This Chocolate, Salted Caramel & Chestnut Yule Log is something a bit different from the traditional yule log. It's a light chocolate sponge filled with salted caramel sauce and chestnut cream, covered in chocolate ganache, lashings of salted caramel sauce and some salted caramel fudge on top. It's a very grown up and decadent holiday dessert!
The recipe and photos for this post were updated in December 2020.
What are chestnuts?
Chestnuts are the nuts of a chestnut tree (not to be confused with horse chestnuts or conkers, which are not edible). They are very popular in desserts in europe, and they give the cream a gorgeous nutty flavour. You can buy ready made and sweetened chestnut puree, or ready cooked chestnuts that you can easily blend and sweeten to create the puree. If you've not tried them in desserts before, I highly recommend it!
How to make Chocolate, Salted Caramel & Chestnut Yule Log
Make the chocolate ganache first by melting double cream, butter and dark chocolate together. Leave it to cool and thicken. Whisk up eggs with caster sugar in an electric food mixer for 8 minutes until it has trebled in size and reached ribbon stage. This means where you can make a figure eight on the batter and it doesn't immediately sink back into itself.
Sieve out plain flour and cocoa powder into a bowl and then fold it into the egg mixture. Then pour the batter into the tin and tip it to spread the mixture out into each corner. Bake it for 12 minutes.
Immediately tip it out onto another sheet of baking paper and roll it up, rolling the fresh sheet of baking paper with it. Leave it to cool fully on a cooling rack. Make the chestnut puree by mixing together cooked and peeled chestnuts, icing sugar, vanilla and water in a blender.
Unroll the cooled sponge and spread salted caramel sauce all over it. For the chestnut cream, whip up some double cream and stir the chestnut puree into it.
Spread the cream over the caramel sauce, then roll the sponge back up. Then cover the whole thing with the chocolate ganache. To decorate, sprinkle a bashed up flake bar over the ganache, then drizzle over more salted caramel sauce and top with salted caramel fudge.
What caramel sauce should I use?
My favourite caramel sauce to use is my Homemade Caramel Sauce, it’s rich, smooth and absolutely divine! You can also easily add salt to it to make it into a salted caramel sauce. If you don’t want to make your own, it’s quite easy nowadays to find a good quality ready made caramel (or salted caramel) sauce in the shops or online. I have used Tesco’s Finest, Bonn Maman and Carnation Caramel in the past with great results.
How do you make sweetened chestnut puree?
You can buy ready made jars or packets of either sweetened chestnut puree (also known as creme de marrons), or unsweetened chestnut puree. Try looking online or in a gourmet food shop. If you buy it unsweetened, you can add the icing sugar and vanilla directly to the puree and stir in. When I made this recipe, I used a packet of ready cooked and peeled chestnuts, so I had to puree them down first in a blender. If you can't find those either you can buy uncooked chestnuts and roast them first, then peel and puree. Do not use raw chestnuts.
What can be done with leftover chestnut puree?
Leftover unsweetened chestnuts or puree, can be used in other desserts, or stirred into risottos, stews or pies. They are also great in nut roasts and mixed into stuffing. Leftover sweetened chestnut puree can be used in other desserts, swirled into yoghurt and rice pudding, or you can freeze it for future use.
Tips for making the Chocolate, Salted Caramel & Chestnut Yule Log:
- Don’t overfill it. Being overly generous with the filling means you won’t get a nice tight roll
- Don’t cut or score it to “start the roll off”, this can too easily go wrong and the whole section will break off
- Start the roll off as tight as you can and the rest will follow
- When folding the flour in, be gentle and go slowly to avoid losing volume
Recommended equipment & ingredients*
- Swiss Roll tin
- Mixing bowls
- Cooling rack
- Kitchen scales
- Salted Caramel Sauce
- Stand mixer
- Flake bar
- Chestnut puree
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More Yule Log recipes:
Chocolate, Salted Caramel & Chestnut Yule Log
For the chocolate ganache
- 30 g Butter
- 300 ml Double cream
- 300 g Dark chocolate
For the sponge
- 3 Eggs large
- 75 g Caster sugar
- 45 g Plain flour
- 30 g Cocoa powder
For the filling
- 100 g Chestnuts I used Merchant Gourmet
- 35 g Icing sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 2 tsp Water
- 150 ml Double cream
- 125 g Salted caramel sauce good quality shop bought or homemade
- 1 Cadburys Flake Bar or grated dark chocolate
- 35 g Salted caramel sauce good quality shop bought or homemade
- 30 g Salted caramel fudge good quality shop bought or homemade
- Make the ganache first as it needs time to cool. Heat the double cream and butter in a pan on a low heat, you want to to be warm but not so hot you couldn't hold your finger in it
- Take it off the heat and add the dark chocolate broken into pieces. Leave for a few minutes, then stir and the chocolate should have melted. You can put back on a very low heat if needed to melt all of the chocolate. Put aside to cool and thicken, or in the fridge if you're a rush
- Pre-heat your oven to 160C Fan/180C/400F/Gas Mark 6, line a swiss roll tin or a baking tray with a lip, with baking paper. The one I used was a Wilton tray that is 33.7 x 29.5 cm
- For the sponge, whisk the eggs and sugar together with an electric whisk or in a food mixer for around 8 minutes or until it reaches 'ribbon stage' - this is when you can drizzle the mixture in a figure 8 and it takes more than 3 seconds to sink back in
- Sieve the plain flour and cocoa powder into a bowl and then fold it into the egg mixture gently, trying not to lose the volume
- Pour the batter into the lined tray and gently spread the mixture out into each corner
- Bake it for 12 minutes. Immediately tip it out onto a clean sheet of baking paper dusted with icing sugar and roll it up, rolling the clean sheet of baking paper with it. Leave it to cool fully
- To make the chestnut puree (if you are not using a ready made one) put the cooked and peeled chestnuts, icing sugar, water and vanilla into a blender and whizz up into a puree
- Whip the double cream and stir the chestnut puree into it
- Unroll the sponge and spread the caramel filling all over it evenly, then spread the chestnut cream over the caramel sauce, then roll the sponge back up carefully and place onto your serving plate
- Spread the chocolate ganache all over the roll. You want this to be quite rough as the roll is meant to look like a log. If the ganache is too solid from the fridge you can heat it up in the microwave to soften it, do 10 seconds to start with, then stir and do more very short blasts if needed as you don't want it to get too runny
- Bash up 1 flake bar and sprinkled it all over the wet icing
- Drizzle over the salted caramel sauce and top with the salted caramel fudge
- Serve immediately, store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 days