This Is Our Most Popular Recipe for the Holidays—and Here's Why
Our Test Kitchen has created so many incredible holiday cakes (especially white ones) over the years that it's tough to pick a favorite. And yet, there's one that our readers go absolutely crazy for: Eggnog Spice Cake with Bourbon Custard Filling and Eggnog Buttercream. Doesn't the title alone make your mouth water?
With lightly sweetened bourbon pastry cream, tender eggnog-flavored cake layers, and a rich and creamy buttercream frosting, this four-layer cake is truly a showstopper. Like all layer cakes, this one requires several components, but it's not hard to pull off at all. We recommend each part of the cake in stages, ahead of time. You can even bake the cake layers up to one month ahead. Wrap each cooled layer tightly in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil and store in the freezer. When you're ready to assemble the cake, defrost the layers in the refrigerator one day in advance. The bourbon filling can be made up to three days in advance; store it, covered, in the refrigerator. And the buttercream can be made one day in advance; store it, covered, in the refrigerator.
Fresh nutmeg makes a big difference in this cake. We recommend using a Microplane to grate fresh nutmeg, but if you'd rather use pre-ground nutmeg, give it a sniff before you use it to make sure it is still aromatic and fresh.
The zigzag piped frosting gives the cake a lovely ruffled look, but you can also use a small offset spatula to cover the cake with a smooth layer of frosting, if you prefer. Either way, this cake is guaranteed to impress!