Toasted Almond and Winter Citrus Yule Log

I have always wanted to make a yule log cake! Well actually, I had been calling them swirly cakes until a friend informed me of their true title last night. Either way, they are so festive and so distinct! I finally worked up the courage and concocted this toasted almond cake with a winter citrus buttercream. It’s so festive but lighter than other winter flavors (I see you and love you gingerbread but sometimes I need some lemon in my life!) This cake is super fluffy, almost like angel food cake’s slightly shorter cousin, and has a beautiful sugary crust after being rolled up in powdered sugar, almost like it’s been dusted in snow!

I brought this to a dinner party this weekend and it was a huge hit. I’d always been intimidated by yule log and jelly roll cakes because of that impressive swirl but this cake was much easier than I anticipated. Plus, just so tasty!

Almond and citrus are a classic pairing, and are surprisingly wintery. The zing of winter citrus, which in this recipe are clementine, orange and lemon, plus the roasty-toasty flavor of the toasted almonds are the perfect cure to your winter blues.

I love to bake with essential oils. They add such an intense flavor in such a small amount and are alcohol free in case you’re uncomfortable with extracts. Please make sure the essential oils you chose are food safe! I use the DoTerra brand and I know there are countless other brands of edible oils. Just please do your research, since many essential oils are not edible at all (hello poisonous eucalyptus)! However, you certainly don’t need to run out and buy essential oils just for this recipe! They can be replaced by a teaspoon of lemon and orange extracts.

Since this cake is so light and airy, the richness of the buttercream brings this cake back down to earth. However, if you’re not a frosting person, replace the buttercream with a delicious citrus scented whipped cream by added orange zest, some powdered sugar and some citrus essential oil (make sure it’s food-safe!!) to some cream whipped to stiff peaks. Make sure to refrigerate before serving!

Bring this show-stopper to your next holiday gathering and you’ll definitely be invited back!




nonstick spray that includes flour, or nonstick spray plus flour for sprinkling

4 large eggs

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp almond extract

1 cup flour

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar plus extra for sprinkling

2 sticks butter, softened

8 drops orange essential oil 

4 drops lemon essential oil

1 tsp orange or clementine zest

the juice of one orange or two clementines

1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted

cooking spray with flour

the zest of half an orange

1 tablespoon dark chocolate melts, melted



1. Preheat the oven to 370 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and nonstick spray that includes flour. Alternatively, spray with nonstick spray and coat with flour.

2. With an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar together until extremely light  and frothy.

3. Sift flour and baking powder into the egg and sugar mixture and add the almond extract. 

4. Mix together until smooth and pour into the prepared baking sheet.

5. Bake at 370 degrees for 12 minutes or until the cake is golden and springs back when pressed.

6. While the cake bakes, cover a dish towel in powdered sugar.

7. Once the cake is removed from the oven, invert onto the prepared dish towel and roll the cake while it is still hot.

8. Allow the cake to cool while rolled.

9. While the cake cools, beat together softened butter, the juice of one orange, the zest of half an orange, three and a half cups of powdered sugar and orange and lemon essential oils until fluffy.

10. Once the cake is cooked, unroll,  spread with frosting and re-roll the cake.

11. Present the cake seam side down on a plate.

12. Toast the slivered almonds in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until just fragrant.

13. Melt one tablespoon of dark chocolate. (I used chocolate melts so I didn’t have to deal with tempering)

14. Use a piping bag to form a swirl of chocolate on a piece of parchment paper and allow to harden.

15. Fill a piping bag with the remaining frosting and pipe a swirling line on the top of the cake. Cover this line with the toasted almonds. Top this line with the chocolate swirl.

16. Refrigerate before serving and enjoy!



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