After spending time with family in Mississippi for Thanksgiving, I was inspired to make a crowd pleasing, over the top cake for an upcoming dinner party. At our Thanksgiving festivities my aunt prepared an out of this world cake that had me at her side asking questions and hanging onto every single word she said. The biggest inspiration I took away from her words was to not be afraid to make a cake your own. Do something that may seem a little crazy, like adding extracts you haven't used before. Just be brave and let your personality shine through the cake!
That's how this crazy eggnog cake was born! Using a basic box cake, adding in some fun extracts, and of course Barber's Eggnog for that traditional holiday flavor! Rich, but not too sweet, fluffy, creamy, with a hint of spice. A christmas cake that is sure to become a staple on your holiday menu. I promise!
Prepare two yellow cake box mixes as directed EXCEPT use eggnog instead of water and butter instead of oil (in the same proportions the box recipe calls for). Bake according to directions on the box. Let cool completely (several hours) before icing the cakes.
Add 8 cups powdered sugar and 3 sticks softened butter to a very large bowl and use an electric mixer on low to mix until combined. Next, add your 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg and your rum & vanilla extracts. Then, slowly add eggnog one tablespoon at a time while mixing with the electric mixer until you reach your preferred consistency for the icing. (I prefer icing that is fairly stiff bcause it stays in place on the cake better!) Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
For brandy sugar:
Mix 1 tablespoon of brandy with powdered sugar until you get a nice syrup (this will be fairly runny, which is what we want). Put into a squeeze bottle (or a bowl if you do not have a squeeze bottle).
Assembling the cake:
- Using your squeeze bottle, add a few drops of brandy syrup to top of each layer (alternatively if you don't have a squeeze bottle, use a spoon to drizzle a tiny amount on top of each layer. Allow to soak in for about 10 minutes before moving to next step.
- Take your first completely cooled cake layer and stack it onto your cake stand (or a large flat plate).
- Start with a large dollop of icing and work your way to the outer layer (follow these steps for all four layers) *see links below for tips on icing cakes like a pro
- Once there is icing between each layer, you may begin icing the outside of the cake, slowly spinning the plate or cake stand to get smooth icing strokes.
- Next, decorate with whatever festive additions you like! I chose to use tiny gingerbread men, cinnamon sticks and star anise
- Allow the cake to stay in the fridge for a few hours or overnight before serving to allow all the flavors to really soak in.
*See how professional chef Alton Brown frosts a cake! http://www.foodnetwork.com/videos/altons-icing-and-frosting-tips-0186743
*If your icing is too runny, dont' panic! All you need to do is add a bit more powdered sugar until it stiffens up again. This icing is very easy, so there's really no wrong way for it to turn out! Just enjoy it!
*Tip: star anise and cinnamon sticks are very expensive at traditional grocery stores. I found mine really well priced at a local Asian supermarket.