For Brian's command holiday party last night, I wanted to make something festive, and for some reason, "eggnog cake" is what popped into my head. And I instantly knew exactly how I wanted to do it, too.
I started with the same white chocolate pound cake recipe that I dressed up with coconut filling for Brandon's birthday party. It tastes great and smells amazing while it's baking, but I'll admit that it is a little dry. Dousing it with a little bit of simple syrup might do the trick, although I've never tried that particular technique. (My alcohol-free rum syrup would do nicely for this particular application, although you could certainly use simple syrup laced with real rum!)
I baked the cake in a 9.5 inch springform pan and torted it (split it in half to make it into two layers), although you could easily bake it as two separate layers; I just wanted it to be a bigger cake (since it was for a party) and the only big cake pans I have are springforms.
For filling, I used eggnog ganache. I used this recipe, and added a dash of rum flavoring. I don't know if I did something wrong, or if it's just the nature of this particular recipe, but it didn't set up nearly as firm as regular ganache usually does, and I couldn't get it to whip up, either. It came out kind of creamy, almost custard-y. Kind of perfect for a cake filling, actually, although it did start to run out after the cake had been cut.
As for the icing, I decided to go with a butter buttercream, because this cake was all about flavor. I briefly considered doing a Swiss meringue buttercream, but decided against it since I had never tried one before and in order to make it taste the way I wanted it to, I'd have to be switching out some of the ingredients. When experimenting, I like to start with a recipe I'm already very familiar with! So I started with the Wilton Class Buttercream recipe and made some significant alterations.
(I left out the meringue powder because I thought I had a sensitivity to it - the frostings I've been making lately have been making my tongue kind of numb and tingly - but it happened with this frosting, too, so I think it might actually be the powdered sugar! Anyway, I think the meringue powder might have made the frosting a little easier to work with - at the very least, it would have crusted, which would have made it possible to get it a lot smoother - so 1 tbsp of Wilton meringue powder is an optional ingredient in this recipe.)
Eggnog Buttercream 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature 1 pound (about 4 cups) powdered sugar 1 tsp rum flavoring* 1/2 tsp vanilla extract eggnog
Cream the butter, flavorings, and 2 tbsp of eggnog. Add the sugar 1 cup at a time. Add additional eggnog, a little at a time, until it is the consistency you need.
*I'm sure that if you wanted to, you could use real rum, you'd just end up using less eggnog to get the proper consistency, because you'd probably want to use more than one teaspoon of rum ;)
Real butter buttercream is tricky as far as consistency. You'll think it's too stiff, and then it melts and gets too soft. I had a LOT of trouble covering the cake - I guess I made the frosting too thin, because it kept on sliding off the sides of the cake. Luckily I was going more for flavor than looks with this cake. :)
However...I am who I am, after all, and I did do some decorating. I thought about doing a puffy-star Christmas tree on top, but then I remembered that this was a "Holiday" party, not a Christmas party. So I did a snowflake instead.
First of all, Wilton piping gel is a PITA. It simply would not pipe evenly, so my lines turned out kind of lumpy. Ah, well, every snowflake is different, right?
I covered up some of the imperfections on the sides of the cake (there were plenty!) by piping randomly-placed stars of different sizes. They were supposed to represent snowflakes, so I let the Martha Stewart snowflake cake inform my design and put smaller stars at the top, medium in the middle and larger at the bottom. (I used tips 14, 18 and 133.)
My local craft store only had edible glitter in green, purple and orange, which would have been fantastic if this had been a Mardi Gras party, but it wasn't so great for my snowflake cake. So I made my own. Very very easy:
Edible Glitter Brush pasteurized egg whites (I used Egg Beaters) on a sheet of waxed paper with a pastry brush. Allow to dry. Crumple up the paper and shake the flakes into a container. Sprinkle on your cake. Ooooooh, shimmery!!
All in all, not the prettiest or most professional-looking cake I've ever made, but it's up there with the yummiest. The leftovers are even better, because I lovethe texture of refrigerator-hardened buttercream. Everyone else seemed to like it, too - I even had one person who claims to hate eggnog tell me that they liked the filling, which I thought was odd, since it's VERY eggnogg-y, but I'll take the compliment.
I believe that women's lib means I can live however I choose - even if that means staying at home, baking cookies from scratch and knitting baby booties all the livelong day. I believe that discriminating against anyone based on their color is racism - even if they're white. I believe that the bad auditions on American Idol are the end result of twenty years of focusing on self esteem - "you are perfect no matter what" - piled on top of a century of growing up consuming music rather than making it together as a family. I believe the children are our future. I believe in miracles. I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.