Making Bûche de Noël at North Farm in the English countryside
Thursday November 23, 2023

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Welcome to annual Holiday episode of The Simply Luxurious Kitchen cooking show, and this year, we’re heading to the English countryside to cook a classic French holiday dessert.

This past October, I had the opportunity to visit County Durham in north England, staying at a special vacation rental which I will talk more about during the episode. With the permission of the owners Rita Konig and her husband Philip Eade, I am tickled to be able to bring you this episode of what initially may appear a complicated recipe, but in reality, it is quite simple.

The Bûche de Noël, or Yule Log is a special treat to serve and enjoy during the holidays as it is beautiful in its presentation and delicious, as well as satiating with each bite.

And even better, this recipe is gluten-free, by design! Using French patissier Dominique Ansel’s recipe, without the flour, this cake is both light in texture and wonderfully decadent with three different chocolate infusions. As I will share in the episode, the gluten-free approach just makes so much more sense for functionality reasons, yet alone taste.


Now you may take a look at my Bûche de Noël above, and I will admit, it looks a little ‘not fully round’, and you would be right because I wasn’t able to find gelatin at the time I recorded this episode during my stay, but so long as you have all other ingredients, this dessert will knock your socks off. However, if you can find gelatin, it will hold its shape, as you can see in the photo of my attempt last year when I did use gelatin. But keep in mind, gelatin doesn’t change the flavor, only adds structure.

Aside from not finding gelatin, and making a makeshift apron with a scarf, this episode came together well, and it was so much fun to cook and bake for the first time on an Aga. Such a highly functional (and warm to cozy up next too!) stove. I have shared more photos of North Farm, my vacation rental in this Travel Diary post, and shared a detailed video tour of the interiors in November’s A Cuppa Moments with Top Tier Members. I will forever fondly remember my stay in this special place, and I feel grateful to be able to capture this holiday episode for the show and share with you all.

I do hope you enjoy and wishing you a most wonderful festive and cozy, and absolutely delicious holiday season!


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Links shared during the episode:

  • Everyone Can Bake by Dominique Ansel
  • Explore renting Rita Konig’s North Farm in Durham
    • I want to thank both Philip Eade and Rita Konig for permitting me to film and share my holiday cooking episode in their kitchen while I stayed at North Farm.
    • Read my Travel Diary post (2nd of 3rd) shared during my trip to England that details North Farm.
  • Explore all of TSLL’s Travel Diary posts of the recent trip to England
  • Explore the many benefits as well as gain access to the Travel Diary posts when you become a TOP Tier Member (gift/guest memberships also available)

~Cook & Share! I would love to share your Simply Luxurious Kitchen inspired experiences from your kitchen. Tag me on Instagram with @thesimplyluxuriouslife #tslkitchen (or directly tag @tsllcookingshow) and your post could appear on my Instagram feed as well as on a future Show Notes post (see readers’ pics below). Many readers have already shared their meals inspired by recipes from TSLKitchen. Check out TSLL’s IG Story Highlights – titled, Viewers’ Recipes. Below are a few readers that have shared recipes and pics that caught their eye (and tastebuds ?) since last season concluded. Thank you to everyone who has shared!

Digital Cookbooks for Each Season of the Show are available (and they are free to everyone!). If you are looking for all of the recipes for each previous season in one easy to find place without having to click through each episode for each season, I now have available a Digital Cookbook for Seasons 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5. Shop here.  Season 6’s cookbook will be available at the end of this season (end of November).


Bûche de Noël

Simply LuxuriousSimply Luxurious
A classic holiday French dessert adapted from French patissier Dominique Ansel. A gluten-free approach to ensure a light texture as well a decadent taste with this triple chocolate recipe.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Chilling Time in the Fridge 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 23 minutes
Servings 10 slices


Flourless Chocolate Cake

  • 5 large egg whites
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (separated: 1/2 cup(118 g) for the egg whites; 1/4 cup(60 g) for the egg yolks
  • 7 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Vanilla Syrup (for the cake)

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (112 g)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla paste/extract/beans of one vanilla bean
  • 2/3 cup water

Dark Chocolate Mousse (filling)

  • 1/2 tsp gelatin (sheets or powder)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream/double cream (125 ml)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk (60 g)
  • 76 grams dark chocolate (2.6 ounces) best quality you could find

Dark Chocolate Ganache (frosting)

  • 165 grams dark chocolate
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream/double cream
  • 5 Tbsp whole milk
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder


  • Making the recipe in the order shared below will ensure you are spending less time, as all necessary parts are ready for assembly when you are ready to do so.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F/190 degrees C.
  • Time to separate the 5 egg whites and 7 egg yolks. Find a medium-size mixing bowl and place the egg whites. Place the yolks in a large-mixing bowl.
  • In the egg whites' bowl, using a hand-mixer or a whisk, mix until little bubbles begin to form. Then gradually add the 1/2 cup sugar (118 g) and whisk until shiny and glossy and medium peaks form.
  • In the egg yolk bowl, using a hand-mixer, beat the egg yolks with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar (60 g) and mix until pale and fluffy.
  • Now take the egg white mixture and gradually fold into the yolk mixture with a spatula. Fold in until combined. Now gently fold in the cocoa powder until just combined. The stove should be ready now. Grab a half-sheet baking pan and line with parchment. Pour the cake batter into the the half-sheet baking pan and spread evenly from side to side. Bake for 7-8 minutes until when you press gently in the center of the cake it springs back. Remove from the stove and let cool until ready to assemble.

Vanilla Syrup

  • In a small sauce pan, combine the sugar and vanilla with the 2/3 c. water (160 ml) and bring to a simmer until sugar as completely dissolved. Remove from the stove and set aside to cool.

Dark Chocolate Mousse

  • Place the chocolate, broken into rough small pieces, into a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream to medium stiff peaks. Place in the refrigerator to cool until needed.
  • In a very small bowl, combine 1/2 tsp of cold water with the gelatin until it dissolves. It may become clumpy and that is okay as it will eventually dissolve in the warm milk mixture you will be making next.
  • In a small sauce pan, pour the milk and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, remove from the stove and immediately add the gelatin mixture and mix until combined. This will take a few seconds. Pour this warm mixture directly over the chocolate in the small bowl and do not touch for 30 seconds. Let it naturally melt the chocolate. Once the 30 seconds has passed, stir with a spatula until combined and let cool slightly to 93 degrees F/34 degrees C.
  • Remove the whipped cream from the fridge and pour the ganache you have just made into the whipping cream, gently folding until incorporated. Now place back into the fridge to cool until you are ready to assemble the cake.

Dark Chocolate Ganache

  • Place the dark chocolate in a large bowl (make sure it is heat proof) and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until fully combined.
  • In a small sauce pan, bring the cream and milk to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once it begins to simmer, remove from the heat and slowly pour 1/3 of it into the egg yolk mixture. Gently combine. Then add one more 1/3 of the milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture. Gently combine. Now do the reverse and pour all of the mixture you just combined back into the saucepan with the remaining 1/3 milk mixture and return to the stove top. Cook this custard over medium heat, stirring continuously until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of your spatula. About 4-6 minutes.
  • Pour the custard over the top of the chocolate in the large heat-proof bowl. Do not mix. Let stand as it is for 1-2 minutes. While waiting for the custard to naturally melt the chocolate, in a small bowl whisk together the cocoa powder with 3 Tbsp of water until combined. Add this cocoa mixture to the custard and chocolate bowl, and mix everything together until combined. You are adding the cocoa mixture to darken the color of the ganache so that it is differentiated from the mouse .


  • Tear out one more sheet of parchment and lay it on a flat surface. Invert the sheet cake carefully out of the half baking sheet onto the new parchment paper. Gently, pull off the original parchment paper.
  • Grab your small sauce pan with the vanilla syrup and using a small brush, spread entirely over the cake. Be generous as this will keep the cake supple and make easier to roll without breaking it.
  • Take the chocolate mousse out of the fridge and begin to spread on top of the cake evenly and nearly from edge to edge.
  • Now to roll: using the parchment, pull it up and toward you so to pull the short edge of the cake up and into itself, rolling as tightly as possible. The parchment will help to keep the cake in tact as you begin the roll. Go slowly. Once completely rolled, place the seam at the bottom. Place on a serving platter and chill for one hour. Chilling will make frosting the cake easier ensuring you don't tear the cake with the frosting.
    Now, make sure the ganache you made for the frosting is sitting at room temperature. This too will keep the frosting soft enough to make it easier to spread.

Final Frosting

  • Using a spatula, you will be covering the cake twice with the ganache. Be generous and leave the ends of the cake free of frosting as you want to be able to see the neat roll you have created. The second layer of ganache will enable you to create ridges with either the edge or the flat side of the spatula (narrow or wide – your choice).
  • Chill the Bûche de Noël for at least 30 minutes or up to one day. Chilling the cake enables you to cut easily the cake into 1/2" slices and the cake will hold its shape.
  • To decorate, use chocolate truffles or chocolate pieces, anything that adds a touch of color or texture. You could even add holly sprigs like I did, but don't eat them!
  • Now to enjoy. You did it! Congratulations and Joyeuse Fêtes !

Stollenfinalshot 1
Chocolatchaud 1

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19 thoughts on “Making Bûche de Noël at North Farm in the English countryside

  1. Good Morning and Happy Thanksgiving!

    As I have been prepping since Sunday, I am able to take a break, pour a cuppa, and enjoy TSLK. I love that you taped it at North Farm. What an exquisite kitchen, and how exciting to cook on an actual Aga!

    Thank you so much for sharing this class. I have been wanting to attempt a Bûche de Noël for years. Maybe this will be the year!

    This has been a great cooking season.

    ¬Michelle xx

    1. Michelle,

      Thank you watching and for the feedback on this year’s season 😌 I have absolutely confidence you can make this recipe. Not having flour and then using the vanilla syrup makes the rolling so simple and I think, at least for me, that is the ‘nerve-enduring’ part. Find and use gelatin and your will look like it was picked up at a French patisserie! Have fun giving it a go!

  2. Shannon, this is such an incredibly special episode you created–charming, whimsical, truly a lovely dance in the kitchen, you looked so at home in front of the Aga. What a glorious space to create in. And the Buche de Noel looked yummy too! Absolutely brilliant topper to this year’s fantastic TSLK season. Well done!!💯💛🥂

  3. Oh, my gosh, does that ever look good, Shannon! I haven’t made a yule log in YEARS. It used to be a Christmas specialty of mine, complete with little marzipan toadstools, but then everyone seemed to cut back on sweeties & baked goods & I swapped the log for plain shortbread or biscotti & that was kind of the end of it. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole video — that kitchen is wonderful & you looked like you were having so much fun. What a treat! It left me wanting to bake something — but then your videos always make me want to head for the kitchen to try my hand at something new 🙂

    1. Ah yes, the toadstools! You know this recipe well and are no doubt an expert. I have no doubt you would have this recipe done quick as a whip and looking amazing. 😌 I feel so fortunate to have been able to spend the time I did in this kitchen. It was like Christmas for me each day. When I walked in the first time, I just stood in awe, taking it all in. Wishing you a delicious holiday season and perhaps this year with a Bûche de Noël in the mix! ☺️ Thank You for watching and so tickled to hear you felt encouraged to bake!

      1. To be honest, all I can recall of those days was that by the time I was finished, everything in the kitchen including me would be covered with chocolate icing. Then there was the year my 9 y/o nephew “helped” by making a whole array of little marzipan “fly agaric” mushrooms with their red caps & white spots (which are apparently psychoactive in real life) & telling his 2 younger brothers they were all poison & to not eat them . . . it was an interesting Christmas, still referred to as the year their aunt tried to poison everyone with magic mushrooms 🙂 To quote my one niece, complete with eyeroll: “boys!”

  4. What a treat this was! The Bûche, for sure, and the kitchen, and all the joy. It was lovely to see you, Shannon, so happy, so at ease at the North Farm as in Bend. The English countryside certainly agrees with you, my dear! 🙂

    Noted this recipe to include on my own “The Chocolate Collection”. I am curious to try it because of the non-flour concoction for the roll. I suppose it would taste much of egg, but voilá, I am also supposing that where the vanilla syrup comes handy. See, I am intrigued. And developed an appetite. 😉

    Thanks for another splendid Cooking Season, topped by this splendid finale. I have still one episode to watch (the making of croissants) but I am sure it will be great. I enjoy the Cooking Show so much that sometimes I wish you would be doing this all year round. I know, I know… 🙂 It is just my way of saying how much I appreciate your work, and your creativity.

    Merci, merci, obrigada (that’s Portuguese)! 🙂

  5. Oh my goodness Shannon! This holiday episode was so well done. You really are a pro at baking/cooking and sharing a story to the audience at the same time. You make it all look so easy. The Yule log looked scrumptious and you clearly enjoyed a few tastes. You dancing in that beautiful kitchen made it all so merry. There was only one thing missing….or two! Your precious fur babies! Happy Holidays, my friend. Xoxo

  6. I loved this episode! I did not realize this was gluten-free. My husband is gluten-free, so I will try making this for Christmas Eve. My favorite part is you telling us you don’t make all the decorations because this is as creative as you get. Thank you for that! I’m one for putting pressure on myself to do it perfectly and sometimes we need to be reminded to just enjoy it.

    1. Cathy,

      Oh! I do think you will both enjoy this recipe and anything to encourage to do and make what we love. If it means taking down the decorations a few notches, then that is the way to go. Whatever works for each of us. Thank you for watching. ☺️

  7. My mouth is watering this looks so delicious! Thank you for another wonderful cooking show season and for all the fun inspiration you bring into my kitchen.

  8. OK Shannon you have outdone yourself with the Bûche de Noël . I am thinking a new Christmas Eve tradition – bubbles, carols and this mouthwatering concoction 🙂 Gabrielle

  9. Just became a top tier subscriber today after realizing how long I’ve enjoyed your podcasts and blog. I’m rather ashamed at not having been a subscriber earlier. At any rate, this is the first episode I watched as I’ve been planning to make it with my 8 yr old daughter for our Christmas Eve dessert. I have to say, I may skip the fancy decorations too after hearing your great comment about the log being creative enough. So refreshing to hear we don’t have to do it all and it will still be great! Looking forward to viewing the rest of the videos!

    1. Carrie,

      Welcome to TSLL Community! No need to feel ashamed at all! I am just so grateful to hear you have enjoyed TSLL’s content over the years. 😌 And on the note of skipping the decorations, more and more French patisseries I have noticed keep it pretty simple as well, and let the quality of the cake and mouse and ganache to the talking. So long as you are making something you enjoy, make it as you wish! Wishing you a delicious holidays. 🎄

  10. I’ve only just caught up with this episode of TSLK! This recipe looks so simple and yet so delicious and impressive. I’ve missed the window to make it for Christmas but might have to make this for a New Years Day celebratory dessert.
    Thank you for the “shout out” re the gingerbread 😊 I’m glad you were able to try it and enjoyed it so much. Now I just want to visit Grasmere myself asap so I can pick some up too!
    I hope you’re having a lovely between the years.

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