Because I’m a restless cook, never interested in making things I already know how to, a couple years ago I challenged myself to turn my favorite gingerbread cake into a roulade. Or, yes, a Yule log.* Five bottles of molasses, two jars of ground ginger, a gallon of heavy cream, several frantic pleas to friends that I had too much Yule log in my apartment and would they please come take some home, and two Christmases later, stop what you’re doing, you are going to love this.

gingerbread yule log

My goal was a holiday baking project that feels festive, looks a little fancy, but where every step is totally doable. You don’t need to have pre-committed to a life of fussiness to make this. You don’t need an elaborate sprinkle collection, gold leaf, piping bags, or a candy thermometer; we’re not even going to separate eggs. The cake is one-bowl, can be whisked by hand, takes all of 5 minutes to make the batter and 8 minutes to bake it. It rolls, unrolls, and rolls again without cracking — I would never lie to you. The filling is just whipped cream because as tempted as I was to make an eggnog-flavored German buttercream filling, I prefer gingerbread with barely sweetened, slightly tang cream. The cranberries are sugared. And the bark? Wait until I tell you about the bark. [Me, to every friend who I texted with yesterday, despite none of them actually asking me about the bark.]

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