Countdown to Christmas: 3 days. If you’re one of those type-A holiday overachievers, all of your presents are ready and wrapped, the whole menu is planned and the grocery shopping is done. Multiple batches of cookies are tucked away in tins, you’ve decorated an entire gingerbread village and you’re putting the final meringue mushrooms on a painstakingly detailed homemade Bûche de Noël. Your Christmas spread is not complete without this lifelike log of sponge cake and buttercream, a French holiday classic.
And for the rest of us…good news. If you’re up for it, there’s still time to tackle a Bûche de Noël—just don’t stress too much about the décor. Bobby Flay is not a pastry chef either, but he made a delicious Bûche for an episode of Food Network’s Throwdown and kept the décor nice and simple. Dust yours with lots of “snow” (i.e., powdered sugar) to cover any imperfections.
Then again, there’s no shame in going the bakery route. Many Bûche de Noël are shockingly expensive and need to be pre-ordered, but check out these cute little gems from Ceci-Cela, a charming French bakery in New York. They’re individual-size and cost $6. You could also follow their lead and fashion mini logs yourself. If you step up and make your own, these tiny Santa toppers are a fun, festive and effortless touch. Pick some up at a party store if those meringue mushrooms aren’t looking so great.