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Mammaw’s Eggnog Cake ~ part fruit and nuts, and the other part bourbon soaked cake ~ this delicious treat will put the “nog” in your “eggs!”
I’ve never known why this is called eggnog cake, other than the fact it includes eggs and bourbon which are the ingredients found in traditional eggnog drinks. Similar cakes can be found under the names Kentucky Bourbon Cake and Bourbon Fruit Cake. All seem to have a similar list of ingredients and the trademark process of wrapping the cake in bourbon soaked cheesecloth and allowing it to rest for a week or two before serving.
This recipe for eggnog cake has been passed down for generations.
My hand written copy of this recipe came from my maternal grandmother, Genevieve. Mammaw (and my mom) taught me to make pies when I was about 10 years old. We spent an entire day in the kitchen making fresh apple pies that were then frozen, whole and unbaked, for use at a later time.
Mammaw was a real food blogger, way before blogging was a thing. She often made notes on all her recipes; when she received it, how many times she made it, what she changed, and what she thought about the recipe. She also took pictures of her home grown vegetables and competed in local fairs. Mammaw would have loved the internet and I also think she would’ve loved food blogs. S
he knew I shared her love of baking so even though we lived many miles apart, she often mailed copies of her favorite recipes to me. She made notes in the margins, spelled out the directions so they were simple to follow, and encouraged me to try her favorites.
I remember visiting Mammaw one year at Christmas when she had made this cake.
She stored it in a large cookie tin in the basement where it stayed nice and cold. Every day or so, Mammaw would go downstairs and sprinkle bourbon all over the cheesecloth wrapped cake. I was fascinated! Who wouldn’t love a slice of cake that would give you a buzz? I know this cake is not for everybody. But if you’re like me, and enjoy bourbon every now and then, then I bet you’ll love it as much as I do!
Not exactly like a fruit cake – this eggnog cake has attitude!
I’m not a huge fan of fruit cake, and of course, not many people are. This cake has enough batter in it to change the texture and taste from traditional fruit cake to a fruity spiked cake. I love that it’s loaded with nuts and dates, not just candied fruit. The cake also has a full cup of bourbon in the batter, so the flavor is spot on. Our taste testers noted that it’s not at all dry like ‘other’ fruitcakes, but surprisingly moist but not at all ‘wet.’
You’ll need a 10″ tube pan (Angel Food Cake pan) to make this cake. I haven’t tested the cake in a Bundt pan but believe it would do great in two large loaf pans. Splitting the batter into two loaf pans really sounds perfect to me – keep one cake for yourself and share one with someone you love!
If you hurry up and make this now, it will be ready in time to serve on Christmas and New Year’s Eve!
I wouldn’t leave any out for Santa – after a piece or two of this cake he may have a hard time finishing his rounds!
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A holiday cake loaded with fruit and nuts, and plenty of bourbon!
- ½ pound unsalted butter
- 2 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup bourbon, plus additional to keep cake moist
- 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 6 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
- 1 lb. pecans, chopped
- 1 lb. candied cherries, combination of red and green
- 1 lb. chopped dates
Preheat oven to 250° F. Cut a piece of parchment paper or waxed paper to fit the bottom of a 10-inch round tube pan (Angle Food Cake pan). Lightly grease the tube pan, then place the waxed paper on the bottom and lightly grease the paper too. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl combine 1 cup of flour with the cherries, nuts and dates. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Add the egg yolks and salt to the butter and sugar mixture and blend just until incorporated. Add 1 cup of flour and then ½cup of the bourbon. Repeat alternating between the bourbon and flour, ending with the last cup of flour. Blend on low until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat just until blended. Fold in the fruit and nuts using a wooden spoon With clean beaters in a clean small bowl, beat the egg whites until medium stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the bourbon batter and gently combine with a wooden spoon until no more egg white is showing.
Pour the batter into the prepared tube pan. Place a small pan of water on the lowest rack of the oven and bake the cake for 3 ½ hours.
Cool the cake for at least 30 minutes in the pan then transfer to a rack to cool. Once cool, wrap the cake with bourbon soaked cheesecloth and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Every day or two sprinkle the cheesecloth with a tablespoon or more of bourbon to keep it moist. Be sure to sprinkle the bourbon all around the cake top, and sides. Allow the cake to rest for a week or two, or three before serving.
Use a good quality bourbon that you enjoy drinking.
Recipe from my grandmother
Here are a few more recipes you might also enjoy:
- Cranberry Almond Cake
- Better-Than-Fruitcake Bark ~ from The View from Great Island
- Kentucky Bourbon Butter Cake ~ from Hummingbird High