The Solstice is nearly upon us and it's the perfect time to create your own Yule Log! This ancient pagan European tradition that combines representations of the God and Goddess and the celebration and return of the Sun....and they are so easy to make!
In the Celtic tradition, they would use a log of oak as a representation of the Horned God but feel free to use the type of wood that speaks to you! Here are a few of the traditional correspondences from Earth Witchery:
Ash -- brings protection, prosperity, and health
Aspen -- invokes understanding of the grand design
Birch -- signifies new beginnings
Holly -- inspires visions and reveals past lives
Oak -- brings healing, strength, and wisdom
Pine -- signifies prosperity and growth
Willow -- invokes the Goddess to achieve desires
To make a Yule log that you will burn, gather your chosen wood, burnable ribbons, holly, mistletoe, and any evergreen branches you'd like to affix. Dress your log as you see fit and burn with your intention on Solstice night, Christmas or whichever day feels right for you.
If burning the log is not an option, you can create a mini version that you can burn in a cauldron or on a fire-proof surface. Or you can place three candles in or on your log to represent the Light. Drill 3 evenly spaced holes the size of your candles and place the candles securely into your log. Instead of burning the log, simply light your candles with intention.
May the log burn,
May the wheel turn,
May evil spurn,
May the Sun return.
The ashes of the yule log or spent wax from candles are tied up in a cloth for the entire year as a charm for protection, fertility, strength, and health.
You may have also seen many versions of the Yule log as food-craft over the years, here are a couple of our favorite recipes!
HERB CHEESE YULE LOG
2 - 8oz packages Cream Cheese
1 - 2 Tablespoons minced herbs (fresh or dried) Some great options are: Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Marjoram, Winter Savory, Chives, etc.
*Optional: Chopped Almonds, Walnuts, Pecans, etc. as desired.
Just a sprinkle of Paprika
Mix cream cheese with minced herbs. Roll into log shape (greasing your hands helps!). Toast nuts and chop finely. Roll log in nuts until it's covered, then dust with paprika. Refrigerate several hours before eating to allow flavors to meld.
YULE LOG CAKE (Find a delicious vegan version here)
1 cup cake flour
1-1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbl cocoa
1/3 cup boiling water
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup whipping cream
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
CAKE: combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, combine cocoa, water, and vanilla, whisking until smooth. In a large bowl, cream butter and shortening. Gradually beat in the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until mixture is light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
Beginning with the butter and egg mixture, alternately beat in the flour mixture and buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Beat in cocoa mixture until smooth.
In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat the remaining 2 Tbl. sugar until mixture is stiff. Fold 1/4 of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture. Carefully fold in the remaining egg white mixture. Pour the batter into a greased and floured 15X10X1 inch foil-lined jelly roll pan. Smooth top with a spatula. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until the cake is slightly puffed and just begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cake will be underdone. Place on wire rack to cool.
FILLING: beat cream, sugar, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until stiff peaks form. Using a knife, loosen the cake from the edges of the pan. Place a second jelly roll pan on top of the first pan and invert cake on to top of the second pan. Peel off foil. Invert cake again so it is right side up. Spread the cream filling over the cake, leaving a one-inch border around the edges of the cake. Beginning with one long edge, roll up the cake. Wrap the cake tightly with aluminum foil and freeze overnight.
GLAZE: melt chocolate chips in the top of a double-broiler over warm water. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Beat in butter and cream. Allow mixture to sit at room temperature until slightly thickened. Remove cake from freezer and unwrap. Place cake, seam side down, on a wire rack placed over wax paper. Pour the glaze over the cake -- spread evenly over tops and sides. Transfer to serving platter. Use a fork to make the "bark." Refrigerate until served. Prior to serving, sprinkle confectioner's sugar on top to simulate snow and top with a sprig of holly.