This Eggnog Cake is super moist, tender, and FULL of eggnog flavor! This impressive Christmas cake will make you wish eggnog wasn’t a seasonal ingredient. So yummy and perfect for your holiday celebration!
The Best Eggnog Cake Recipe
We’re huge fans of eggnog in my household – I start buying it the first day I see it in stores! There’s something about that creamy-eggy-ness that you can’t get anywhere else. So, when I think about making Christmas desserts, eggnog is always a part of the celebration.
While eggnog can sometimes be a subtle flavor, there’s no mistaking its presence in this cake. The Southern Comfort brand is our favorite, so that’s what I typically use, but feel free to use your favorite. regular eggnog. Eggnog naturally non-alcoholic, so no need to worry about that if you have kids who will be enjoying this cake with you.
This Eggnog Layer Cake sponge is nice and moist, largely thanks to the addition of sour cream. It maintains it’s light, airy texture because of the steps to cream the butter and whip the egg whites. So, whatever you do, don’t skip those steps. They are key to a fabulous cake.
If you find that you can’t get enough eggnog after making this gorgeous Christmas cake, check out a few more eggnog ideas. You’ll love my recipe for Homemade Eggnog, this Eggnog Cheesecake, and these Eggnog Cupcakes too!
Can I Turn These Into Cupcakes?
Yes! This recipe can easily be made into cupcakes. Follow all the directions up until the part where you divide the batter into the 3 cake pans. Instead, fill the cupcake liners just over halfway with the batter and bake for 16-18 minutes. You should only need to make about half of the frosting recipe. This eggnog cake recipe should yield about 24 cupcakes. Feel free to cut it in half if you only want 12 cupcakes.
What You’ll Need
Here’s everything you’ll need to make this exceptionally tasty eggnog layer cake at home. Scroll down to the recipe card for actual amounts of each ingredient.
For the Eggnog Cake
- All-Purpose Flour – Be sure to measure it accurately so that you don’t end up with a dry cake. I recommend using a food scale, but you can also use the scoop and level method. Just don’t pack the cup with flour.
- Baking Powder
- Spices – We’ll be using ground nutmeg and salt.
- Unsalted Butter – Let your butter sit out on the counter for at least an hour to come to room temperature. If your butter is too cold, it won’t cream correctly with the sugar.
- Vanilla Extract
- Sour Cream – Full-fat sour cream will give this cake great moisture – don’t skimp on the fat!
- Eggnog – Grab your favorite brand!
- Water – A bit of water is used to add additional moisture without weighing the cake down and making it dense.
- Egg Whites – Separate the egg whites from the yolks (reserve them for another meal or dessert) and let them come to room temperature.
For the Frosting
- Unsalted Butter – Ensure the butter is at room temperature.
- Powdered Sugar – Feel free to sift the sugar before making the frosting if has sat for a while and seems lumping. This will help prevent any lumps in your frosting.
How to Make this Eggnog Layer Cake
If you’re going to make only one layer cake this year, make it this one! Layer cakes can be a labor of love, but your friends and family will express their gratitude with every bite. If you love eggnog, this is the Christmas cake for you!
To Make the Eggnog Cake
- Prepare for Baking. Prepare three 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper circles on the bottom and grease on the sides. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C)
- Combine the Dry Ingredients. Combine the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
- Cream the Butter and Sugar. Add the butter and sugar to a large mixing bowl and beat together until it becomes light in color and fluffy. This should take about 2-3 minutes. This step is essential. Creaming the butter and sugar creates bubbles that will expand as the cake bakes, resulting in a light and fluffy crumb. If you don’t whip them enough, you will end up with a denser cake than you want.
- Add Vanilla and Sour Cream. Add the vanilla extract and sour cream to the butter and mix until well combined. Sour cream adds incredible moisture and flavor.
- Alternate Adding the Dry Ingredients and Eggnog. Next, add about 1/2 of the dry ingredients, the eggnog/water mixture, and the remaining dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly with each step. Alternating the ingredients helps preserve those precious air bubbles we added when creaming the butter and sugar. Beginning and ending with the dry ingredients helps to keep the batter from curdling.
- Beat the Egg Whites. Add the egg whites to a large mixing bowl and whip on high speed until soft peaks form. Gently fold them into the rest of the batter with a spatula in two parts until no streaks of white remain.
- Divide the Batter. Once the batter is fully combined, divide it evenly between three 8-inch pans. I measure to ensure they’re even but feel free to eyeball it. I’m just a perfectionist. 🙂
- Bake. Bake the cakes for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.
- Cool. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool for 2-3 minutes. Then, remove them to cooling racks to cool completely. While the cakes cool, start on the frosting!
To Make the Frosting
- Beat the Butter. Add the butter to a large mixing bowl and beat on high speed until smooth and fluffy. Add half of the powdered sugar and beat until well combined and smooth.
- Add the Eggnog and Nutmeg. Add the eggnog and nutmeg to the frosting and beat until they’re fully incorporated. Add the remaining powdered sugar and beat until smooth and creamy. Add additional eggnog, if needed.
To Frost the Cake
- Cut the Layers. After the cakes are completely cool, remove the domed tops with a large serrated knife, so they’re perfectly flat.
- Frost the Layers. Place the first layer of cake on a cake stand. Add a cup of eggnog buttercream and spread it into an even layer with an offset spatula. Place the second layer on top. Add another cup of the buttercream, smoothing it in the same way. Top with the third layer of cake. Frost the outside of the eggnog cake with the rest of the buttercream. If you’d like a little guidance on creating a smooth cake finish, check out my tutorial on how to frost a smooth cake.
- Decorate. Pipe little shells around the top and bottom borders of the cake. I used an Ateco tip 847 for the top garnishes and a Wilton tip 21 for the bottom.
- Store in the Fridge. Be sure to store the cake in the fridge before serving. I like to take mine out at least 20 minutes before serving to let it return to room temperature. I find all cake to be moister and tastier that way.
How to Store Leftover Eggnog Cake
Store leftover Eggnog Cake in the refrigerator for up to five days. I like to use a cake carrier that holds the whole cake, but you can also use a large regular Tupperware container. When you’re ready to eat, let the slices sit out on the counter for about 20 minutes or so for the best experience.
Try These Other Eggnog Desserts
Watch How to Make Eggnog Layer Cake
Eggnog Layer Cake
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 21 minutes
- Total Time: 46 minutes
- Yield: 14-18 Slices
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
This Eggnog Cake is super moist, fluffy, and FULL of eggnog flavor! This impressive Christmas cake will make you wish eggnog wasn’t a seasonal ingredient. So yummy and perfect for your holiday celebration!
- 2 1/2 cups (325g) all purpose flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup (168g) unsalted butter, room temp
- 1 1/2 cups (310g) sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (115g) sour cream
- 1 cup (240ml) eggnog
- 1/4 cup (60ml) water
- 6 large egg whites, room temperature
- 3 cups (672g) unsalted butter
- 12 cups (1380g) powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup (120ml) eggnog
- 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- Prepare three 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C).
- Combine the flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
- Add the butter and sugar to a large mixer bowl and beat together until light in color and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Do not skimp on the creaming time.
- Add the vanilla extract and sour cream and mix until well combined.
- Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until mostly combined. Slowly add the eggnog and water and mix until well combined. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated. Do not over mix the batter. Set aside.
- Add the egg whites to a large mixing bowl and whip on high speed until soft peaks form.
- Carefully fold the egg whites into the rest of the cake batter in two parts, until no streaks of egg white remain.
- Divide the batter evenly between the cakes pans and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
- Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for about 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.
- While cakes cool, make the frosting. Add the butter to a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth.
- Add half of the powdered sugar and beat until well combined and smooth.
- Add the eggnog and nutmeg and beat until combined.
- Add remaining powdered sugar and beat until combined and smooth.
- When the cakes are cool, remove the tops of the cakes with a large serrated knife so they are flat.
- Place the first layer of cake on cake stand. Top with one cup of eggnog buttercream and spread into an even layer.
- Add second layer of cake, then another cup of eggnog buttercream. Top cake with remaining cake layer.
- Frost the outside of the cake with the remaining buttercream. Follow my tutorial for frosting a smooth cake, if needed.
- Pipe shells around the top and bottoms borders of the cake. I used Ateco tip 847 for the top and Wilton tip 21 for the bottom.
- Store the cake in an airtight container in the fridge. Serve at room temperature. Cake is best if eaten with 3-4 days.
This can be made as cupcakes. Fill liners just over half way with batter and bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few crumbs. Should make about 24 cupcakes. You should only need about half of the frosting recipe.
- Serving Size: 1 Slice
- Calories: 903
- Sugar: 129.2 g
- Sodium: 99.1 mg
- Fat: 36.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 144.2 g
- Protein: 4.5 g
- Cholesterol: 66.9 mg
Keywords: eggnog cake, christmas cake, eggnog cake recipe, christmas cake ideas, eggnog layer cake
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Do I need to beat the egg whites till stiff peaks I see in some of your recipes qirh egg whites you don’t just curious
I have recently started whipping the egg whites until they’re stiff. I didn’t do that previously, which is why it’s different in some recipes. It will turn out well either way. But I think you do get a little bit nicer texture if the egg whites are whipped.
Hi Lindsay – this cake is absolutely DELICIOUS !!!! Finally made it here at the end of the holidays, and WOW – it is worth every step and time it takes! Calling all eggnog lovers! Will repeat this for future holidays!!! Lee Mc
Awesome! So glad you enjoyed it!
Batter and frosting are delicious- can’t wait to eat the cake tomorrow! One comment- way too much frosting! I frosted and decorated the cake liberally, and still had a jar full leftover. I’d recommend adjusting the recipe,
It’s the amount of buttercream I used to frost it as you see in the photos. Not everyone decorates their cakes as I do, in which case you’d need to adjust it. Glad you’re happy with it otherwise.
I want to do these as cupcakes for a work potluck. How long should I bake them and would it be same oven temperature?
Same oven temperature. Bake time would probably be about 15 minutes or so.
You mention rum extract but it’s not listed in the recipe or shown in the video. Do you use it, and if so, how much do you add to your frosting?
The recipe was recently updated and I missed that reference to it. It’s not in the recipe anymore.
do i have to use rum extrat or another flavor can i use
You can just leave it out.
do you think i could freeze the layers and frosting seperatly and assemble at a later date ?
Yes, you could do that.