Saturday, December 3, 2011

Eggnog Spice Cake with Rum Buttercream Meringue Frosting

Now that Thanksgiving is over, I can shamelessly put myself in Christmas mode.  And eggnog might as well be the official drink of Christmas.  I love the idea of eggnog, but I don't like actually drinking it.  I'm a skim milk drinker, and eggnog is like drinking melted ice cream.  But when I saw a carton of the festive beverage at the grocery store this week, I couldn't help but buy it. 

Although I'm probably not going to sit down and sip a glass of the stuff, I love the flavors or eggnog.  So I set out to find a way to enjoy the taste without having to choke down the drink.  What I came up with was a standard spice cake, but with a few adjustments to make it more eggnog-y.  

I debated with myself for awhile about what kind of frosting to make.  I considered a powdered sugar and eggnog mix frosting, but decided on a meringue-style buttercream.  Instead of incorporating eggnog into the frosting, I used the frosting as an opportunity to increase the rum flavor.  The generous amount of butter in the frosting is similar to the richness of drinking a glass of eggnog, but I think it is yummier.  And I added a bit of nutmeg to the frosting to compliment the nutmeg found in eggnog.  
I love this cake!  I think I succeeded in recreating the flavor of the classic beverage, but in cake form.  The cake is pretty dense, but delicious.  I refrigerated the leftovers due to the frosting and reheated it the next day.  In the words of my husband, the cake was "super good" served warm.  

As with most homemade cakes, this was really easy.  Start by beating the shortening and brown sugar until the mixture is smooth.

While that's happening, sift together the flour and spices.

Add the wet ingredients.
Then gradually mix in the dry ingredients until combined.
Then pour into a greased pan and bake.  Warning: your house will smell amazing while this is baking.  This may cause feelings of Christmas joy.

The frosting recipe was adapted from Cook's Illustrated.  I was a little intimidated by it at first, but it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  And it is so good!  Just get some water simmering in a pan and put your bowl of egg whites, sugar, and salt over it.  
Whisk for a few minutes until it is foamy and reaches 150 degrees.  
Then move the bowl to a stand mixer and beat 1-2 minutes until it looks like shaving cream.
Then add the butter.  I enjoyed throwing in the chunks of butter, but I'm easily entertained! 
Then add the rum extract and beat until you have a delicious, creamy, frosting.
Spread the frosting over the cake.  Duh!  Sprinkle your frosted cake with some extra nutmeg as a garnish if you want.  I thought it was pretty!
If you are feeling really bold, have a slice of cake with a cup of eggnog.  I can't guarantee your pants will fit the next day, but if you like eggnog it would probably be worth it!

Eggnog Spice Cake
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp rum
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup eggnog
1 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8x8-inch baking pan or round cake pan. 
Sift together salt, cloves, cinnamon, and flour; reserve.
Cream shortening and brown sugar until smooth.  Beat in egg, rum, and vanilla.  Mix in eggnog.  Gradually add in the flour mixture until combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.

Rum Buttercream Meringue Frosting
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, salted and cut into 1-Tablespoon pieces
1/2 tsp rum extract
Combine sugar, egg whites, and salt in bowl of stand mixer.  Place bowl over pan of simmering water.  Whisking gently but constantly, heat mixture  until slightly thickened, foamy, and registers 150 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 2-3 minutes.
Place bowl in stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment.  Beat mixture on medium speed until consistency of shaving cream and slightly cooled, 1-2 minutes.  Add butter, 1 piece at a time, until smooth and creamy.  
Once all butter is added, add rum extract; mix until combined.  
Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy and thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds.


  1. Rum Buttercream? You are my bff. That sounds divine!

  2. Confession: some of the frosting didn't make it to the cake. Oops!

  3. Oh's a good thing the cake was tucked safely in the oven BEFORE I licked the spoon! Otherwise, I would have been tempted to splash a little more rum in and turn it into a cake batter "smoothie"! ;0) I can hardly wait to take it out of the oven and get the frosting on--the batter tastes AWESOME!! I'll keep you posted IF I decide to share it with the rest of the family. Muwahaha!!

  4. Okay, I played nice and shared my cake. Rowdie doesn't eat cake (he has a weird cake thing and won't even TRY any kind of cake) but Kale and Jeff gave it a TWO THUMBS UP! I did add 1/2 cup of walnuts to mine, and since I can't find my candy thermometer, I just used cream cheese frosting. It was still a big success. Thanks Amber!

  5. Tell Rowdie I am disappointed in him! I am sure this would be great with cream cheese frosting. You could even put some rum extract in the cream cheese frosting to make it more festive. Or just drink some rum! Yum!