Pound cake is one of the best holiday desserts out there. It is easy to make, can be made ahead, is perfect for transport, and is imminently customizable. Pound cake really just uses the most basic techniques of baking, made easy using an electric mixer, and it’s a pretty forgiving process.
A pound cake can easily be made a few days ahead and kept wrapped tightly on the counter. It can even be frozen (without a glaze or frosting). And if the cake dries out, toast the slices and serve with a drizzle of sauce. A pound cake is sturdy, so it can travel to a party or on a road trip without fear of layers sliding apart. And the list of what you can do with a pound cake is endless. Serve it with ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate, caramel or fruit sauce, berries, poached fruit, jam or a combination of any of the above.
Here, I up the holiday factor by adding in one of my favorite festive flavors, eggnog. The sweet, creamy flavor is incorporated both into the cake and with a rich frosting, all set off by spicy nutmeg. This cake can make a simple, homey treat or an impressive display. Put it on your favorite funny Santa plate or an elegant cake stand as a centerpiece for a dessert buffet.
Eggnog pound cake
For the cake
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups granulated sugar
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup prepared eggnog
For the frosting
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup eggnog, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
For the cake
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan.
2. Beat the butter in the bowl of a large stand mixer on medium, until creamy. Slowly add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, a good 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. Combine the flour, nutmeg, salt and baking soda and add the creamed mixture, alternating with the eggnog. Do this in three additions, ending with eggnog. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
4. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Cover the top of the cake loosely with foil if it begins to brown to much. Cool the cake in the pan for about 10 minutes, then invert it on a wire rack to cool completely.
For the frosting
Beat the butter, eggnog, vanilla, and nutmeg together in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium, until smooth and creamy. Add the confectioner’s sugar gradually and beat until combined and smooth. You want a thick but pourable icing, so adjust with extra eggnog or sugar as needed. Spoon the frosting over the completely cooled cake.
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