Eggnog is a drink that I associate closely with the holiday season because that is the only time of the year that I get to enjoy it. Since eggnog is essentially milk enriched with eggs, sugar and other flavorings, it is surprisingly easy to work into other dessert recipes, like our eggnog bread pudding, to give them a holiday twist.
This classic pound cake shows off the simple and delicious flavors of eggnog in a very elegant — and very tasty — way!
About this recipe
Traditionally, pound cakes were made with just a pound each of flour, butter, sugar and eggs. This is a very traditional pound cake in that it has no leavening, though I didn’t stick to quite the same ratio as the traditional cake for the other ingredients.
Air is incorporated into the batter by creaming the butter and sugar together and by beating the eggs in very thoroughly, however the cake does not rise as dramatically as cakes that also include baking powder or baking soda. As a result, the cake has a dense, yet very soft, and buttery crumb that almost seems to melt in your mouth. It is very rich and very satisfying to eat.
The eggnog flavor comes primarily from real eggnog. You can use prepared eggnog, which you might already have in the fridge for the holidays, or homemade eggnog.
Eggnog is typically flavored with vanilla and nutmeg, and I added both to this pound cake to highlight those ingredients. The nutmeg that you use should always be freshly ground. When freshly ground — and a microplane is a great tool for this — the nutmeg’s peppery flavor will be much more potent than that of pre-ground nutmeg. Whole nutmegs also keep very well and will not need to be replaced nearly as often as preground nutmeg, which loses its flavor quickly.
The cake uses cake flour, which helps ensure it has a texture that is velvety and tender, not heavy. Cake flour must be sifted before you add it to the rest of the ingredients because it is so fine that it tends to clump together. Sifting the flour will make a huge difference in the texture of your finished cake.
Since cake flour typically comes in a box and is more densely packed in there than bagged flour, I usually weigh it out before sifting. You can get pretty accurate results, however, by using a spoon to scoop the flour out of the bag and into a waiting measuring cup, then leveling it off as you would with any other flour.
Eggnog pound cake recipe
- 5-oz or 1 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup prepared eggnog
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan or grease the pan and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper.
Sift the cake flour onto a sheet of parchment paper to remove any lumps, then set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until very fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until they have all been incorporated. Beat the sugar mixture on high for about 1 minute, until it is light and creamy looking. Blend in vanilla extract, nutmeg and salt.
Stir half of the flour into the sugar mixture, followed by the eggnog. Stir in the remaining flour and mix until no streaks of flour remain. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
Bake for 55-60 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. The cake will begin to pull slightly away from the sides of the pan when it is done. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and turn out the cake, transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
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