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Christmas Log Cake // 1920s

Picture it: Christmas 1928. Artificial Christmas trees were only just becoming popular, as were the new colourful electric fairy lights (for those with access to electricity), ornate paper decorations were used to brighten up homes and children would gather together knocking on doors carol singing for a few coins each or a steaming mince pie. And when they got home from caroling on a frosty Christmas Eve, they might’ve had one of THESE bad boys waiting for them!.
This Christmas Log recipe, found in our copy of the BestWay Cookery Gift Book (pub. 1928), might look a little different to the Christmas Logs we’re used to today but trust us, it works. A light apricot jam-filled Swiss Roll coated with dark chocolate buttercream icing and decorated with ‘mistletoe’ of candied angelica and blanched almonds… and we don't know about you, but there's something about the way this thing looks. The colours, the decoration... we're definitely getting a '20's Art Deco vibe from this cake.
When you cut into it the slice might appear a little flat, but come on - once you've had a mouthful, who’s complaining? Though with that said, Miss. HD's definitely going to practice her Swiss Roll-ing skills! Onwards & upwards, lol
Original Recipe: 'Christmas Log Cake' (Book 4, 1928)
Speed: 1 hr | Serves: 6-8


  • 3 eggs

  • 113g caster sugar

  • 113g plain flour

  • Some apricot jam (we used about 3 tbsp.)

  • ½ tsp. baking powder

  • 1 tbsp. water

  • 226g icing sugar

  • 113g butter

  • 113g plain (dark) chocolate

  • 2 tbsp. milk

  • 6 blanched almonds

  • 3 inch-long strips of candied angelica or citrus peel



To make the Swiss Roll

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4 before making the sponge as it is essential that the oven is at the right temperature by the time your sponge mixture is ready.

2. Whisk the eggs with the caster sugar until they are light, thick and creamy. Then, mix in the flour and baking powder lightly but quickly, stir in the little water and pour the mixture into a swiss roll tin that has been buttered, lined with baking paper and then buttered again on top of the paper. Spread it evenly over the tin and put it at the top of the oven to bake for about 7 minutes or until it feels 'spongey'.

3. When it's ready, turn the sponge out onto a sheet of baking paper sprinkled with sugar.

4. Warm up the jam in a saucepan set over a low heat for half a minute or so, spread it over the sponge and roll the sponge up.

Making the Icing

5. Break the chocolate into pieces in a heatproof bowl and melt over a pan of boiling water. Once melted, mix in the milk, then cream the butter a little to soften and then add this in.

6. Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl and pour into this the chocolate mixture. Mix well until it forms quite a stiff icing and then fill an icing bag fitted with a large star or rose nozzle.


7. Cut a slanting piece off of the end of the cake and pipe onto this and the other end a spiral of icing to represent the rings of wood in a log. Ice the rest of the cake by forcing on straight lines that are close together until the cake is covered.

8. Decorate the top with the blanched almonds and strips of angelica or candied orange/lemon peel to imitate mistletoe.


Original Recipes for 'Christmas Log Cake'

'BOOK 4': Bestway Cookery Gift Book (Third Book) (1928)

By: Best Way

Publisher: Offices of The 'Best Way' Series (Fleetway House, Farringdon Street, London, E.C.4, England, U.K.)

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