment paper.  With a very sharp knife, trim 1/8 inch of cake from all of the edges which tend to be a little dried and may prevent smooth rolling.  Working from a long side, fold the excess inch or so of towel over the edge of the cake and carefully roll up like a jelly roll.  Tuck edges under and allow cake to cool completely on a wire rack.  Carefully unroll, avoiding trying to flatten the cake completely.  Gently spread with Vegan Chocolate Mousse.  Reroll and place seam side down on a serving platter, nestling it onto a flattened side from the previous rolling.  Cut off both ends at a diagonal and position cut pieces to resemble sawed off limbs.  Frost with Vegan Mocha Buttercream Frosting.  Lightly drag a fork lengthwise down the trunk and cut branches to resemble bark.  Garnish as desired with sliced almonds, rosemary sprigs, cinnamon sticks, and powdered sugar.

Tent with foil and refrigerate until about 30 minutes before serving time.  Slice with a sharp or serrated knife.

 

Cake Before Rolling

 

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

I recommend that you make the mousse 2 hours in advance in case it needs to set up, as tofu varies considerably from brand to brand.

6 ounces extra-firm silken tofu, gently pressed and blotted (if you cannot find extra firm silken tofu, use whatever silken tofu you can find, but be prepared to add two additional ounces or refrigerate for 2 hours to allow it to set up before filling buche)

1/4 cup natural sugar (I like demerara)

6 ounces vegan semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled until almost room temperature (the chocolate should be very thick but still spoonable)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon almond or peppermint extract

Pinch sea salt

Place ofu and sugar into food processor and process until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the melted chocolate, extracts, and a pinch of salt. Process for several minutes until smooth, scraping down the sides of bowl as necessary.  Texture should be very thick and creamy. If too thin to hold it’s shape, process with two more ounces of tofu and/or refrigerate, covered, before filling buche.

Vegan Mocha Buttercream Frosting

1/3 cup vegan butter, softened

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon instant coffee dissolved in about 2 teaspoons of water (I have also used a Starbucks espresso pod, torn open, and sprinkled in undissolved which works beautifully)

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

3 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

2 to 3 tablespoons non-dairy creamer (soy, coconut, etc.)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter with coffee and cocoa powder.  Turn mixer off, add 1/3 of confectioner’s sugar and a tablespoon of creamer, and beat until creamy.  Repeat with remaining confectioner’s sugar and creamer, ending with last third of sugar scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.  Adjust consistency with additional confectioner’s sugar or creamer as desired.  Beat in vanilla until incorporated.   If a darker color is desired to contrast more with almonds, add more dissolved coffee, cocoa powder, or both.

 

 

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54 comments

  1. You are so talented! I love your use of almonds instead of meringue mushrooms. I’m feeling inspired, to try one this Christmas! Of course, mine will look more like a 3-year-old slapped it together 😉 Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  2. Starr, YOU are so generous with your compliments. PLEASE try it. You’ll be amazed at how easy and tasty even if your finished cake is less than perfect. Ha. I want to try the “meringue” mushrooms with aqua faba. I had a great experience with it this summer, but I still like the almond tree “fungus.” That doesn’t sound very appealing, does it? Ha!

  3. I just love the way yours looks! I’m thrilled to find a vegan option. I’m going to give it a try for Christmas. Thank you for sharing!

  4. This looks so pretty and delicious. Can you sub more cocoa for the instant coffee? I’m not a fan of coffee flavored dessert. Thanks.

  5. Absolutely, Kara, or just leave the coffee out; it won’t make any difference. And don’t worry if the cake is a little cantankerous and wants to split; it won’t show once frosted, sliced, or served. I’m so glad it appealed. Thank you for taking the time to comment. Enjoy!

  6. Thank you, Teresa! I was thrilled with it and delighted to share. As I replied to Kara, just in case the cake is a little testy with you, don’t fret. Once frosted, no one will be the wiser, even when sliced and served. I look forward to making it again this year.

  7. […] AND this amazing vegan Buche de Noel and learn the story behind the Buche de […]

  8. Hello, can I freeze this recipe? With the buttercream and mousse? Thank you!

  9. Golly, great question. I don’t think the buttercream would be a problem at all, but the mousse might, just because freezing changes the texture of tofu. I don’t think I’d risk it, but if you get brave and try it, PLEASE let us know the results! First, maybe do an online search for freezing silken tofu?

  10. Okay I will let you know when I try it!

  11. I’ve never used xanthan gum or silken tofu before but I’m gonna have to make it a first! I need to make a log cake this Saturday and I will try this recipe out 🙂

  12. This looks amazing! Do you think I could use avocado instead of margarine for the buttercream frosting?

  13. Hello, what can I use instead of flaxseed meal? Thank you.

  14. Hi! Wow Thanks for this great recipe! It looks amazing!
    Do you think i can put it in the refrigerator for 5 days or i should freeze it? I can’t make it in the days previous to our christmas dinner and i don’t want it to be dried out or not look fresh…!
    Thanks!

  15. I don’t have xanthan gum on hand…do you find its a crucial part of this recipe?

  16. I really do. It provides the structure necessary to allow the cake to actually roll. Maybe buy some and share with another vegan friend or two, as it is a little pricey. Good luck and Merry Christmas.

  17. I am so sorry I didn’t reply before now and I imagine you have figured out the answer to your question. The new router in my house has been preventing me from accessing my own website. And it’s just difficult to do on my phone which is what I’m doing now. I probably would have refrigerated it rather than freeze it. I’m just not sure how it would freeze with the tofu in the filling. Hope it did or does turn out perfectly. Merry Christmas.

  18. I don’t know if I am allergic to avocado and never cook with it. If you try it, let me know how it works out. Merry Christmas.

  19. I am so glad you are bravely taking the plunge. Please let me know how it works out and I hope it turns out perfectly. Merry Christmas.

  20. Well, there are a number of egg substitutes, but I couldn’t guarantee the results with others because I haven’t tested them. You could try Ener-G egg replacer or Follow Your Heart Vegan egg substitute. I have a preference for the in general. Good luck and Merry Christmas.

  21. Hello,
    Sorry I forgot to let you know sooner, but this recipe tastes exactly the same even after it was frozen, it is delicious! I would recommend to put the exterior frosting after it was taken out of the freezer, but you can freeze the mousse inside the roll. Great recipe, thank you so much! 🙂

  22. You made my day. This is fabulous news! Thank you so much for taking your time to share. All best! -betsy

  23. […] Como postre estrella nos ha encantado el precioso mousse vegano que nos proponen desde The Blooming Platter. […]

  24. I have just finished making this gorgeous dessert!

    Impressive and elegant, yet surprisingly easy to make; who who’ve thought! 🙂 Taste tests along the way confirmed flavors are what one would expect after reading the post! Decadent! Thanks so much for sharing this one!

    I think the only thing I would add to the instructions is to spread the mousse inside once slightly chilled (but not cold) as the runny, warmish (fromt he melted chocolate) texture wade the buche very hard to handle… I put the whole thing outside (-20’C!!) for 40 minutes before plating and cutting the ends and it made everything a lot easier!

    Cannot wait to show this one off tomorrow at the Christmas dinner we’re having with friends! 🙂

    Thanks again: beautiful work!
    Vx

  25. Vicky, thank YOU for taking the time to share your delightful and lengthy message. I am so glad my recipe was a success for you, and that it was as easy as I claimed. I know everyone would love to see a photo of your triumph.

    In response to your suggestion regarding the mousse, I have tweaked the wording. Thank you. I would have never had anyone work with a runny mousse (eek!)–that mousse has always set up perfectly and almost instantaneously–so I suspect I cooled the melted chocolate far more than you did. Hence, I have specified how cool it needs to be. Much obliged.

    I hope you have a wonderful and very tasty New Year.

    -Betsy

  26. Thank you, Betsy for your quick reply! 🙂

    It must have been a glitch on my side then; room temp tofu, warm chocolate, whizzed up in a Vitamix NOT a processor… I probably just created too much heat! It turned out beautiful anyways, so it’s all good!

    I posted a picture on instagram and tagged @bloomingplatter on it! 😉

    Happy Holidays to you and yours!
    Vx

  27. Is the non dairy creamer you use a liquid or the powder stuff? Could I just use the cream from a can of coconut milk?

  28. Liquid. I would think that you could substitute coconut cream, but I can’t promise. If you try it, please let us know if it works. Good luck.

  29. Do you use peppermint or almond? Is there a preference for you?

  30. Hi Charlene. Thanks for asking and for your interest. Probably for the most broad appeal, I would use the almond. I happen to love peppermint and chocolate, but not everyone does. Happy holidays to you and yours.

  31. […] is such a gorgeous Bûche de Noël that Betsy of The Blooming Platter made, and you know even though it looks like a work of art, […]

  32. I am so honored to be included. Happy holidays! Love your holiday Roundup.

  33. Nicole K. Braden-Johnson

    I so am gonna try this.
    Just a note: I never made one of these before, so some of the directions for rolling it up didn’t make sense to me and I had to watch a different video on how to roll these up. Maybe more detailed pix would help others like me?

  34. Great idea. When I make it again, I will do that. Thank you. How did yours turn out? Perfectly, I hope? Happy Holidays!

  35. where does the cornstarch go? With the flour mixture?

  36. Yes, thank you. I have corrected it now. Merry Christmas.

  37. I would like to make this ahead of time . Will it keep two days in the fridge?

  38. Mary, I’m sorry, I can’t remember if I kept it for two days before serving it the first time, though I might have. I certainly kept it for another day after I served it because we didn’t eat all of it and it was just as good the second time, so I would say yes. Cheers!

  39. Thanks for this great recipe! We made it and it turned out great 🙂 We made the cake and mousse a day ahead of time, and the icing the next day, and it worked out fine.

  40. It is completely my pleasure. Thank you so much for taking your time to share. I love knowing what you made ahead and that it worked out so well for you. Merry Christmas!

  41. This looks so beautiful! Can chia seed be used in place of flaxseed meal? Should it be ground chia seed? Is there any replacement for the xanthan gum that will work? Can I add cocoa to make it a chocolate cake? How much should I add?

  42. Thank you, Annie. In answer to your questions, I only know it works the way I made it. I believe I did try it without the xanthan gum, which is expensive but you might split a bag with someone, and it really needed it for structure, even that small amount. As for the egg replacement, I don’t know what to tell you because I would hate to say yes and have it flop. I would think you could use chia, and I would definitely use the ground seeds, but, again, I have not tested it that way. I think you could certainly add cocoa powder. Maybe substitute 3 tablespoons for 3 tablespoons of the flour? Good luck, and if you try any of these substitutions, please let us know how it worked out for you. Happy New Year!

  43. Can I add cocoa powder to make this a chocolate cake? How much should I add?

  44. Thank you!! Happy New Year to you too!

  45. Annie, in my previous reply, I suggested about three tablespoons cocoa powder substituted for about 3 tablespoons of the flour, but that is just a guess. Cocoa powder has no gluten, so you will lose a little structure perhaps?

  46. Thank you!! Sorry I didn’t mean to ask twice; it didn’t seem like it was posted the first time.

  47. No worries at all. I just didn’t want you to think I had not responded.

  48. Is there any way to thicken the mousse if it doesn’t set up well? Even refrigerating it, it’s still not fluffy.

  49. I am so sorry, Annie. Someone else here locally also made it and posted a photograph of their finished results so I have posted a comment asking if they had an issue with it. Was the melted chocolate cooled almost to room temp? If it was warm at all, that could be problematic. Maybe chill mixture and process again. You could place a bowl of the mousse over a bowl of ice water to chill it quicker. If you have more tofu, add a bit at a time in processor to desired consistency. If not, maybe cocoa powder, since it is dry. Maybe both. I will be sick if I posted something incorrectly. I try to be so careful. I am going to buy the ingredients today and make it myself.

  50. Thank you. I will try that. It’s probably just my inexperience. I’ve never made a rolled cake before. I’m new to vegan baking too.
    For those as clueless as I am, you may want to indicate in the part about the buttermilk that it’s best to let the vinegar and milk curdle a bit before adding the flaxseed meal to thicken it. I had to try it 3 times before I figured out what I was doing wrong.

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