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Eggnog Layer Cake

If you’re looking for a festive edible center piece for your dessert table this year, then look no further because my Eggnog Layer Cake has it all!

Eggnog Layer Cake on cake pedestal.

With three layers of eggnog cake, soaked in a whiskey infused simple syrup, filled and frosted with whiskey Swiss meringue buttercream, it really doesn’t get better than that.

Oh wait, the cake decoration on this cake is next level. Fresh rosemary, fresh cranberries for a pop of color, almond pine cones and a sprinkling of powdered sugar, this Eggnog Layer Cake will definitely be the star on your dessert table this year.

Overhead shot of Eggnog Layer Cake on pedestal.

Eggnog Layer Cake

  • Cake flour: cakes made with cake flour produce a delicate and fine crumb, due to the lower protein content in cake flour versus all-purpose flour. The lower protein content produces less gluten in the cake.
  • Granulated sugar: is the perfect choice for all things baking. It blends nicely in batters and creates browning during the baking process.
  • Baking powder: works first when it comes into contact with liquid and then again when it hits heat.
  • Grated nutmeg: is a hard seed, that gives a warm aroma and flavor. Buy the whole seed and grind it as needed.
  • Salt: don’t skip the salt. Salt helps balance out the flavors of the cake.
  • Eggs: bind, thicken, emulsifies and leavens.
  • Eggnog: is the star of this cake and imparts flavor and moistness.
  • Vanilla extract: balances cake flavors.
  • Unsalted butter: gives the cake flavor, texture and crumb. The ideal temperature of butter for baking cakes is around 65 to 67 degrees.

Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is a combination of equal parts water and sugar. It’s great for adding extra flavors and moistness to the cake. Use remaining simple syrup for cocktails and other beverages that require sugar. Simple syrup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 7 days.

Eggnog Layer Cake on cake pedestal off center shot.

Whiskey Swiss Meringue Buttercream

I’ve paired my favorite not-too-sweet buttercream with a bit of whiskey to set the mood of this Eggnog Layer Cake. Here are a few of my tips for preparing this buttercream:

  • Your mixer bowl should be completely dry and clean before use.
  • There should be no grease residue on the bowl and your egg whites should be free of egg yolks.
  • Whisk together the sugar and egg whites well, or the eggs may start to cook on their own.
  • Make sure the double boiler stays at a simmer. 
  • Your butter should be room temperature before using.
  • Add your butter by tablespoon to the meringue.
  • The buttercream should be as smooth as possible. 
  • To help remove air bubbles, run the mixer on low speed for one minute.
Three quarter angle of Eggnog Layer Cake on cake pedestal.

Almond Pine Cones

I saw some almond pine cones on one of those baking television programs a few weeks ago and thought they would make the cutest cake decoration. After doing a quick search I found this quick tutorial on how to make them. Keep in mind this was my first time making them but they came out so cute!

How To Make Almond Pine Cones

  • Divide almonds into piles of Small, Medium, and Large.
  • Attach a Wilton piping tip #12 to a piping bag.
  • Fill piping bag with buttercream.
  • Pipe a few dollops of buttercream on to a piece of parchment paper.
  • Choose a couple of the Small almonds and place on the top of the buttercream dollops.
  • Working your way down and around, apply Medium sized almonds.
  • Apply Large almond slices towards the bottom. Freeze the pine cones until ready to use. See my video at the bottom of my recipe card on how I made these Almond Pine Cones.
Close up of the top of the Eggnog Layer Cake of Almond Pine Cones.

Eggnog Garnish Tips and Ideas

When I first started this cake I had no idea how I was going to decorate it. But I knew I wanted it to be super festive so I purchased fresh rosemary, cranberries and silver dragees.

Since I didn’t have a plan I used my 8-inch round cake pan as a template and arranged the rosemary on top of the bottom of the pan. I then imagined my pine cones covering the rosemary twigs and let the cranberry placement come naturally to me.

I had some remaining buttercream in my piping bag from the pine cones so I piped small dots around the cake to give it some interest. I placed a few cranberries around it then finished it off with some silver and white dragees and a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

Close up of almond pine cones on the bottom border of Eggnog Layer Cake.

Eggnog Layer Cake Baking Schedule

  • Day 1: Bake cake layers and prepare simple syrup.
  • Day 2: Prepare buttercream, assemble, decorate and serve.
Close up of sliced Eggnog Layer Cake.

Cake Decorating Tools

  • 8-inch round cake board
  • Cake turntable
  • 8-inch acrylic disc
  • Parchment paper
  • Cake scraper
  • Offset cake spatula
  • Piping bag
  • Wilton piping tip #12
  • Sliced almonds, for pine cones
  • Fresh cranberries, for garnish
  • Powdered sugar, for garnish
  • Various dragees for garnish
Wide open shot of Eggnog Layer Cake slices.

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Close up of Eggnog Layer Cake layers.

Suggested Recipes

Adapted from Cuisine Holiday Baking Magazine 2014

Eggnog Layer Cake on cake pedestal.

Eggnog Layer Cake

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Three layers of eggnog cake soaked in whiskey simple syrup, filled and frosted with whiskey Swiss meringue buttercream. Festive decorations include fresh rosemary, cranberries and almond pine cones.



  • 3 8-inch round cake pans
  • Nonstick baking spray
  • Stand mixer
  • Candy thermometer
  • Pastry brush
  • 8-inch round cake board
  • Cake turntable
  • 8-inch acrylic disc
  • Parchment paper
  • Cake scraper
  • Offset cake spatula
  • Piping bag
  • Wilton piping tip #12
  • Sliced almonds, for pine cones
  • Fresh cranberries, for garnish
  • Powdered sugar, for garnish
  • Various dragees for garnish


  • 2 ½ cups (10 ounces) cake flour
  • 1 ½ cups (10.5 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) eggnog, divided, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cup (2 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature


  • 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons whiskey


  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons egg whites
  • 1 ¼ cups (8.75 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon sized pieces, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg



  1. Adjust an oven rack to the center position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the inside of 3 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick baking spray and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. In a glass liquid measuring cup, combine the 3 eggs, ½ cup eggnog and vanilla extract.
  3. Add the butter and beat together until the butter covers the dry ingredients. Add the remaining eggnog to the flour mixture and beat together on medium speed until the batter is light and airy, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the egg mixture to the batter in 3 additions, beating on low speed after each addition until combined. Divide batter between prepared cake pans. Spread the batter evenly in the pan and tap the pans on the counter to release air bubbles.
  5. Bake cakes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 25 to 30 minutes, rotating about halfway through baking. Let cakes cool in their pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, then invert onto racks and cool completely.


  1. In a small saucepan combine the sugar and water together and bring to a boil. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the whiskey. Let cool completely before using.


  1. Place egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk them together by hand to combine. Fill a medium saucepan with 1 to 2 inches of water. Heat water over medium-high heat and when the water starts to bubble, place the bowl with the egg white mixture on top, creating a double boiler. Attach a candy thermometer to the bowl and cook until the temperature reaches 160 degrees. Once the egg white mixture reaches 160 degrees, carefully remove the thermometer and attach the bowl to the stand mixer, with the whisk attachment attached. Beat the egg white mixture on high speed for 10 minutes, until it holds medium-stiff peaks. The outside of the bowl should be room temperature at this point.
  2. Replace the whisk attachment with the paddle attachment and on low speed, add the butter a tablespoon at a time, and then add the whiskey and nutmeg. Once combined, increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat until the buttercream is silky and smooth, about 5 minutes.


  1. Place all three cake layers on the counter and with a pastry brush, brush each cake layer with about 2 tablespoons simple syrup. Let cakes sit for 15 minutes so they can absorb the syrup.
  2. Place one cake layer on an 8-inch round cake board and place on a cake turntable. Spread about 1/2 cup buttercream on top, spreading all the way to the edge of the cake in an even layer. Place the second cake layer on top. Spread 1/2 cup buttercream on top in an even layer all the way to the edge of the cake. Place the last cake layer on top (bottom side up). Frost the cake with a thin layer of buttercream, creating a crumb coat and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes or refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  3. Line an 8-inch acrylic disc with parchment paper. Apply a large dollop of buttercream on top of the cake and spread in an even layer all the way out to the edges. Place acrylic disc on top, making sure it lines up with the bottom cake board.
  4. Apply buttercream on the sides of the cake until the bottom cake board is completely covered. Touch your cake scraper to the bottom cake board and top acrylic disc and using the turntable, gently rotate to smooth out the buttercream. Continue this process until the buttercream is completely smooth, applying more buttercream to any gaps in the process. Place cake back in the refrigerator to chill for 15 minutes.
  5. Carefully insert an offset cake spatula under the acrylic disc and gently rotate the turntable until the disc releases.
  6. Smooth out the top of the cake with an offset spatula. Place fresh rosemary on top of the cake off to one side. Place almond pine cones on top. (See blog post for details on how to make almond pine cones.) Pipe a few small dollops of buttercream on top for a decorative finish. Place a few fresh cranberries on top for a pop of color. Sprinkle of few dragees on top and finish off with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.


Cake layers can be made up to 3 days in advance, wrapped in plastic wrap, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Soaking syrup can be made up to 7 days in advence, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Buttercream is best prepared the day of assembly.

Assembled cake can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 438Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 88mgSodium: 395mgCarbohydrates: 62gFiber: 2gSugar: 30gProtein: 8g

*Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary.*

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Tuesday 3rd of December 2019

My husband is a big fan of eggnog so I made this cake for him as soon as eggnog came out in the store this year. He said it was his favorite cake EVER and insisted I make it again for family Thanksgiving. I did use the eggnog in the ganache as you suggested and it turned out great! Thank you for sharing such a delicious and pretty cake!


Tuesday 3rd of December 2019

Thanks for sharing, I wish your recipes would also be in Gramms, for These of US in Europa

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