Eggnog is an admittedly strange thing and certainly an acquired taste—especially when we’re talking about the almost fluorescent off-white store-bought chemical syrup that passes for the real deal in most households, including mine. But after a certain number of Christmases come to pass in one’s life, I’d wager that most individuals eventually do come to appreciate the merits of this deviant liquid concoction (if only for its ability to deliciously conceal the bite of booze with which it’s spiked). And I’d guess that its appeal is especially pronounced in the baking-inclined population. Who else among us regularly downs substances comprised primarily of raw egg and sugar with abandon?
In our house, eggnog was always poured and guzzled in furtive hours of the night during the weeks leading up to Christmas. In retrospect, I realize “Santa” probably cherished this much-needed respite from his/her gift-gathering duties, which covered not only gift-gathering and wrapping and hiding, but also preparing the entire house (and the fragile psyches therein) for an impending deluge of rowdy relatives eager to indulge in an almost obscene level of Christmas merriment. In the eyes of childhood me, the weekly nog carton depleted with increasing speed as the 25th approached. But it always remained a mysterious, almost foreboding and definitely unappealing beverage, stowed away in the northeast quadrant of our refrigerator door.
I can’t really recall when I came around to eggnog. Like coffee, the precise moment of acquisition of a taste for nog got lost in the nebulous zone between one level of maturity and the next one. Kind of like with Santa—there wasn’t really a definitive loss of belief, but rather a gradual accumulation of doubt with each passing Christmas. And now here we stand: a long-jaded Santa defector who transferred her enchantment from Father Christmas to eggnog. We all need something to believe in, right?
So I’m ringing in this Christmas with a bodacious proclamation of the Epoch of Eggnog in the form of a cake that means business. This cake is a gift (better than any Santa could bestow) much like the kind you’d find under the tree, in that half the fun is not knowing whats inside. Does it contain 4 sticks of butter? Don’t ask, you’ll ruin the surprise! (!…)
Eggnog can be polarizing (like most things worth anyone’s while), but one bite will show any nog-naysayer what’s what. If, like me, this is your first Christmas definitively away from the kiddie tabs, this cake is a bold monument to that and all the adult connotations that come with it. Santa hasn’t been real for a while, but guess what is? Rum-spiked brown butter glaze poured liberally on a 2-inch brown sugar crumble atop an eggnog cake. This is the new merry.
eggnog cake with brown sugar crumble and browned butter rum icing
1 ½ cups flour
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
¾ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream + 1 tablespoon
3 tablespoons eggnog + 1 tablespoon spiced run
8 tablespoons/1 stick unsalted butter
3-4 tablespoons spiced rum
2 cups powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Meanwhile, make crumble by combining flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl, then mixing in the melted butter. Set aside.
2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl.
When it comes to all things eggnog, if you don’t grate your own nutmeg, you’re doing it wrong. However, pre-ground cinnamon is acceptable. If you want me to think you’re really cool, freshly grate both.
3. Using an electric mixer on medium, beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl until creamy and smooth.
4. Add eggs one by one, beating thoroughly after each.
5. Beat in the sour cream, eggnog, and rum.
6. Add the flour mixture in two to three batches and mix with butter mixture on low speed until a thick, smooth batter forms.
7. Thoroughly grease your Bundt cake pan and pour in the batter, spreading to fill the pan evenly. Top evenly with chunks of crumble, creating a top layer.
8. Bake for 25 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until a knife inserted comes out clean. Mine took closer to 45 minutes to fully bake, yours might go faster depending on your oven. When it’s done, the center of the cake should no longer jiggle.
9. While cake bakes, make icing: melt butter in a small pan over medium-high heat, letting it get bubbly/frothy. Continue to cook butter, stirring often, until it browns: first you’ll see white specks appear under a bubbly surface, and they’ll gradually turn brown, lending the melted butter an amber hue and irresistible nutty aroma.
Once this happens, remove from heat and stir in the rum. Whisk with powdered sugar in a large bowl until smooth, adding water or more rum if necessary to reach desired consistency.
10. When cake is finished, let cool in pan for a bit, then carefully remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack. Drizzle liberally with icing. Dig in at your own risk.
If you liked this, you might also like:
Eggnog Cupcakes with Spiced Rum Frosting
Spiced Eggnog Cookies
Eggnog Cinnamon Rolls