Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cake of the Week: Eggnog Bundt Cake

In mid to late November, something magical happens. In the milk aisle of the grocery store, somewhere between the buttermilk/cream section and the regular milk, a festive-colored carton appears...eggnog. And my mom and I get EXCITED! My phone will ring, sometime a little before Thanksgiving, Guess what Mollie? I'm drinking eggnog right now! gloats my mom. Yes! It's time! And thus the Christmas season begins.

Then, in the beginning of January, something very sad happens. The eggnog slowly but surely (and inevitably) disappears. And something inside us dies a little bit.
It's our last carton of eggnog! we commiserate. I can't believe Christmas is really over!

I know that not everyone loves eggnog with the same passion as us crazies. I get that it's often a texture thing (you have to expect
a milkshake rather than milk consistency). And many people think they don't like it because it sounds weird (Nog, nog, NOG! Say it with me, I'm amused), or their parents don't like it, or they tried it once when they were little and forever condemned this delicious holiday beverage.

Well, now it's time to open your mind, face your fears, and get out there and buy a carton of eggnog before it's gone forever!!! (Ok, ok, I know it'll be back next year. But right now that seems like
forever and a half away!)

And even if you're sure you don't like the
texture, the flavors are undeniably delicious: vanilla, nutmeg, rum. No doubt about that - win, win, and win! So use that last carton of nog in this subtly rich and fabulous eggnog bundt cake. I made it as one of my Christmas desserts (to go with chocolate pumpkin pie, Sister1's chocolate cupcakes, Grammy Jean's persimmon pudding, and Auntie Robin's fudge). Have I mentioned my recent fatstorm?

Anywho, here it is (from Eat Me, Delicious):

Toasted Pecan Eggnog Ring

Adapted from Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More

2 1/2 cups plus 1 tbsp cake flour
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
(I used fresh nutmeg. You can buy it at most grocery stores in the spice aisle. It looks like a jar of acorn-ish nuts, and you grate them)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup premium-quality eggnog (If you're in CA, Southern Comfort Eggnog is the absolute best)
1/4 cup bourbon, such as Jack Daniel's
(We don't have alcohol chez moi, so I just used water and added an extra 2 teaspoons vanilla)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly firm
1 1/2 cups (packed) very fresh light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup (4 ounces) coarsely chopped toasted pecans

Eggnog Glaze
1 cup strained powdered sugar, spooned in and leveled
2 tbsp warm eggnog
1 tbsp light corn syrup

1. Position the rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 325F. Generously butter a 9 inch bundt pan, dust with flour, then invert it over the kitchen sink and tap firmly to remove the excess flour. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 1/2 cups of the flour, the nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. In a small bowl, combine the eggnog, bourbon and vanilla. Set aside.

4. Cut the butter into 1 inch pieces and place in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddled attachment. Mix on medium speed until smooth and lightened in color, about 2 minutes. Add the brown sugar, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, taking 6 to 8 minutes.

5. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for 1 minute after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

6. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the eggnog mixture, dividing the flour mixture into three parts and the liquid into two parts, starting and ending with the flour.

7. In a small bowl, toss the pecans with the remaining tablespoon of flour. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and using a large spatula, fold in the nuts. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for 1 hour and 10 to 15 minutes. The cake is done when the top is firm to the touch and a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

8. Remove from the oven and let stand on a cooling rack for 20 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and carefully lift off the pan. Turn the cake right side up onto a cooling rack, and place it over a rimmed cookie sheet. If you're going to make the glaze, start it while the cake is cooling.

Make the glaze
9. Whisk the powdered sugar, eggnog, and corn syrup together until smooth.

Finish the cake
10. Using a fork or a whisk, drizzle the glaze over the cake while it is still warm. Let stand at room temperature until the glaze is set.

Store under a glass cake dome or covered with aluminum foil for up to 5 days. This cake may be frozen.

This is good as breakfast cake, afternoon coffee cake, or for dessert. Basically, it's just good. Enjoy!