Before reaching its contemporary status as a Christmas dessert table centrepiece, yule logs were actual wooden logs that kept burning throughout the night amid the winter solstice as a way of celebrating the return of the sun.
But they’ve come a long way since then. As fire and fireplaces generally went out of favour, the tradition of burning yule logs slowly gave way to the heaving constructions of sponge, buttercream, ganache, and icing we know today.
These lifelike log cakes — made to resemble snowy, charred logs with some chocolate icing and a heap of powdered sugar — are believed to have emerged sometime in the 19th century, first in France, the pastry capital of the world, then slowly, the rest of Europe and across the globe.
Nowadays, though, the log cakes take on a host of dazzling likenesses depending on the trend du jour, brimming with unusual and inventive flavours guaranteed to start conversations at the Christmas dinner table.
This year, it seems that log cakes heavy on local flavours are taking the spotlight. Read on for our round-up of festive log cakes.
1. Have a red, hot Christmas
Making a fiery statement this festive season is Pan Pacific Singapore’s new creation — the Strawberry Yuzu Log Cake, which resembles a bar of bubbling baubles studded with stars. The log cake pits the tanginess of the yuzu curd against the sweet strawberry mousse and vanilla sponge.
Its popular Mao Shan Wang & Gula Melaka Log Cake is back with luscious durian paste slathered in between vanilla sponge, which is dressed up in coconut crème. For traditionalists, take comfort in the Chocolate Log Cake with chocolate buttercream and chocolate sponge.
Available till December 26; $88 to $98 for 1kg. Order at the hotel’s festive booth or panpacificsingapore.oddle.me/en_SG.
2. Blue Christmas
Get into the Christmas spirit with Grandeur Blue Yule Log from The Lobby Lounge at InterContinental Singapore. Ditching the traditional flavours and hues of Christmas — along with the shape of a yule log altogether, this blue-tinged longhouse brims with tropical accents. Inspired by local desserts, it comprises a pandan genoise sponge layered with coconut mousse and tangy mango-passion cremeux, intermingled with sweet, chewy attap seeds (palm seeds) for a touch of delightful textural contrast.
Available till December 22; $108 for 1kg. Order online three days in advance at intercontinentalshoppe.sg or the hotel’s boutique.
3. Snowy retreat
For a fitting taste of la dolce vita — Italian for the sweet life — this Christmas, look no further than stalwart Italian chain Da Paolo Gastronomia, which has a boozy log cake dressed up to resemble a wintry snowscape. The envelope of crisp white chocolate shavings gives way to an underlayer of lightly tart white chocolate yoghurt Chantilly cream. The vanilla sponge is studded with white chocolate pearls, and a decadent housemade morello cherry compote spiked with rum.
Available till December 31; $89 for 900g. Order online three days in advance at gastronomia-foodtoorder.dapaolo.com.sg.
4. Crowned with gold
Taking its design cue from the traditional Christmas tree topper of a gold star, Goodwood Park Hotel’s Snowy Splendour Log Cake comes crowned with shimmering gold foil. The elegant cake also leans traditional in its flavours, featuring a velvety chocolate mousse set against raspberry confit on a base of moist chocolate fudge sponge. Profiteroles filled with more chocolate mousse, dark chocolate leaves and gold foil add a luxe finishing touches to the festive bake.
Available till December 26; $99 for 1kg. Order at goodwoodparkfestive.oddle.me or the hotel’s boutique.
5. Merry Christmas to yuzu
Rather than venturing down the traditional path of sinfully decadent Christmas yule logs, boozy liqueurs and heady chocolate overtones, JW Marriott Singapore South Beach has decided to take a different approach with its centrepiece pastry.
Executive pastry chef Edina Si has left the visual of the classic log behind, opting instead for a minimalist pastel-yellow slab adorned with a green template bearing the word “Christmas”. In line with its colour palette, Japanese-centric flavours underscore the log cake, with zesty yuzu and mango balanced out by a luscious core of earthy matcha cream.
Available till January 1, 2024; $78 for 1kg. Order at shopatjw.oddle.me.
6. Santa’s house
Make a beeline to the Santa-themed yule log from The Westin Singapore if you’re looking for a festive treat that’d be equally well received by the young and young at heart. Santa Claus, snow-capped houses, reindeers and other classic motifs of the Christmas season take centre stage for the hotel’s Valrhona chocolate, strawberry and passionfruit-tinged number. Amid the local-themed delights, it offers a refreshing yet classically Christmassy take that promises to please at convivial family gatherings.
Available till December 25. $89 for 1kg. Order two days in advance online at idem.events/v/the-westin-singapore/products/yulelogcake or the hotel’s boutique.
7, Pretty in pink
The Fullerton Hotel Singapore is offering a menagerie of localised takes for the yuletide season . We’re talking roasted turkey inspired by fiery hawker noodle favourite laksa, a slow-roasted pork belly served with fluffy lotus leaf buns for shades of local kong bak bao, and of course, a trio of new locally inspired log cakes for a sweet finish.
The tropical mango, pomelo, yuzu, and passionfruit-filled yule log makes for a refreshingly zesty festive treat, while the coconut snow pandan yule log is perfect for anyone looking to bring a white Christmas to Singapore — though the star of the show is surely the utterly beautiful bandung-inspired yule log layered with lychee creme, rose-infused raspberries, vanilla bavarois (egg-based custard) on a bed of raspberry chiffon. Just the pastel-cake cake to bring if you’re going for any Barbie-themed Christmas parties, we’d reckon.
Available till December 27. $82 for 900g. Order four days in advance online at shop.fullertonhotels.com or the hotel’s boutique.