This spiced eggnog cake is the perfect homemade cake for Christmas. This recipe makes a rich, moist layer cake, then it’s topped off with eggnog flavored buttercream. This scratch cake is the perfect addition to your holiday table.
Hey there! Before you scroll, there’s lot’s of important stuff in the post!…including the FAQ section, which may answer any questions you might have about this recipe. Enjoy!
This cake is all about Christmas and the holiday season. It really does taste like eggnog.
I couldn’t just stop at making the cake eggnog flavored either. I had to go and make eggnog buttercream as well and it’s SO addicting!
A LOOK AT SOME OF THE INGREDIENTS FOR THE EGGNOG CAKE:
Cake flour: For this cake, you’ll use cake flour instead of all purpose flour. Cake flour just makes a lighter textured cake. It really does make a difference, but if you don’t have it, take a look at the FAQ section below and it’ll explain how to substitute.
Eggnog: Of course an eggnog cake wouldn’t be complete without eggnog, right? I LOVE the brand Southern Comfort for eggnog, but you could probably use any type of spiced eggnog.
Nutmeg & Cinnamon: You’ll add in a bit of nutmeg and cinnamon to bump up the spices. You’ll add this into both the cake and the buttercream.
Vanilla Bean Paste: I LOVE using vanilla bean paste. It gives so much more flavor than vanilla extract. If you can’t get it, no worries. You can always just use vanilla extract.
Rum Extract: You’ll just use a bit of this in both the cake and the buttercream…just enough to give it a hint of flavor, but it really helps get that spiced eggnog taste.
MIXING METHOD FOR THE EGGNOG SPICE CAKE:
For this cake you’ll be using the reverse creaming method. No worries though, it’s really the easiest way to go and the recipe card will explain everything.
Essentially, instead of creaming the sugar and butter together first and then adding in the dry and liquid ingredients alternately, you’ll actually just mix the dry ingredients first, then the liquid ingredients in another bowl. Then you’ll mix in the butter with the dry ingredients until it coats all the flour, then add in the liquid ingredients in two parts.
It may not sound like it, but it really is an easier way to mix a cake, plus you’ll get a very tender cake. The recipe card and video will explain it.
TIPS & FAQs FOR THIS CAKE:
It’s better if you can find cake flour because you’ll get a more tender cake, but if you just can’t get it, then you can use this substitute: For every cup of cake flour called for in the recipe, use one cup of all purpose flour instead and remove two tablespoons of it, then replace that with two tablespoons of cornstarch.
Well the eggnog really makes it an eggnog cake. I haven’t tried this recipe without the eggnog, so I can’t promise a substitution would work. If you’re just looking for a vanilla cake without any eggnog, then you might check out my vanilla bean cake recipe.
Yes. Vanilla bean paste is excellent, but if you can’t get it, just use extract instead. You’ll use the same amount as the vanilla bean paste.
No, but it really helps give the cake and the buttercream a true eggnog taste. It’s not overpowering at all. You won’t say, “Oh I taste the rum extract”. It’s just a hint and gives the cake a more eggnog flavor.
Don’t microwave it. That will heat the butter unevenly and you’ll have hot and cold spots. For the reverse creaming method (which is the mixing method for this cake), you’ll need the butter to be slightly cooler than room temperature. Just take your butter out of the fridge, cut it into chunks and let it sit out for about an hour at room temperature.
Scratch cakes are very particular, so you don’t want to mix the batter for several minutes. That’s too long for a scratch cake. You only want to mix until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
This is a moist cake and it will stick to the pans if you don’t.
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SUPPLIES USED FOR THIS CAKE:
Ok now let’s get to the recipe! Don’t forget to check out the video as well!
**By the way, this recipe was developed and tested using volume measurements (cups etc.). I do this because most people are used to measuring, instead of weighing. You may use the metric converter button to see the weight (gram) measurements. Those numbers are estimates on weight. Your results may vary a bit if you use the weight measurements.
Spiced Eggnog Cake with Eggnog Buttercream
For the cake:
- 3 cups cake flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup butter (slightly cooler than room temp)
- 1 cup eggnog (I used Southern Comfort brand)
- ½ cup milk
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
- 1 teaspoon rum extract
- 3 eggs
For the buttercream:
- 2 cups unsalted butter (room temp.)
- 6 cups confectioner’s sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon rum extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
- 4 tablespoon milk
For the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Grease and flour two 8″ round cake pans.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Whisk well.
- In another bowl, combine the eggnog, milk, oil, vanilla bean paste (or extract), rum extract and eggs. Mix well with a whisk and set aside.
- Cut your almost room temperature butter into chunks. Turn your mixer on low and add in the butter slowly to your dry ingredients. Mix on medium until all the flour is coated with the butter and the mixture is crumbly with a sand-like texture.
- Pour in about a third of the liquid mixture. Mix on low to medium until combined. About 30 seconds.
- Pour in the last of the liquid mixture and mix again until combined. Don’t overmix the batter. You don't want to mix for several minutes. Only mix until the ingredients are well combined.
- Use a rubber spatula and scrape the sides of the bowl. Mix again for only about 10 to 15 seconds.
- Pour into prepared pans and bake for approximately 50-55 minutes.
- Cake layers are done when the sides start pulling away from the pan and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out with a few crumbs still on it.
- Set the cake pans on wire racks to cool for ten minutes, then turn the cakes out onto the racks and let them cool out of the pans completely before adding the buttercream.
For the buttercream
- Cream the butter well with an electric mixer on medium speed.
- Add in three cups of confectioner’s sugar and beat on low until incorporated and then medium until well mixed.
- Add two tablespoons of milk and the last three cups of confectioner’s sugar and beat on low, then on medium until well mixed.
- Add another tablespoon of milk and the vanilla paste or extract, rum extract, nutmeg and salt, then beat on medium until well mixed.
- Now, check the consistency. If it’s too thick, add another tablespoon or two of milk. If it’s too thin, add another cup of confectioner’s sugar.
- Once you reach the consistency desired, beat on medium speed for a minute or two until fluffy.
This cake can be frozen for up to a month if wrapped well in plastic wrap and foil. Nutritional values are an estimate. Make sure to check out the TIPS & FAQs for this recipe in the blog post. *This recipe card may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
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Thanks the recipe. Could I substitute eggnog for the milk in the buttercream? If so, would I leave out the spices in the buttercream?
Also, could this recipe be used for cupcakes, or would the structure not work since it’s cake flour and softer/finer? If it can be used for cupcakes, how much should I fill up the liners, and what would the bake time/temp be? Thanks!
Hi Jana, yes you can use eggnog in place of the milk for the buttercream. It’s much thicker though so you might need to add a little more for the right consistency. You don’t need to leave the spices out though. The amount of eggnog you’ll use won’t flavor it enough.
Also, you can make these as cupcakes. Fill them about half full (maybe just a tad more, but not much more) and bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. Start checking around 20 minutes, but they’ll probably need to bake a little longer.
Am I reading this correctly? 2 cups of butter for the frosting?
Yes, that’s correct. It makes a lot of buttercream.
I followed the recipe to the letter, but my cake came out dry :(….
Oh no, I’m so sorry! I’m not sure what happened. I do know that if it’s baked a little longer, it could turn out dry. Ovens are different, so if you try baking it again, I’d try for a little less time. Be careful with mixing the cake batter as well. Sometimes if it’s mixed a little too long, it can come out dry. Let me know if you try it again. 🙂
Eggnog is seasonal but I just saw your video and it looks so good that I’m sort of obsessed with the idea of making eggnog from scratch. Is it necessary to add alcoholic beverage to it? I don’t drink and would prefer not to. Please give me some input. Thanks
Hi Kat, no the alcohol isn’t necessary. In general, the eggnog you buy at the grocery store doesn’t usually have alcohol included in it…some people just add it later. Eggnog is just the thick cream that’s made that tastes sort of like melted ice cream with some spices. Alcohol is just something that people add to it if they want to, but it’s good by itself. There was no alcohol in the eggnog I used and the rum extract is just to add a bit of that flavor.
I have attempted this cake twice today. Both times the cakes have fallen in the center. I may try again tomorrow, but use the traditional form of mixing instead of reverse. Has anyone else experienced this? The cakes have fallen in the center so much they are useless as a layer. Perhaps cake pops.
Hi Ted, I’m so sorry that this cake keeps falling on you. I haven’t had that happen to me and I’m trying to figure out what must be happening. Feel free to try out the regular creaming method and see if that helps. I do know that if a cake is mixed a bit too long, it will fall or if it’s taken out a little too soon, it can fall. Also, make sure that the baking powder is still in date as that can make a difference, but I’m sure you already know that. Let me know if you try it out again. This recipe is very similar to lots of other cake recipes on the site that have worked out for me a number of times, so I’m just not sure what could be happening. Also, did the cake fall during the baking process or after it was pulled out of the oven? If it was after, the cake may just need to be baked a little longer. Our ovens are all so different, so it may just need a little longer, but check it with a toothpick.
One more quick thing to note that I just thought of…I’ve found it’s best that the butter be just slightly cooler than room temperature. If it’s too warm, then when it’s mixed with the dry ingredients, it can form almost a paste consistency instead of a sandlike texture and this can alter the texture of the cake and could potentially make it fall.
Let me know if you try again and what happened.
This cake is DELICIOUS!! My husband hates Eggnog and won’t drink it but he ate this cake and raved over it. Very easy to bake and was a hit for sure. I bake and sell items out of my home and I bake I Scream for Buttercream recipes everyday and my customers love them. I’ve never run across a recipe that wasn’t delicious or didn’t work out for me. Thanks Kara for thorough instructions, videos and great tips.
Thanks, Robin! So glad you loved this one. 🙂