French cuisine is widely regarded as one of the best in the world, and the traditional Christmas dessert Bûche de Noël lives up to the hype. This Yule log-shaped cake isn't just friendly to the taste buds -- the many extravagant, edible decorations it's topped with make it visually pleasing as well.
Rumor has it that the dessert was created during the time of Napoleon I, when the ruler ordered chimneys kept closed to prevent cold from seeping into homes and causing illness. Christmas revelers, who traditionally gathered around a warm hearth to celebrate the season, opted instead to congregate around a tasty Yule log-shaped cake, which evolved into the beautifully decorated Bûche de Noël that so many people enjoy today [source: Andronico's].
Many experts emphasize that the dessert, which is a log-shaped roulade sponge cake filled with pastry cream and topped with buttercream frosting, doesn't have to be intricately decorated to be an authentic rendition of the classic. Adventurous bakers who wish to try their hand at edible art traditionally adorn the cake with meringue or marzipan mushrooms, moss made of spun sugar and other sweet decorations fashioned to convey a woodland scene. Less experienced chefs might want to start with this Bûche de Noël recipe. Those who enjoy this picturesque and delicious dessert appreciate its visual appeal so much that they almost feel badly about eating it -- almost.