Eggnog Cake


Dec 02

Browned butter spice cake with eggnog buttercream and cinnamon chip ganache.

 

Happy December, everyone! Sorry it’s been a couple weeks since my last post, but I promise this cake is worth the wait.
Now that Thanksgiving is over, I’m ready to move on from apples, sweet potatoes and butternut squash and get to peppermint, candied cranberries, gingerbread, white chocolate and all the flavors that remind me of Christmas.
Last year around this time I made a Chocolate Peppermint Cake, a White Chocolate Cranberry Cake, and a Gingerbread Latte Cake. I loved every single one of them, but decided I needed to try something a little different to kick-off this holiday season. As I was looking around for inspiration, a couple cakes from The Cake Blog (one of my go-to cake resources) caught my attention. The first was this Birch Log Cake. I looked over the tutorial by The Cake Girls on how to make these white chocolate birch pieces and went straight to my kitchen to give it a try. If you follow their instructions exactly, achieving this modern version of the traditional log cake is easier than it looks.

I loved how the birch pieces turned out and decided to use them as decor for the other cake I’ve had my eye on –  this Eggnog Cake by Tessa Huff. I’ve never been a huge fan of eggnog straight out of a cup, but I was drawn to Tessa’s recipe because she only uses the eggnog in the buttercream, which ended up being the perfect balance of eggnog and a great complementary flavor to the browned butter spice cake.

I did make a couple small changes to the Eggnog Cake. I added a little extra flour, an egg and increased the amount of a couple of the spices. And now that I think about it, I probably could have even tried using half eggnog and half milk, instead of just milk. I just might have to make this cake again and give that combination a whirl. Let me know if you try it!
I also didn’t use the vanilla swiss meringue buttercream called for in the original recipe – mostly because I don’t love swiss meringue buttercream. Instead, I doubled the eggnog buttercream and added a cinnamon chip ganache… simply because it’s one of my favorite things and it ended up working so perfectly with this cake!
Enjoy!

Eggnog Cake

Yield 1 3-layer 8-inch cake or 4-layer 6-inch cake

Browned butter spice cake with eggnog buttercream and cinnamon chip ganache.

Ingredients

Browned Butter Spice Cake (adapted from The Cake Blog)

  • 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup browned butter, made ahead and softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup whole milk 

Eggnog Buttercream (adapted from The Cake Blog)

  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 6 tablespoons eggnog
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Cinnamon Chip Ganache

  • 1 cup Hershey's cinnamon baking chips
  • 1/2 heavy whipping cream

Instructions

For the Browned Butter Spice Cake

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the one cup of butter over medium-high heat. Continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until the butter is browned and fragrant. The butter will foam up a bit and there will be bit of browned butter at the bottom of the pan when it's done. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the butter to a heat-safe container. Refrigerate until the consistency of softened butter. (I made my browned butter the night before baking and took it out of the fridge a few hours before I started so it had time to soften).
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray your pans with nonstick spray and line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper rounds. Spray the parchment paper and set aside.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the browned butter until smooth. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar, and increase the speed to medium-high. Beat the butter and sugars for about 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for another 30 seconds.
  5. With the mixer on medium-low, add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until combined in between each addition. Add the vanilla. Mix until incorporated and scrape down the bowl again.
  6. Turn your mixer to low speed. Add the flour mixture alternating with the milk, starting and ending with the flour. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds or until combined.
  7. Using a kitchen scale, evenly distribute the cake batter between the pans. Bake for about 23-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean (mine only took 23 minutes). Let the cakes cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before removing them from the pans to cool completely. Can be individually wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the freezer for up to two weeks.​

For the Eggnog Buttercream

  1. 1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
  2. With the mixer on low, gradually add the remaining ingredients until combined.
  3. Turn the mixer to medium-high and continue to beat the buttercream until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. 

For the Cinnamon Chip Ganache

  1. In a microwave safe bowl or over the stove, heat the cream until simmering. Pour the cream over the cinnamon chips and let sit for about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir the cream and cinnamon chips until smooth and silky. Let cool completely before using. The mixture will thicken up during this time. 

Assembly

  1. After leveling your cakes, paint a dab of frosting on your cake board, and place the first cake layer, bottom-side down, on top.
  2. Cover the first cake layer with some eggnog buttercream, and then drizzle with the cinnamon chip ganache. To make sure the ganache doesn't come out the sides of the came, use your offset icing spatula to create a little barrier around the edge of the cake.
  3. Repeat step 2 with your second (and third if using 6-inch rounds). The final cake layer should be placed bottom-side UP.
  4. Crumb coat your cake. If you feel like the buttercream filling is too soft and the cake doesn't feel stable, freeze the cake for about 15 minutes and then crumb coat. After the crumb coat, freeze the cake for another 10 to 15 minutes before frosting the entire cake.
  5. Use extra cinnamon chip ganache as a drip on top.

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