holiday spice cake with eggnog buttercream

holiday cake 1Now everyone knows I love a good excuse to make a beautiful 3-layer cake.  And what better excuse than a girls’ night Christmas gift exchange?!

Holiday Spice Cake 4Last weekend, I got together with a wonderful group of girls for a little Christmas fun :)  We enjoyed a nice potluck dinner, and then did a pollyanna-type gift exchange.  It was so nice to have some girl time, and as usual everything was delicious!

holiday cake unfrostedMy contribution was this holiday spice 3-layer cake with eggnog buttercream, from Baked Elements.  I loved decorating this cake! In the book, the boys suggest adding some luster dust directly to the buttercream.  I had never thought of doing this before, but it seemed like a great idea to me.  The end result was just a slight shimmer to the cake, which really gave it that little extra something.  While it was noticeable on this cake, the flecks in the frosting from the nutmeg may have hindered its ability to really shine – I can’t wait to try it with a plain white frosting (like maybe Baked’s Whiteout Cake!)  To round out the decorations, I added some white sanding sugar and some pearl dragees to the top after frosting it with Baked’s signature swirl.  The end result was simple but elegant – I loved the way it turned out.  And lucky for us, it tasted as good as it looked!  This was my first (and second) attempt at Baked’s infamous cooked frosting recipe – the first go-around didn’t go so well, but it was easily remedied once I figured out what they were looking for.  The first time I made it, I didn’t let the sugar/flour/milk mixture cook long enough, and as a result the frosting never really came together.  The trick seems to be to let it cook until it really thickens up, and is almost like a pudding.  From there it was smooth sailing!  The rum & nutmeg frosting complemented the spice cake perfectly – all in all it is a gorgeous cake full of holiday cheer!

Holiday Cake 2Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (14 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups (9 ounces) cake flour
  • 3/4 cup (3 1/8 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, plus 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 1/2 cups ice-cold water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

For the frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (1 3/8 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3 sticks (24 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cool but not cold, cut into tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons good-quality spiced rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 325°F.  Grease and flour three 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and shortening on medium speed, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and ginger; set aside.  Add the vanilla and the whole egg to the butter mixture and beat until incorporated.  Add in the molasses and beat again just until combined.

With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the water, beginning and ending with the flour.  Beat each addition just until incorporated.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form (the Baked boys suggest doing this by hand; I gave in and used the whisk attachment on my stick blender.  You can do it either by hand, stick blender, hand blender, or stand mixer – whatever you’d like!)  Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the cake batter until incorporated.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans, smoothing out the tops.  Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.  Transfer the pans to cooling racks and allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 20 minutes.  Turn the cakes out onto the cooling racks and allow to cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine the sugar, flour, milk and cream in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Heat over medium heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture comes to a boil (as it gets hotter you may need to whisk constantly to keep the bottom from burning).  Once it is gently boiling, continue cooking for 8-12 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened into a pudding-like consistency.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium speed until cool, at least 7 minutes (the sides of the bowl should not be hot to the touch).  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the butter 1-2 tablespoons at a time, mixing each addition until incorporated.  Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, another few minutes.  Add the rum, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon; continue mixing until combined.  If the frosting seems too soft, chill in the refrigerator and then beat again to the proper consistency.

To assemble the cake, place one layer on a cake board or serving platter (trim the tops of the layers as needed).  Using an offset spatula, evenly spread a layer of frosting on top.  Top with the next layer and spread again with more frosting.  Top with the third layer, and spread a very thin layer of frosting over the top and sides of the cake to create a crumb coat.  Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up the frosting and seal in any crumbs.  Frost the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting; decorate as desired.  Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Yield: 1 3-layer cake

Source: Baked Elements



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  1. beautiful cake!

  2. This is gorgeous! I love the little pearls on top–so cute and so seasonal!

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