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Eggnog Cake

There’s no good reason that holiday desserts usually come in the form of pies and cookies, not cake. Featuring the iconic flavor of eggnog, no one will question your choice to serve this beauty.

When all the dinner plates are cleared and the guests are conversing at the table, you know they’re eager to see what’s coming out for dessert. Imagine the look on their faces when you present this two-layer showstopper topped with tons of billowy frosting. What’s really special, though, is the warm taste of eggnog in each bite, thanks to store-bought eggnog plus a little extra nutmeg. If you like your eggnog with a splash of bourbon, don’t worry — the buttermilk frosting recipe has that part covered.


16 servings

Total Time

45 minutes + cooling

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Test Kitchen Tip

Find prepared eggnog in the refrigerated dairy case. For the best texture and flavor, allow the cake to come to room temperature before serving.


Preheat oven to 350°. Coat two 9-inch-round cake pans with nonstick spray, line bottoms with parchment, and coat again with nonstick spray.

For the cake, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Whisk together eggs, ½ cup eggnog, and vanilla in a separate bowl.

Add butter and remaining ½ cup eggnog to flour mixture and cream on medium speed, with the paddle attachment, until batter is light and airy, about 2 minutes.

Add egg mixture to batter in three additions, blending well after each.

Divide batter between prepared pans; smooth tops.

Bake cakes until a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cakes cool in pans on a rack, 15 minutes; turn cakes out onto rack to cool completely.

For the buttercream, combine sugar and water in a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until syrup reaches 245°, then remove from heat.

Meanwhile, whip egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment on high speed until color lightens, about 5 minutes; turn off beater.

When syrup reaches 245°, immediately pour about 2 Tbsp. syrup into yolks; beat on high speed until thoroughly combined. Continue adding syrup slowly, beating until all the syrup is combined and sides of bowl cool to room temperature.

Add butter to yolk mixture, 1 Tbsp. at a time, blending well after each addition. Buttercream may appear curdled, but continue beating and it will smooth out once all the butter is added. Beat in bourbon and nutmeg.

Assemble cake by placing one cake layer on a serving platter. Spread some buttercream on top of cake and out to edge; top with second cake layer. Spread remaining buttercream on top and sides of cake. Store cake in the refrigerator; serve at room temperature.

MAKE-AHEAD DIRECTIONS: The unassembled cake layers can be frozen up to 1 month. After baking, completely cool the cakes. Tightly wrap each layer in plastic wrap to freeze. When ready to assemble the cake, thaw layers in the refrigerator; make buttercream and spread on cake layers.


For a lighter, fluffier buttercream, whip the egg yolks to incorporate air, about 5 minutes.


Temper the whipped yolks for the buttercream by adding the hot sugar syrup little by little.


To form a smooth buttercream, the butter must be a bit softer than it is at room temperature.

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