Allergy-Friendly Holiday Yule Log

Photo: Jodi Pudge

A modern twist on a classic holiday dessert, this Buche de Noel boasts a simple and sleek decoration.  The chocolate and espresso of the buttercream pair perfectly with the cake’s seasonal pumpkin and cinnamon, creating a sublime flavor combination. Bonus: this cake can be made almost to completion up to 1 month in advance!

Makes: one 10-inch cake roll
Free of: gluten and all top allergens



  • 1 cup Cat’s GF Flour Blend, plus additional for the cake pan (See recipe below)
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 3 flax eggs  (See egg replacer note at end of recipe) or 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar for rolling the cake

Mocha Espresso Buttercream

  • 1 1/2 cups softened dairy-free, soy-free margarine (such as Earth Balance)
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 tsp unsweetened canned *coconut milk or non-dairy milk of choice

Recipe Tips

*A Note on Coconut       Coconut is technically a fruit. While most allergists do not consider it a tree nut, if you are nut allergic, ask your doctor if coconut is safe for you.


  1. For the cake, preheat oven to 375° F and lightly grease an 13×18-inch jelly roll pan with allergy-friendly cooking spray and line it with parchment paper. Lightly grease the paper and then sprinkle with extra flour. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine flour blend, sugar, cinnamon, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix on low to combine well.
  3. Add eggs and pumpkin puree, and beat on medium for 1 minute until well blended.
  4. Pour batter, which will be thin, into prepared pan and spread into an even layer with an offset spatula or back of a spoon. Bang pan firmly on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake for 15 minutes or until top springs back when touched. Do not underbake.
  5. While cake is baking, spread a kitchen towel on your counter and sprinkle it with confectioners’ sugar. Once cake is done, immediately turn it out onto towel. Peel away  parchment paper and align cake so the long edge is facing you. Using towel to help, roll the cake up with towel inside (don’t worry, you’ll remove later!). Set aside until cooled completely.

Buttercream Filling & Icing 

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat margarine on high speed 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar and cocoa, covering your bowl with a towel to avoid a sugar storm, and beat on low for 1 minute. Add vanilla and mix on low 1 minute.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together espresso powder and milk to form a smooth paste. Add espresso paste to buttercream mixture and beat on medium for 30 seconds or until whipped and smooth.
  3. Gently unroll cooled cake, remove towel, and spread 2/3 of buttercream evenly over it, leaving a 1-inch gap around edge. Reroll filled cake, cover tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hour or overnight.
  4. Once chilled, remove plastic wrap from your roll, place on a platter, and cut off ragged ends. Ice cake with remaining buttercream, completely covering it. Use the tip of a spoon or butter knife to drag tree bark-like grooves down the “log”. Keep cake loosely wrapped at room temperature for up to 1 day.
Cat Ruehle’s Gluten-Free Flour Blend

Makes: 4 cups

  • 2 cups sweet sorghum flour
  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 1 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
  1. In a large bowl, whisk the flours and potato starch together until well combined.
  2. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place up to 1 month. For longer storage, keep in the refrigerator up to 6 months or in the freezer up to 1 year. Before using, bring to room temperature. Just before measuring, whisk the flour blend to aerate. Sifting is not necessary if you whisk.

Flax Egg Replacer
This replaces one egg; multiply ingredients accordingly

  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 2 tbsp water

In a glass measuring cup, whisk together the ground flaxseed and water. Set aside for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened and become fluffy. Add the flax eggs to wet ingredients in your recipe and mix well.

To Make Ahead

You may freeze the filled and rolled cake, as well as the remaining icing, for up to 1 month. The night before you plan to finish the cake, transter the cake and icing to the countertop to thaw. Re-beat the buttercream, then ice cake.

is a pastry chef and the author of the best-selling Let Us All Eat cake: Gluten-Free Recipes for Everyone's Favorite Cakes (Ten Speed Press). Find more recipes from Catherine Ruehle at