The holidays are a time for baking, and nothing gets people in the holiday spirit quite like a glass of cold, creamy eggnog. So, why not combine the two? No, we don't just mean a couple of boozy mugs of nog while you're whipping up a batch of sugar cookies. Instead, try eggnog buttercream frosting on your next holiday cake for a festive twist on two classics.
As some of you seasoned bakers know, there is a plethora of buttercreams to choose from. Many of the eggnog buttercream recipes call for an base — though if you want to experiment with other kinds, go for it. In fact, German buttercream is so naturally custard-like that it could easily conform to this eggnog twist. What really counts is how you utilize the flavors of eggnog in your buttercream to showcase the holiday flavors of nutmeg, cinnamon, and eggy custard.
Some people may be unfamiliar with , or perhaps have tried it and were utterly confused by its thick texture and eggy essence. It can be an acquired taste, but if you think of it like melted ice cream (an apt and often-used comparison), eggnog begins to make a little more sense on the palate. It often has a boozy adjunct like rum or bourbon –- though this part is optional –- and is suitable for anybody who doesn't mind a hefty dose of dairy.
Eggnog was brought to North America by early settlers and was likely a European creation with varied resemblance to the beverage Americans know now. The custardy drink has since taken on a life of its own and is now synonymous with the holiday season — likely because its flavor comes from many of the warming spices used in other holiday treats. So it's truly a no-brainer that eggnog pairs perfectly with the rich, creaminess of buttercream frosting.
Traditional American buttercream frosting is quite thick and adding unnecessary liquid to the recipe will result in an unworkable, runny mess. So how do you successfully incorporate eggnog into your buttercream? Add the eggnog a little bit at a time. You'll have to make your buttercream from scratch; simply buying buttercream or adding eggnog to a batch of premade frosting will leave you with a regrettable soup instead of a thick, beautiful frosting. The key to proper consistency is control of the confectioner's sugar in the buttercream recipe to ensure proper thickness. Add powdered sugar in batches until the desired texture is achieved. Conversely, add more eggnog if the frosting is too thick.
Cakes like the timeless are perfect candidates for an eggnog buttercream frosting and spiced cakes of any kind (think gingerbread or molasses cake) will lend themselves to the smooth egginess of this buttercream. Chai sugar cookies or snickerdoodles can be frosted as well for a creamy topping. If you prefer a deeper eggnog flavor (as well as a little kick to your frosting), consider rum extract for its bite without adding unnecessary liquid. In addition, garnishing the finished bake with grated whole nutmeg will help bring out the nog flavors as well.
Eggnog buttercream is versatile and pairs with everything from vanilla cupcakes to chocolate brownies. Best of all, it's incredibly easy to make.