Dress it up or keep things simple, this fast and fancy dessert is a delicious decoration for your holiday table.
- Pre-heat oven to 350ºF. Grease and line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add the cake mix. Sift in the cocoa powder and stir to combine. Add the water and mix on medium-low for 1 minute or until smooth.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 17 to 22 minutes or until the top of the cake springs back when gently touched.
- Meanwhile, place a clean kitchen towel on top of a large cutting board. The cutting board will give you something to hold on to while the cake is being inverted. Dust the towel liberally with confectioner's sugar.
- Once the hot cake comes out of the oven, place on a heat-safe work surface. Dust it liberally with confectioner's sugar. Carefully invert the towel/cutting board and place over the top of the pan (with the towel between the cake and cutting board). Using oven mitts or towel while handling, carefully flip the cake pan upside down. Place the cutting board on the work surface and remove the cake pan, leaving the cake behind. Gently peel away the parchment paper and completely cover the bottom of the cake with another generous dusting of confectioner's sugar.
- While the cake is still hot/warm, start from the long end of the cake and use the kitchen towel to gently roll it up (the towel will stay rolled up within the cake for this step). Continue to roll the width of the cake and place it seam-side down. Allow the cake to completely cool inside the towel.
- Once the cake has cooled, gently unroll the cake. Carefully lift and place the cake on a cutting board or large serving dish, and remove the towel.
- Spread the raspberry jam on the inside of the cake roll, leaving about a 1-inch border around the edges.
- Add the vanilla to the canned frosting and stir to combine. Spread the vanilla frosting on top of the raspberry jam, again leaving a 1-inch border around the edges.
- Carefully re-roll up the cake (without the towel this time), ending with the seam-side down. Place it in the refrigerator until chilled while you make the frosting.
- Place the chocolate chips and butter in a heat-safe bowl. Set aside.
- Place the cream in a saucepan and heat over medium-high. Slowly bring the cream to a simmer. Once hot, pour the cream over the chocolate and butter. Let stand for 1 minute, then whisk until smooth.
- Place the chocolate mixture in the refrigerator until cool, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring intermittently. Once cool, remove from the refrigerator and whisk in the sugar and salt.
- Remove the chilled cake from the refrigerator. Trim the ends using a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion. If you'd like, cut the end off of one side at an angle and attach it with a bit of frosting to the side of the log to resemble a tree branch.
- Spread the frosting on the chilled cake with an offset spatula. Completely cover the cake (the top and ends) with the frosting. While the frosting is still soft, use the offset spatula or spoon to create a swirl on the ends of the Yule log. Use the tines of a fork to create a tree bark pattern on the top and sides of the Yule log. Return the cake to the refrigerator. Keep the cake chilled until ready to decorate and display.
- To decorate, sprinkle the cake with chocolate shavings, confectioner's sugar, crushed pistachio, and/or shredded coconut. Decorate the base with rosemary and fresh cranberries or raspberries.
Crank up your cooking tip:
The confectioner's sugar will begin to 'melt' when dusted on top of the finished cake over time. Dust just before serving.