Vegan Chocolate Yule Log

Vegan Chocolate Yule Log with Meringue Mushrooms served on a plank covered in icing sugar "snow"

This triple chocolate vegan Yule log is decadent, fun and deceptively simple to make. A silky chocolate mousse is rolled up in a tender chocolate sponge cake, and the whole thing is covered in a rich chocolate ganache.

I’ve been wanting to make a Yule log for a long time but have been hesitant to try it out considering this kind of holiday dessert requires a sponge cake which is flexible enough to be rolled without falling apart. Sponge cakes are traditionally made with a lot of egg whites which help provide the airiness and flexibility. So what’s a vegan girl to do when a Bûche de Noël is heavy on her mind? Well, she gets out the aquafaba, of course!

Vegan Chocolate Yule Log with Meringue Mushrooms served with candy snow and rosemary branches

If you haven’t heard of aquafaba before, it’s the liquid leftover from cooking chickpeas. As the chickpeas cook, they release some of their carbohydrates and protein into the water. Once reduced and strained, it whisks up like egg whites and has similar structural characteristics in baked goods. And if you’re wondering, there’s no chickpea flavor in the final product! 

Check out my recipe for Vegan Meringue Mushrooms to take your Vegan Chocolate Yule log to the next level of festive cuteness. That said, if you’re short on time, this Yule log is amazing on it’s own!

Tips for a Perfect Vegan Chocolate Yule Log:

  • The trick to getting the most out of your aquafaba is to reduce the volume of it. There’s a huge variation on how thick the aquafaba is right out of the can – this variation happens between brands but also even between cans of the exact same brand. Many recipes suggest reducing aquafaba by 1/3 but I have had better results reducing the liquid by half. Simply keep a measuring cup by the stove while the aquafaba is simmering and occasionally pour it back into the measuring cup to keep an eye on how the volume is reducing. You can always mix a bit of water back in. Strain it through a fine mesh sieve and then chill in the fridge until you need it. Once cooled, it should have the consistency of egg whites. Don’t be put off by the smell while it cooks, or the color as it darkens a bit – it’ll all work out! One of the magical things about aquafaba is the way it becomes a light creamy color once it’s whipped and how the flavor is undetectable once it’s added to a recipe.
  • While I have found that over-whipping aquafaba will not harm it like over-whipping egg whites will (they dry out and break), once the sugar is added to the meringue, the air starts getting knocked out as the sugar becomes completely dissolved. For this reason, I recommend beating the aquafaba until stiff peaks form, then gradually adding the sugar and to stop beating once the sugar is blended. It does become glossier with additional beating, but it thins out and doesn’t hold its shape as well if over-beaten.
  • Meringue, whether it’s made with eggs or aquafaba, does not like fat. Fat will ruin the meringue and you won’t get the fluffy cloud-like texture which is needed for the sponge cake. Ensure there’s no fat when creating the meringue by washing your equipment really well, and then wiping it down with a piece of paper-towel and vinegar.
  • Once the meringue is made and the rest of the cake batter is ready, gently fold it into the meringue. If you’ve made macarons before, the folding is very similar. We don’t want to do harsh, brisk stirring as this will knock a lot of the air out of the meringue which we worked so hard to create!
  • Most recipes for Yule logs, or roll type cakes, call for rolling the sponge cake up in a tea towel to set the shape and then to unroll it, spread the filling and then re-roll the whole thing. I don’t know about you, but this stresses me out just thinking of the extra opportunities for splits or major cracks in the cake. That said, small cracks in the cake are okay as they will be covered with ganache or rolled-up, but still, why not simplify if possible? I find that by covering the sponge cake as soon as it comes out of the oven with tin foil until it is completely cool locks in the moisture and creates a flexible cake that is easy to roll just once rather than twice (and no unrolling!)
  • For the chocolate mousse filling, things really don’t get easier than doing everything in the blender! Be sure to use the silken extra-firm tofu and not the blocks of extra-firm tofu you find in the cooler section at the grocery store. Silken style is shelf-stable and sold in tetra-packs. It has a very smooth, silky texture and doesn’t require cooking. It’s a lovely mild (no beany taste) base for puddings and mousse!
  • Let the ganache for the cake cool to a thick enough consistency that it spreads easily without dripping, and isn’t so cool that it’s hard to spread and tears the cake. If it gets too firm, heat for 10 second bursts in the microwave.

If you make this Vegan Chocolate Yule Log, please let me know in the comments below and feel free to give it a rating! Also, I love connecting on Instagram where you can tag me in your creations using my recipes. I love seeing what you’re up to in the kitchen! Thanks for reading along and I hope you enjoy this recipe!

Vegan Chocolate Yule Log with Meringue Mushrooms served on a plank covered in icing sugar "snow"

Vegan Chocolate Yule Log

This triple chocolate vegan Yule Log is decadent, fun and deceptively simple to make. A silky chocolate mousse is rolled up in a tender chocolate sponge cake, and the whole thing is covered in a rich chocolate ganache. This seasonally decorative dessert that will have everyone at your table swooning for more.
4.42 from 12 votes
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Vegan Christmas Dessert
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Chilling: 4 hours
Total Time: 42 minutes
Servings: 12 slices
Calories: 416kcal
Author: Crumbs & Caramel

Ingredients

For the Chocolate Sponge Cake:

  • 10 tbsp aquafaba (already reduced*)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider or white vinegar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (e.g. avocado, canola etc)
  • 1/3 cup hot water, espresso or coffee
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Mousse:

  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips (or ~187g vegan semi-sweet chocolate)
  • 349 g extra firm silken tofu, drained (the shelf-stable kind)
  • 1/2 cup dark maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp dark rum, optional
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Ganache:

  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips (or ~187g vegan semi-sweet chocolate)
  • 1 cup coconut cream**

For Decoration:

  • 2 tbsp finely chopped nuts (e.g. pistachios, walnuts)
  • 1 tsp matcha powder
  • vegan mushroom meringues
  • confectioner's sugar, for dusting
  • white decorative sugar crystals/sprinkles

Instructions

For the Chocolate Sponge Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 15" x 10" jelly roll pan (or cookie sheet with sides) with parchment paper. Spray the sides and parchment lightly with oil.
  • Wipe the stand-mixer bowl (or a medium bowl if you're using a hand-held beater) lightly with vinegar and dry. Add the aquafaba and vinegar, and beat on high until stiff peaks form, about 3-7 minutes depending on the appliance.
  • In a large bowl, sift in the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk well. In a small bowl, combine the oil, hot liquid and vanilla extract.
  • Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing just until blended. The batter will be very thick and some flour may remain, don't stress! Add about a cup of the whipped aquafaba, folding the mixture rather than stirring so you don't lose all of the air you've trapped in the aquafaba. If you've made macarons before, this is a similar process. Add the rest of the aquafaba, folding gently until the mixture is even. There may be a few small lumps but this is fine.
  • Pour the mixture on the prepared baking pan, smoothing out the batter to the edges. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean or with a few cooked crumbs on it.
  • As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, place the tray on a cooling rack and gently cover the whole thing with foil. This will trap the moisture so the cake cracks less when you go to make the log. Let cool completely before assembling.

For the Chocolate Mousse:

  • Melt the chocolate. You can do this in a double boiler, or in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring well each time you check it. Do not overheat or it will seize and become unusable. Let cool until just warm, not hot.
  • Combine the drained tofu, maple syrup, rum (if using) and vanilla extract in a blender. Blend on high until smooth and silky. Add the melted chocolate and blend again until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30-45 minutes to cool  and thicken.

For the Ganache:

  • Heat the coconut milk in a small pot over low heat. Stir in the chocolate, and whisk constantly until smooth and shiny. Remove from heat and set aside to lower to room temperature.

To Assemble the Log:

  • Slowly and gently peel the foil from the cake. A bit of the "skin" of the cake might come off, this is fine. Spread the mousse evenly over the cake. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for about an hour so that the mousse firms up.
  • Starting at the long side of the cake, roll the cake over the filling firmly but gently. If it tears a bit, the tears will be covered with ganache later. Keep rolling, slowly releasing the parchment paper as you go and using it to help roll the log over and down. When you get to the end, roll the log onto its seam and roll the parchment paper back around it (the last bit of parchment will not have been peeled off the cake). Keeping the log on the tray and wrapping in plastic, store in the fridge until completely chilled 2-3 hours, or overnight. Having it chilled will make it easier to decorate.
  • Remove the cake from the fridge. Cut 1 or 2 small pieces off the log at a 45° angle. Place the log on the serving tray, and position the angled side of the branches on the log for a cut branch effect. Use toothpicks or cut straws for support if necessary.
  • Using a pastry brush or small frosting spatula, cover the cake in ganache. Don't worry about making it smooth, some roughness creates a nice bark effect. Brush from one end of the log to the other to create bark lines. For the cut ends, swirl the ganache in a circular fashion, or wait until it's almost set up and use the tip of a skewer to create growth rings.
  • Create moss along the base of the log and in spots where the branches connect with the log by mixing finely chopped nuts with matcha powder. Store in the fridge until serving time. 
  • To serve, sprinkle with confectioner's sugar and coarse white decorative sugar crystals for a snowy effect. If decorating with mushroom cookie meringues, apply them with bit of melted chocolate to "glue" them to the log.

Nutrition Info:

Serving: 10servings | Calories: 416kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Sodium: 30mg | Potassium: 216mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin C: 0.6mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 3.7mg

Notes:

*Aquafaba varies in thickness and protein content between homemade and storebought, between brands, and even cans from the same brand. Drain the chickpeas, measure the aquafaba and the bring to a simmer on the stove. Reduce the volume by 1/3-1/2. I have found doing so by 1/2 gives the best, more consistent results for sponges and meringues. Strain with fine mesh strainer and chill. It should have the consistency of egg whites once cold.
**Coconut cream can be found in stores as is. If you can only find coconut milk, get the kind with no gums in it, chill it overnight and then scoop the fat off the top, saving the water for another use.
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24 thoughts on “Vegan Chocolate Yule Log

  1. Hi! 🙂 I’m thinking about trying your recipe this upcoming Christmas! It looks delicious! 😉 Have you ever tried freezing it, by any chance?! I’m hosting 3 times and would love to simply thaw, ice and decorate on each day to keep things simple…

    1. Thank you! I’m so happy you’d like to make it for Christmas! Unfortunately I have not tried freezing it, but I suspect that it would be fine but may end up a bit “wetter”. I’d recommending testing this before Christmas if you have time, and defrost it in the fridge before frosting. I plan on testing this as well, and will add a note here for you when I do! And hats off to you for hosting 3 times! ~Bronwyn

    2. Hello! I have the same question, did you try freezing it? Did it work? I’m going to make the log for Christmas day so thinking of making it on Christmas eve but if I can get away with doing it earlier and freezing it that would be really helpful!

      1. Thank you, Rose! I haven’t had a chance unfortunately, but the log can be made a few days ahead and be stored in a sealed container in the fridge instead of trying to freeze it, and you can cross one more thing off your list before Christmas Eve. The tofu is the limiting factor which has is best eaten within 5 days of being opened. Thank you for trying it, I hope you love it! ~Bronwyn

  2. I want to try this but not sure if i understand about the aquafaba. Do you mean measure out the 10 tbsp then reduce by heating it so you are left with 5 tbsp? Thanks!

    1. Hi Susan! Sorry for the confusion! No, reduce your aquafaba by half and then measure out 10 tbsp to use in the recipe. So you’d want to start with 20 tbsp (1.25 cups) or more of aquafaba. I find it easiest to reduce a big batch of aquafaba and then freeze the extra for uses like this. If you make the little mushroom meringues, you’ll need aquafaba for that, too. Let me know if you have any other questions, and I hope you enjoy the yule log! ~Bronwyn

    1. Hi Sam, it should be stored in the fridge because the filling contains tofu. If you like, it can be brought out of the fridge about 30-60 minutes before serving if you would like to enjoy it at room temperature. Thanks for checking it out, and I hope you enjoy it! ~ Bronwyn

  3. hi, made this cake but turned out a disaster towards the end!! the sponge was so sticky and too fragile, which made it so hard to roll that it completely broke, have got more of a rectangle cake than circle?? the chocolate mousse in the middle is amazing though!!

    1. Hi Olivia! I’m sorry to hear this didn’t work out as planned for you! It’s hard for me to say what went wrong? I’ve made this many times with success and have had a lot of positive feedback from others on this one. Ideas, though, for trouble shooting: 1) if the cake was under-baked, it will be sticky and hard to handle. I recommend having an oven thermometer to double check the actual temperature as the oven may be displaying inaccurately. Any oven I’ve ever used has been off! So if your oven happens to run a bit cool, the cake would need to be in longer than the recipe specifies – use a toothpick inserted into the middle to test – if it’s wet, keep baking until it comes out clean. 2) keep the parchment on as you roll to help support the sponge cake and prevent your hands from becoming sticky b/c you won’t be touching the cake at all (just supporting and rolling by holding the parchment), 3) if the chilling step is skipped, the filling and cake won’t set up properly for rolling into a nice shape, 4) inaccurate measurements can cause the whole recipe to off so if, for example, the flour was reduced or the liquid was increased, the balance will be off and the cake will be wet, 5) the rectangle shape issue (instead of a round roll) can happen if you apply pressure to the top of the roll each time or even at the end. It can take some practice, just like when making cinnamon rolls – the key is start by tucking the end of the cake down to start the roll , and to gently roll away from you rather than ever applying pressure to the top. By using the parchment paper the cake is baked on and lifting it up and over, you should get a lovely round shape. I hope this helps a bit, and if you have any other questions, I’d be more than happy to try and help 🙂 ~Bronwyn

      1. Hi Bronwyn, thanks so much for replying and in such detail! I missed out the chilling step and I was probably too heavy handed with the rolling which was what has made me cake break. I’ll definitely chill for some time before rolling and try be more delicate with rolling. Any more rolling tips would greatly be appreciated!!!
        Also, my family all seem to hate coconut🙄🙄 any other recommendations for the ganache you could suggest please? Thankyou

  4. Hi Bronwyn, Thanks for this recipe, it looks amazing! Really want to make this with the little mushrooms, but not sure how far in advance I could make it. Will it keep ok for a few days?

    1. Thanks Tracey! Yes, the log can be assembled and kept in the fridge for a few days in a sealed container. The meringues can be made ahead but cannot be stored in the fridge on the log – store them separately at room temperature in a tightly closed paper bag away from heat, cold and humidity. Just like egg based meringues, vegan meringues hate humidity and will soften and “weep”. I’d also suggest not attaching the tops to the stems too far in advance as contact points can soften a bit causing slumping – this step only takes a few minutes to do, and the drop of chocolate used for “gluing” to dry. Have fun and I hope you enjoy this festive dessert! ~Bronwyn

    1. Thank you! I’ve added the metric options in there (I’ll be updating this for all my recipes as I know that weight is definitely more accurate but get that some readers also prefer old fashioned cups) – click “metric” at the bottom of the ingredients and the grams for dry ingredients and mL for liquid ingredients will populate. Hope this helps and that you enjoy the yule log! ~Bronwyn

  5. Hi! I have the sponge in the oven right now. My wet to dry ratio seemed way off…when I mixed my oil/coffee/extract into the dries, it could barely incorporate. I added enough hot water to smooth it out so we’ll see how it goes, but I wanted to see if I’m missing something? I followed the recipe exactly!

    1. Hi Chelsea! Yes, the batter will be very thick once the wet ingredients have been added and a bit of the flour may not be wet and that’s totally okay. The rest of the moisture will come from the whipped aquafaba. As it is folded in, the batter will come together and be more like regular cake batter but with more air in it like a typical sponge cake. I hope the sponge cake worked out even with the extra hot water! Happy Holidays! ~Bronwyn

      1. Ahhh ok. It did turn out well anyhow! How can I share pictures with you? I also made the meringue mushrooms as well using your recipe. This is the first set of recipes of yours I have come across/used but I appreciate your clarity in the instructions (and brevity in non-recipe content) and I have already bookmarked your page to use in the future!

      2. Oh so glad to hear! I’d love to see some pics! You can email me at crumbsandcaramel at gmail dot com. I really appreciate your feedback, too, thank you! ~Bronwyn

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