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Easy Mini-Holiday Yule Log with Axe Topper

I was inspired to make a mini- and fast version of this funny Yuletide Log w/ Axe Topper after seeing the larger one by Gesine Bullock-Prado on the Food Network (next photo).

It would make a great centerpiece, dessert or just art. :)

I have been interested in learning about roll cakes, which are thin cakes that have a filling and are rolled to form a spiral. There are many different artistic designs you can do with roll cakes and I even saw one where they piped Van Gogh's "Starry Night" on to a roll cake. So cool!


Many traditional Yuletide Log recipes are roll cakes, so when I was researching roll cakes, this one with the axe topper came up.

I liked this Yuletide Log cake because the axe was something I hadn't seen before and I liked how it seemed to defy gravity -- the tree stumps and axe are kind of topsy-turvy.

Funny enough, this Yuletide Log actually isn't a roll cake. It is three 6" cakes stacked on top of each other with a gingerbread axe.


I did a holiday setup, but this Yuletide Log with the Axe Topper could also be made spooky or gruesome for Halloween or you can add some little pumpkin candies and other harvest items for an autumnal setup. Or if you just have an outdoorsy or lumberjack theme party. :)

She makes her own cakes and her own gingerbread. I was more interested in the design part, so I used cake mix and pre-made cookie dough.

Note: It probably takes 20 min. to do everything if you buy pre-made cupcakes or cake, and then you would get to do more of the fun part: decorating. I do recommend that you bake cookies either from your own recipe or from the pre-made cookie dough like I did, so that you can carve out the axe shape really well. It is hard to carve store bought cookies that are already baked.



- 3 cupcakes (you can make them or store-bought cupcakes)

- I think it would work well with brownies also, which may be more structurally stable.

- Pillsbury cookie dough (whatever flavor your like**) or your own homemade cookie dough

** However chocolate cookie dough may be hard to distinguish from the tree stumps if you use chocolate frosting.

- Chocolate frosting

- Optional for decorating:

- Axe: Silver edible glitter spray and brown food coloring to paint the axe handle

- Snow: Shredded Coconut

- Pine Trees: Fresh Rosemary

- I added a gelatin reddish flower I had around which looked like a poinsettia flower. Fresh cranberries or pomegranate seeds would look nice too. Btw, if you just need a few, there are pomegranate seeds at the salad bar usually.

Equipment: Oven, muffin pan, cupcake cups (just so it's cleaner for you), oven-safe tray, knife, plate. Optional: straws or lollipop sticks to use as dowels for structural support in stacking the tree stumps.

Steps / Instructions:

1.) Make the cupcakes from cake mix in the muffin pan with the cupcake cups. Obviously, skip this step if you bought the cupcakes. :)

-- I purposely handmixed the batter to try to make it a slightly denser, more structurally stable cake (vs. using an electric mixer). As I've noted before, there is a difference when you hand-mix vs. using an electric mixer (which makes a slightly lighter and fluffier cake). You can use the different techniques to your advantage depending on your recipe or project.

2.) Take some pieces of Pillsbury cookie dough and shape them into axes and then bake at 350 degrees.

-- The cake mix also bakes at 350 degrees, so that worked out well.

3.) Right when you take the cookies out of the oven when they are still hot and still soft, carefully use a butterknife to carve out a better shape of an axe. (The baking sheet is still hot.)

-- Save the cookie scraps -- you will use these to form the tree rings on the stumps.

-- You can see the cookies spread in the oven and it looks like an axe blob. You can fix this and carve a better axe. You have to sculpt them right after they come out of the oven before they harden. I figured this out when I came up with the "Fun 3-D Turkey Brookie".


4.) When the cupcakes are done, take them out and allow them to cool completely before putting it all together.

6.) When the cupcakes have cooled, take 3 cupcakes and carve off the cupcake top and part of the cupcake until you get a tree stump (~1" or 1 1/2" tall).

7.) Stack the 3 cupcakes, so they are in a zig zag topsy-turvy formation as in the picture.

-- You can use straws of lollipop sticks and stick them in for structural support.

-- Or if you think 3 cupcakes will topple over, only use 2 or 1.

8.) In the top cupcake, make a shallow slit where the axe will go.

9.) Frost the cupcakes with chocolate frosting and then re-stack them.

10.) Decorate the axe if you want.

-- I painted some brown food coloring on the axe handle and sprayed some silve edible glitter. You can leave it undecorated if you want.

11.) Add the axe to the top cupcake.

12.) Add the cookie scraps to the top of the stumps for the tree rings.

13.) Optional decorations for the display: Add shredded coconut (snow) and fresh rosemary (pie trees).

- I added a gelatin reddish flower I had around which looked like a poinsettia flower.. Fresh cranberries or pomegranate seeds would look nice too. Btw, if you just need a few, there are pomegranate seeds at the salad bar usually.

14.) Display you art or eat it! :)

That's it! Give it a try! We are good at this!

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