A friend of mine is a dedicated tea drinker. No matter the season or time of day, she’ll put the kettle on and grab a mug. This tiered spice cake with eggnog buttercream tastes like the perfect accompaniment for afternoon tea (simply slice it into smaller portions). Despite being packed with flavours, this statuesque cake is actually quite light and tender. I stopped by a specialty shop selling nuts and spices to find fresh nutmeg, which isn’t easy to come by in grocery stores. I used an offset spatula to swirl the buttercream on top of the cake and sprinkled sugar pearls for decoration.
I had some issues with the buttercream. Maybe I didn’t let it thicken enough. I wasn’t being very vigilent about the stirring and clumps of burnt flour formed at the bottom of the saucepan. So I recommend you stir frequently! I took it off the stove before it came to a boil (oops) and passed it through a sieve to strain out the burnt bits. When I added the butter, the mixture separated. It was a mess. I tried to fix it by passing the buttercream in the food processor. Things were looking up…until I added the rum and then the buttercream became runny. I left it in the fridge, wishing it would firm up, to no avail. Refusing to waste these ingredients, I used my sad buttercream anyways. So far all the other recipes I’ve made from Baked Elements turned out great, so this buttercream recipe might’ve worked out better if I followed the instructions more closely. The eggnog buttercream still tasted great, but the consistency wasn’t right.
Recipe adapted from Baked Elements
Yields 10 portions
2 1/4 cups cake flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 large egg, plus 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups ice-cold water
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
3 tablespoons molasses
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup heavy cream 35%
12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cool but not cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
sugar pearls for decoration
1) Preheat the oven to 325F.
2) Butter three 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Dust with flour.
3) Mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl. Sift and then set aside.
4) Beat the butter and shortening until creamy in the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with a paddle attachment.
5) Add the vanilla and sugar. Beat until fluffy.
6) Add the whole egg, beating only until incorporated.
7) Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then add some water. Keep alternating, making sure you finish with the flour mixture.
8) In a separate bowl, whisk the cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and molasses together until blended.
9) Use a spatula to fold the molasses mixture into the batter.
10) In a separate bowl, Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until they form soft peaks.
11) Delicately fold the egg whites into the batter.
12) Pour the batter into the three prepare cake pans. Smooth out the top and place them in the oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean.
13) Let the cakes cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
14) Remove the cakes from the pan and let them cool completely.
1) Whisk the sugar and flour in a saucepan.
2) Pour the milk and cream into the saucepan.
3) Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking often, until it thickens and comes to a boil, about 8 to 12 minutes.
4) Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on high until cool, at least 7 minutes.
5) Reduce the speed to low and incorporate the butter.
6) Increase the speed and beat until the buttercream is light and fluffy.
7) Add the rum, vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Mix until blended.
1) Place one layer on a serving platter. Spread 1 1/4 cups buttercream onto the cake with an offset spatula.
2) Add the second layer and spread 1 1/4 cups buttercream onto the cake with an offset spatula.
3) Add the third layer and spread a thin layer of buttercream on top and over the sides of the cake. This is known as a crumb coating; this thin layer of buttercream helps keep loose cake crumbs under control.
4) Place the cake in the fridge for 15 minutes.
5) Spread the rest of the buttercream onto the cake.
6 Refrigerate the cake for 15 minutes so it can firm up before serving.
Store the cake in the fridge or at room temperature in a cool, dry place for up to 3 days. Let the cake come to room temperature before serving.