Paleo Buche de Noel – Sweets for Santa

Sweets for Santa is this month’s theme of the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop. I try to participate as often as I can, since I discovered them a few months ago. The blog hop is open to anyone willing to participate, anywhere in the world; and it’s hosted by some great ladies and bloggers in Australia. December 2012 marks a year anniversary for the blog hop, and I’m very excited to be part of this Sweet Adventures’ community, where we are all inspired by and learn from each other.

My entry is something I learned to make in my high school French class. I still remember the crumbled mess when we tried rolling our first buche. Since then, I’ve learned a few things about baking and cooking, and things have improved dramatically! 😉 My next challenge is food styling and food photography, which is quite the learning process…but I’ll get there I hope.

The Buche de Noel is a traditional Christmas holiday cake that can be found in pastry shops almost everywhere in France and in many French homes. Mine is a healthy deviation from the traditional as I’ve made it completely refined sugar free, dairy free and gluten free. In fact, it’s even Paleo (although some Paleo followers may not approve of the wine or chocolate…)! But I’ll leave that debate for another time…



For the chocolate bark

Make one recipe of homemade chocolate. Allow to cool about 1 hour. Then pour onto a large sheet of parchment paper. Place another sheet of parchment paper over top. Make sure the chocolate is not too liquid, but syrupy instead. Roll into a “log”. Freeze for a few hours or overnight.

When you unwrap the parchment paper, the chocolate will break into shards of bark.

For the sponge cake

  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice (for egg whites)
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • additional olive oil for the parchment paper
  • parchment paper to line the baking pan
  • 1/3 cup Moscatel or rum or brandy (or nonalcoholic wine)

Preheat oven to 180C or 350F.

In a bowl, with a hand mixer, beat the egg yolks and honey until a pale yellow. This will take about 10 minutes, depending on the power of your mixer. Add the olive oil, cocoa powder and lemon juice. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt and 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar until stiff peaks form. Fold in about 1/4 of the egg whites into the yolk mixture. Slide the remaining egg whites over the mixture.

Sift together the coconut flour and baking soda and pour on top of the egg whites. Fold until a homogenous mixture is achieved. Pour into an 9.5 x 13.5 inch mold, previously prepared with a piece of greased parchment paper. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until an inserted wooden toothpick comes out clean.

Once out of the oven, allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Pour the Moscatel evenly over the top of the cake. After it has been absorbed, carefully roll the cake into a log. Set aside.

For the coconut whipped cream with raspberries

  •  1 can of full fat coconut milk, preferably organic
  • 200g fresh raspberries, save a few for garnish
  • blueberries for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract*
Place the can of coconut in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Open carefully and scoop out the fat only, leaving the “water” behind. Pour into a bowl and at high speed beat until a whipped cream consistency is achieved. Add the vanilla and the raspberries and mix well. (You may want to add some sweetener; I didn’t as I though the combination with the sponge cake was sweet enough for me.)
*For homemade vanilla extract: In a sealable glass jar, place 1 cup of vodka plus 3 vanilla beans, split lengthwise (with vanilla seeds removed) and cut in half. Ideally, allow to macerate at least one month before using. However, I have used it within a week and it was delicious.)
For the meringue mushrooms, makes about 12 mushroom caps and stems
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ice water
Preheat oven to 80C or 175F.
In a saucepan, heat the egg white, honey and salt until the mixture is warm to the touch (about 1-2 minutes), stirring constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon. Transfer to a mixing bowl and with a hand mixer on high speed, immediately begin to whisk. Add the ice water and continuing beating until soft, glossy peaks are formed.
Transfer the meringue into a piping bag and create mushroom caps and stems. Bake on the lower rack of the oven for 1.5 hours. Allow the mushrooms to completely cool – about 1 hour –  before “gluing” together. They can be stored overnight (not in the fridge) on the countertop. I found that with the meringues made with honey that they are very sticky, so no “glue” is required. However, if you make them with refined sugar, you can use some melted chocolate as glue.
To add some “dirt” to the mushrooms, sprinkle some cocoa powder using a sieve on the top of the mushrooms and with cocoa powder “dirty finger” touch the mushroom stems. For original idea, please click here. And for the original meringue recipe from Against All Grain, please click here.
To assemble the Buche de Noel 
Unroll the sponge cake. Spread the coconut raspberry whipped cream on the cake. Roll up again.
Melt some chocolate and when cool, but still of fluid consistency, pour or drizzle over the rolled cake. Transfer with a large spatula to a pretty (and clean) serving platter. Immediately “glue” bark into place. Decorate with “dirty” mushrooms and some sprinkled desiccated coconut over top, if desired.
Et Voila! Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and holiday season, and a safe, healthy, happy and prosperous New Year 2013! Oh, yes and may the year be full of lots of love and “deliciousness”!
After a year of incredible recipes, our host again is Christina from the Hungry Australian. Please check her page for more details on the hop and how to join.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. 12.17.12

    I love how you placed the chocolate on it, and it looks more like real bark. The ones with perfect icing, makes me feel inadequate. This looks more natural and much more delicious! Thank you so much!

  2. 12.17.12
    thesaffrongirl said:

    Thank YOU Jennifer for your lovely comments!

  3. 12.18.12

    Wow! This is so, so impressive. I especially love those mushrooms!

    • 12.19.12
      thesaffrongirl said:

      Thank you Baking! It is a bit time-consuming, but well worth the efforts. 😉

  4. 12.20.12

    I have to say I’d probably just layer it all together 😉 but loving the sound of this chocolate cake! My fave part of buche de noel is always the mushroom meringues, adorable.

    • 12.20.12
      thesaffrongirl said:

      Thank you JJ! They were fun to make too!

  5. 12.21.12

    Your mushrooms look very impressive! This looks wonderful and very decadent. Although I have to say I don’t really understand the paleo diet – surely they wouldn’t have had cake in palaeolithic times!

    • 12.21.12
      thesaffrongirl said:

      Thank you K-bobo! Obviously, the Paleo diet today is not exactly as our Paleolithic ancestors would have eaten, but it’s pretty basic: avoid wheat and all gluten sources, such as rye, barley, and some high carbs like potatoes, eat meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, no processed foods, no refined sugars, and little or no dairy, especially non fermented.. pretty down to basics! 😉 Two really good books, that are not even Paleo, but which I really love are: Wheat Belly and Pandora’s Seed. They explain a lot more of why to eat certain things and avoid others, if you’re interested.

  6. 12.21.12

    Fantastic! I really like the mushrooms 🙂 The cake looks rather delicious too. Merry Christmas!

    • 12.21.12
      thesaffrongirl said:

      Thank you Monica! Merry Christmas to you too.

  7. 12.21.12

    A beautiful looking recipe and can’t believe it’s dairy and gluten free as well as Paleo! Good on you for making a recipe that everyone can enjoy and looks delicious 🙂

    • 12.22.12
      thesaffrongirl said:

      Thank you! Glad you like it. Let me know if you make it! 😉

  8. 12.11.13
    mom2one said:

    I’d love to make this for my son’s French Class! Is it possible to leave out the wine?

    • 12.11.13
      The Saffron Girl said:

      Yes, of course. Just add some liquid to replace it, maybe some non-alcoholic wine or fruit juice. Hope your son’s French class loves it! Debra xx

  9. 12.30.13
    Nancy said:

    Thanks so much for the recipe for the mushrooms. We are making our first ever Buche de Noel, plus on GAPS diet. I am piecing together various recipes I have found online to make it work within our dietary constraints. Will be using your instructions for the mushrooms.

  10. 12.30.13
    Nancy said:

    Such a bummer. The mushrooms, after cooling, wound up hard as a rock and stuck to the baking sheet. Completely not able to be used.