Sometimes you come across a recipe that sounds amazing but when you go to make it, it falls short of your expectations. This is one of those recipes for me. The original had 4 layers, and nice Bourbon custard filling, and an eggnog buttercream frosting.
First, there was no way it could ever make 4 layers. I barely got 3 out of the original recipe. The custard came out so thick I had a hard time spreading it on the cake without tearing the layers to pieces. And I’m not a fan of buttercream so I went with a cream cheese frosting instead. So I turned to Google, looked up a couple of other eggnog cake recipes, and cobbled this one together. Had to make it a couple of times until it came out the way I wanted. Enjoy!
Bourbon Eggnog Cake
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/8 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 4 large egg yolks (keep the whites)
- 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp. Bourbon
Bourbon Eggnog Cake:
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
- 1 tsp real vanilla
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 6 egg whites (4 from the custard)
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp nutmeg
- 3/4 cup eggnog
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tbsp. Bourbon
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
Eggnog Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1 lbs cream cheese (16 oz), at room temp
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temp
- 3 tbsp. eggnog
- 3 tbsp. bourbon
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
In a medium pot, I like to use my Le Creuset Dutch oven, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add in the half-and-half and egg yokes. Whisk to combine. Cook over medium heat (whisking constantly) until it starts to bubble, about 7 or 8 minutes. Cook for another minute or two. It will get thick but keep cooking until it seem impossibly thick. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, 1 tbsp. at a time until melted and smooth. Whisk in the Bourbon. Transfer to a medium bowl and place plastic wrap directly on top of the custard. This will prevent a skin from forming. Allow to cool for about 30 minutes and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Preheat your oven to 350°. Spray 3 round cake pans with non-stick spray, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and spray the parchment paper with the non-stick spray as well.*
In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add in the sour cream and beat until light and fluffy again.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt.
Combine the eggnog, milk, Bourbon, and vanilla in a measuring cup.
On medium-low, add in the egg whites one at a time. Beat until combined and the batter is smooth. Add in half of the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Add in half the eggnog mixture and beat until just combined. Repeat.
Divide the batter evenly between the 3 cake pans. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean. Allow to cool completely.
In a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy. Turn down the mixer to low and slowly add in the eggnog and bourbon, beat until well combined. Add in the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time and beat until smooth and all of the powdered sugar is well incorporated. Then turn up to high and beat until smooth and fluffy. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Assemble the cake. Take 1 cake and put it on a cake plate. Evenly smear the top with 1/2 the Bourbon custard. This is easier if you take it out of the refrigerator about 20 minutes before had to allow it to warm up slightly. Place the 2nd cake on top and smear it with the rest of the custard. Now frost it with the cream cheese frosting. I grated some fresh nutmeg on top of mine to make it look nice. Eat it.
*I have always had issues with my cakes being domed, meaning the middle of the cake was always higher than the sides. A total pain when frosting as the top was never even. Then it came to my attention that you can actually prevent this by using bake-even strips. They’re basically oven proof strips of material that you soak in water before using and then they wrap around the outside of the cake pan. Works like a charm! You can find them on Amazon, of course: Wilton Bake-Even cake strips.