So I may disapprove of my daughter’s affection for all things pumpkin spice, but I’m all for the newfound obsession with eggnog! So much so that we set off to perfect the Ultimate Eggnog Cake recipe with homemade eggnog buttercream… and by jove, I think we’ve got it!
This delicious eggnog cake involved a lot of trouble-shooting.
Eggnog is incredibly heavy, so it can’t just be substituted out for the milk or buttermilk in a recipe. It has to be delicately finessed into a recipe – a fine balance between too little eggnog to taste and too much eggnog resulting in a dense and heavy brick of a cake.
After several batches, which the kids enjoyed decorating and nibbling on anyways, we eventually landed on two recipes that we really liked – a completely from-scratch version and a modified cake mix variation.
The cake mix version is more reliable if you’re not a regular baker or if you’re baking with kids, since there’s more room for error and less ingredients to forget!
Below, I’m going to share my delicious from-scratch eggnog cake, which is incredibly light and fluffy with a rich and luxurious eggnog buttercream that is just to die for.
I sent it to work with one of my daycare parents and I was getting Facebook notifications within the hour about how it was the best cake some of her co-workers had ever tasted… and people demanding to know where their eggnog cake was.
Sour cream is great for adding moistness to cakes, and though many white cakes rely on egg whites and not whole eggs, I find just using egg whites can result in a tougher cake texture.
I also debated with adding rum or rum extract to this cake and decided not to because I wasn’t sure who’d end up eating it, and as much as it would bake out, any taste of rum is sure to put my kids off.
For the cake mix eggnog cake, simply add eggnog in the place of the milk, add in 1 teaspoon of nutmeg and 1 teaspoon rum extract along with the called for eggs and oil. Follow our baking directions and definitely top it with that from-scratch eggnog buttercream recipe.
Ingredients for Eggnog Cake
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 cup butter, room temperature
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup sour cream
- 6 eggs, room temperature
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cup eggnog
- 1 cup water
Eggnog Buttercream Frosting:
- 2 cups butter
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 10 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup eggnog
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 Tablespoon rum extract, optional
Tip: You can remove the shortening and replace with an equal amount of butter, but I think shortening enhances the taste of Christmas baked goods.
Tip #2: This cake recipe makes a 4 layer cake – if you want less cake, divide the recipe as follows:
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 3/4 cup eggnog
- 1/2 cup water
Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful
- Hand mixer
- 2 large mixing bowls
- Measuring cups and spoons
How to Make X
Preheat oven to 350F and line or grease 4 8″cake pans.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
Add vanilla extract and sour cream, then eggs, beating in between each addition.
In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Set aside.
Thin out the eggnog with the water.
Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until combined. Add eggnog, mix well, then the remaining dry ingredients and beat until smooth.
Divide batter evenly between the four cake pans (I used a measuring cup) and bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
While the cakes are cooling, prepare the eggnog buttercream.
Beat together the butter and shortening.
Add 8 cups of powdered sugar and mix well.
Add the eggnog and nutmeg, mix well, and then adjust with additional powdered sugar.
To assemble, cut the rounded domes off of the cakes to make even layers and sandwich together with 1/2 cups of buttercream.
Frost the whole cake with a crumb coat (a thin layer of buttercream that catches all crumbs) and allow to dry for an hour, before adding a final “outer layer” of frosting.
For a similar decorated effect, spoon the remaining buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a 2D Wilton star tip and make swirls of frosting along the edges of the cake.
The frosting holds up better if refrigerated, so keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
Pin this delicious eggnog cake recipe:
Grab your free printable for our eggnog cake with homemade eggnog buttercream:
Are you a fan of eggnog? Do you have a special occasion coming up that this 4-layer eggnog cake would be perfect for?