I suspect that I won't need to do much convincing with this recipe. I also suspect that your guests won't need much convincing to try a slice. It's cake. Made with eggnog. Glazed with sweet boozy icing. An extra pinch of nutmeg and a special baking trick with a whisk are all you need to put this holiday treat right over the top.
The "whipped" part of this recipe comes from whipping the eggnog into a foam before adding it to the batter. This is a trick I picked up from Shirley O Corriher in her book BakeWise: by whipping the cream in recipes for cakes and quick breads, you add moisture, richness, and lightness to the batter.
This results in a loaf with an unbelievably tender crumb. I tried it once and now do it whenever I see heavy cream in a recipe. Eggnog won't whip to soft peaks like cream because of the eggs and other ingredients in the beverage, but it will become very frothy and double in volume.
And the whipped eggnog totally works. The cake is so tender and luxurious that it tips over into velvety. I was worried that the eggnog might not come through with only a half cup in the recipe, but that creamy nutmeg flavor is infused into every crumb. It's crazy good and totally decadent.
Whipped Eggnog Loaf Cake
1/2 cup (5 oz) whole-fat eggnog (see note below on using low-fat eggnog)
1 1/2 cups (7 oz) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup (4 oz/1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup (7 oz) white granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (4 oz) powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons rum, brandy, or bourbon
Heat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8x5 loaf pan with parchment so that the extra hangs over the sides. Coat the parchment and exposed sides of the pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a standing mixer with a whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, whisk the eggnog at high speed until it doubles in volume, 6-8 minutes. Because of the eggs and other ingredients, it won't actually form peaks like whipped cream, but it should become very frothy and airy. Keep the whipped eggnog in the refrigerator until ready to use.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.
In a standing mixer with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until it become creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the sugar until the mixture is looks fluffy and light-colored, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs and egg yolk one at a time, fully incorporating each egg before adding the next. Beat in the vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed.
Sprinkle the flour mixture over the butter mixture. Mix on low speed just until the ingredients come together into a dough. It's ok if there is still a little flour visible on the dough and the sides of the bowl.
Using a spatula, gently mix 1/3 of the whipped eggnog into the batter. Pour the rest of the eggnog into the bowl and gently fold it into the batter. At first, it will look like the eggnog won't go into the batter. Just keep gently folding and stirring, and eventually it will form a smooth, glossy, pourable batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Place in the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. The loaf is done when the top is domed and golden-brown, and when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then lift it by the parchment paper and transfer to a cooling rack. Remove the parchment. When the loaf has cooled but is still warm to the touch, whisk together the glaze ingredients and spoon over the loaf. Let the loaf stand until the icing is set and dry. Slice and serve.
The loaf will keep at room temperature, covered, for about three days.
• Using Low-Fat Eggnog - Low-fat eggnog won't become as frothy as full-fat eggnog. It's best to add it along with the flour addition: mix in 1/3 of the flour and then 1/3 of the low-fat eggnog. Repeat until all the ingredients are incorporated.
(Image: Emma Christensen)