December is time for the Bûche de Noël!

Find out what La Bûche de Noël is, France's iconic pastry.

Written by Matilda Marseillaise

02 Dec 2021

2 min read

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The Bûche de Noël is a traditional French Christmas cake served at the end of the Christmas meal that resembles a log. 

It is traditionally a sponge cake that is rolled and filled and iced with chocolate buttercream. However, patissiers now create buche de noel in many different flavour combinations.

The buche is then decorated with powdered sugar, to represent snow, and little berries, mushrooms (to represent things found in the forest) usually made of meringue or marzipan.


Bûche means log in French (and Noël is Christmas) and the cake symbolises the log that in previous times were burned in the fireplace during the Christmas period (remember it’s cold in Europe this time of year). 

There are various theories about why the logs were burned varying from that they were to ward off bad luck and darkness or to ensure a good harvest. Beliefs included that ash from the log protected against lightning strikes, and coals from the burned log were used throughout the year in various medicinal potions.

As houses moved away from hearths towards more modern ovens for cooking, the log moved from something that was burned to something that was confectioned and savoured instead. That makes it a far more accessible and yummier Christmas tradition! And we’re lucky that we can find it at French patisseries and continue the tradition of the Bûche de Noël in Australia.

To read more about all other things French and francophone), go to

Matilda Marseillaise

Matilda Marseillaise, affectionately known as MM, is a bilingual (French and English) website about all things French and francophone in Australia. The site’s creator and writer has travelled the world and has lived in France and Belgium but currently calls Australia her permanent home. Learning French from a young age, she went on to study it at university level and had a strong interest and passion for French culture. While she no longer lives in France or Belgium, she has kept the French joie de vivre in her Aussie life.

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