Something sweet is essential at Christmas time. For a spectacular festive dessert, make a traditional chocolate yule log inspired by a black forest gateau. This log from the black forest is a guaranteed crowd pleaser

If you are among figgy pudding nay-sayers this Christmas, don’t let them go hungry. Philippa Davis’ log from the black forest is a traditional chocolate yule log with a black forest gateau. It makes a truly spectacular dessert, and is perfect for feeding a crowd.

For more sweet treats to satisfy the Christmas pudding nay-sayers, read the 5 best alternatives to Christmas pudding. From boozy brownies to a fruitcake from the WI and biscotti for the smalls, there’s something for everyone.


If you graft a chocolate yule log onto a black forest gateau you get this spectacular festive dessert, perfect for a crowd.

Serves 8


  • 12 cocktail/maraschino cherries
  • 3 tbsp brandy
  • Sprigs of holly
  • Icing sugar


  • 80g cocoa powder
  • 160g soft brown sugar
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ nutmeg, grated
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee
  • 125g boiling water
  • 75g butter, cut into small cubes
  • 125g buttermilk
  • 2 egg yolks and 1 whole egg, lightly beaten


  • 300ml double cream
  • 2 dsp icing sugar
  • 160g cherry jam mixed with 1 tsp brandy or kirsch

Line a 30cm x 20cm swiss-roll tin with baking paper.

Pre-heat fan oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3.

For the decoration, soak the cherries in the brandy (or kirsch) for at least 4 hours.

For the sponge, sieve into a bowl the cocoa powder, soft brown sugar, self-raising flour, baking powder and soda, and nutmeg and ginger and give it a whisk (by hand), make a well in the centre.

Mix the boiling water into the coffee, add the butter and stir until melted.

Pour into the well along with the buttermilk and eggs and whisk until combined.

Pour into the tray and bake for about 18 minutes, turning the tray around after nine minutes.

Leave to cool in the tin.

For the filling, whip the cream and icing sugar until quite thick then fold through the jam.

To assemble, turn out the sponge onto a tea towel and remove the baking paper.

Spread with the cream mix then roll up, starting with the short end.

Roll onto your serving platter and decorate with holly, the cherries and a dusting of icing sugar.