Eggnog Spice Cake

by Jaclyn Fishman on December 18, 2012

in All Recipes, Desserts, Holiday

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One of our favorite food bloggers, Jaclyn Fishman of Food Plus Words, is a busy lady.  She recently graduated culinary school and then up and moved from Florida to our own Boston, Massachusetts for graduate school studying Gastronomy.  She has been living a nomadic life, moving four times since arriving to Boston and will finally settle in a two bedroom apartment in days! Despite her hectic schedule, she found time to share this delicious eggnog cake that is sure to become a holiday favorite. We love eggnog, we love booze, we love cake… please leave some love for Jaclyn in the comments. -Maggie

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For the past few months, I haven’t had the space, nor the free time to do some of the things that mean the most to me: cooking, writing and photographing delicious things for my blog. They say that the key to success in blogging is frequency, so I’d say I have a bit of catching up to do, considering the last time I was able to update my site was in June. Yikes.

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To get myself “unstuck” from this blogging rut, I jumped at the chance to contribute to Eat Boutique and share a recipe for an eggnog spice layer cake with a bourbon-infused eggnog buttercream. This cake is the perfect project to stretch over a lazy weekend afternoon while wrapping presents or writing out holiday cards in between baking and frosting. That reminds me, I really should get started on my holiday shopping. Might want to mail out of some of those cards, too.

One of my favorite holiday traditions is making my own homemade eggnog. It’s a simple and satisfying process, quite similar to making ice cream, really. I’ve detailed the process on my own website, and included some of my favorite flavor variations on the classic.

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My homemade eggnog is rich and impossibly thick, its subtle sweetness balanced on the acerbic edge of a healthy dose of bourbon. You can use store-bought eggnog for this cake by all means, but if you have the time, you should try your hand at the homemade version. It’s the tiniest bit perfect.

The cake itself is boldly spiced, but not overwhelmingly so. The eggnog in the batter tames the mélange of spices a bit, creating a cake with a tender crumb and a lovely flavor. The bourbon eggnog buttercream is, in a word, divine. I may or may not have eaten a few spoonfuls of it straight from the mixing bowl. No shame.

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I’ve given options in this recipe to make the cake gluten-free, since I recently discovered that I myself am gluten intolerant. It’s not exactly the kind of news a baker welcomes, but I’ve been adapting, and teaching myself to make gluten-free baked goods that taste downright delicious. It has become a new obsession of mine.

I hope your holiday season is beautiful and bright, and that you spend time with the people you can’t get enough of. After all, it’s the most wonderful time of the year–we might as well enjoy it, right?

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Eggnog Spice Cake

Cake recipe adapted from Food and Wine magazine

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (if making gluten-free, substitute GF all-purpose flour)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum (omit if not making gluten-free)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup eggnog, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups pure cane sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature

For the Bourbon Eggnog Buttercream:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup natural cane sugar
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed (cube it while cold, then let it get soft)
  • 2 teaspoons bourbon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1⁄4 cup eggnog

Directions:

For the Eggnog Spice Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, with a rack in the center of the oven. Butter two 7-inch round cake pans and dust with flour, tapping out the excess.
  2. Using a fine mesh sieve, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, salt into a medium bowl. If making a gluten-free cake, add the xanthan gum and set aside.
  3. Combine the eggnog and vanilla in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment fitted on, combine the butter and sugar. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Turn the mixer off and scrape down the sides of the bowl using a silicone spatula.
  6. With the mixer on low, add the eggs one at a time until incorporated.
  7. Turn the mixer off and scrape down the sides of the bowl using a silicone spatula.
  8. With the mixer on low, alternately add the dry ingredients and the eggnog/vanilla liquid to the mixer bowl, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
  9. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the bottom to ensure all ingredients are incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes, or until the center of the cake springs back when lightly touched, or a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack and placing the cakes face up to cool completely.
  12. When the cakes are completely cool, slice the domed tops off each one. Using a serrated knife, cut each cake in half so you end up with four equal layers.

For the Bourbon Eggnog Buttercream:

  1. Place a small saucepan with about 2 inches of water on the stove over medium-high heat. In a metal or glass bowl, whisk together the egg whites and sugar.
  2. Place the bowl over the saucepan to create a double boiler, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Whisk the egg whites and sugar constantly until the mixture reaches 145 degrees F and does not feel grainy any longer.
  3. Transfer to the bowl of stand mixer with the whisk attachment on. Whip the egg white mixture on medium for about 5-10 minutes, or until the meringue is light and fluffy, and the bottom of the stand mixer bowl doesn’t feel warm.
  4. Add the butter, one or two cubes at a time, about 10-15 seconds apart, stopping every so often to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  5. After all the butter is added, the mixture may look slightly curdled or watery, but let the mixer keep working. the buttercream will magically become soft, smooth and fluffy!
  6. Turn the mixer off, and add the eggnog, bourbon and nutmeg. Turn the mixer on low for 10-15 seconds, then increase to high and mix until combined and fluffy.
  7. Turn the mixer off and give the buttercream a mix with a rubber spatula. It’s ready to use!

Assembling the Cake:

  1. Add a small quarter-sized dollop of buttercream to a cardboard cake round or directly onto your serving plate/cake stand, and add the first cake layer.
  2. Place about 3-4 tablespoons of buttercream on top of the layer and spread evenly in a single layer using a small offset spatula or butter knife.
  3. Repeat with the remaining layers until all layers are on the cake.
  4. Place about 1/2-3/4 cup of the buttercream on top of the cake and spread the frosting in smooth, even strokes across the top and over the sides.
  5. Spread the buttercream all the way to the bottom of the cake, and smooth the sides and top with your spatula.
  6. Add sprinkles or a simple grating of nutmeg on top of the cake. Chill the cake in the fridge for 15 minutes in the fridge before slicing and serving. The cake will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.

All photos styled and taken by Jaclyn Fishman.

Eat Boutique discovers the best small batch foods by boutique food makers. We share recipes, maker stories and city guides to eating boutique. We host tasting events and markets for food makers, cookbook authors and food fans. We craft seasonal, regional gift and tasting boxes and sell individual items that you can order in our new shop.

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  • Jennifer Battista

    This looks beautiful & delicious!

  • lauren

    i grew up drinking eggnog for Christmas dessert. We never had an eggnog cake this gorgeous. new tradition for me to start!

  • Stee

    The link to your website for the egg nog recipes does not work. Can you please update the link or add the egg nog recipe to this blog post? Thank you. Welcome to Boston!

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