Chocolate Log Cake with Chocolate and Vanilla Buttercream Frosting: #95 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

My mom makes a chocolate log cake every year for Christmas. This year we had our own smaller family get-together with the kids so I thought it would be fun to make our own chocolate log. The girls decorated it with a Disney Frozen character theme in honor of one of their favorite movies. There are lots of pictures in this recipe – it has a bunch of steps but it’s not hard to make. Super scrumptious, it disappeared in 2 days.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($24 total for a 10-slice log)

4 eggs, separated into whites and yolks – $1.16
1 tsp cream of tartar – $0.28
1/2 cup + 1/4 cup sugar – $0.66
3/4 cup flour – $0.12
1/4 tsp salt – $0.02
1/2 tsp baking powder – $0.01
1/3 cup cocoa – $0.36
1/4 cup water – free
1/2 cup icing sugar – $0.44

2 tubs whipped topping (like Cool Whip or Truwhip) – $5.98

1 1/2 cups butter or margarine – $3.72
1 cup cocoa – $1.10
5 cups icing sugar – $4.40
1/2 cup milk or soy milk – $0.19
2 tsp vanilla – $0.40

1 cup butter or margarine – $1.24
4 cups icing sugar – $3.52
2 tsp milk or soy milk – $0.05
3 tsp vanilla – $0.60


1. Make the frostings (this can be done ahead of time and frozen): in a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high, whip the butter (or butter + cocoa if making chocolate). Add in half of the icing sugar, followed by half the soy milk, and mix again. Add the remaining icing sugar and soy milk, plus the vanilla, and mix again. If it seems too dry, add 1 tsp more soy milk at a time until it’s just right for piping. You don’t want it to be too runny or dripping off a spoon.

2. Make the cake: in a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Then gradually add in 1/2 cup sugar while continuing to mix, beating until stiff peaks form. 

In a medium bowl on medium speed, beat the egg yolks for about 3 minutes. Then gradually add in 1/4 cup sugar and beat 2 more minutes until the mixture is light and creamy.

In another large bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Add the egg yolk mixture to the dry ingredients, beating on low speed just until batter is smooth. Add up to 1/4 cup water if needed for batter smoothness. Then fold in the beaten egg whites gently with a spatula until well blended. 

Spread batter evenly in a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. 

Bake at 375F for 12-15 minutes until the top springs back when lightly touched in the center. Immediately loosen cake if it’s attached to the edges of the pan, and invert onto a clean kitchen towel sprinkled with 1/2 cup icing sugar. Carefully peel off the parchment paper and trim any crispy edges. 

Roll the cake and the towel together, and place on a wire rack to cool completely. If you’re not using it right away, wrap tightly in cling wrap and use when needed.

3. Carefully unroll the cake (if it was in the fridge, let it come back to room temperature first), then spread 1 1/2 tubs worth of whipped topping over the non-icing-sugar side. Roll it gently starting from one of the short sides, rolling the whipped topping into the cake down the whole long side of the cake. 

Transfer the log to a serving dish and use a knife to cover the cake with chocolate frosting. 

Use a piping bag and metal tip to add little stars of white frosting on top to make whatever snow-covered-log decorations you like. Refrigerate for a bit to firm up the frosting before adding more decorations.

4. Add characters, sprinkles, and/or icing sugar dusted over top to create your desired decorative effect. Take out of the fridge about 1/2 hour before serving to bring up to room temperature. Slice and enjoy!! 

Leftovers keep well in the fridge covered in cling wrap. I put some toothpicks sticking out of the cake when covering it so the cling wrap doesn’t smudge up the frosting.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings:  3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 1 = eat rarely
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

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