Holidays in Philly

Watch: How Philly’s Night Kitchen Bakery makes its ultra-popular Yule log cake

Hand-painted snowmen and mushrooms from meringue.

Diana Bowen

From mid-December through Christmas, the tiny, 350-square-foot pastry room at Night Kitchen Bakery is a nonstop flurry of activity. The winter holidays are by far the busiest time for the 30-year-old Chestnut Hill bakeshop, per owner Amy Edelman.

Aside from various holiday-themed cookies, the shop’s top seller is the Yule log cake — over the course of a week, Edelman and pastry chef Jackie Swain put out 150 of them.

Also called bûche de Noël, this traditional Christmas treat mimics the look of a real Yule log (like the one on TV) in sugary, edible form. It’s usually decorated with some kind of “mushrooms,” but many places go above and beyond to deck theirs out in style.

At Night Kitchen, each Yule log starts with a layer of ethereal chocolate sponge cake rolled carefully around fresh whipped cream. Mocha buttercream frosting is next, raked with a fork to create the look of bark. Then the accessories — tons of them. Real holly from the tree out back. Hand-painted characters cut from fondant. Mushrooms of meringue and a bow on top.

It all comes together to make a dish that’s as beautiful and fun as it is delicious. Check it out in the video below.

Want some more? Explore other Holidays in Philly stories.

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