Eggnog cake with blueberries and cream

I know, I know – eggnog is a wintery, Christmas treat, something that you sip after a day of skiing, curled up next to the fireplace with a book.  Even though there are still some forgotten holiday decorations scattered here and there at our house, I vaguely noticed the holidays are over. (I openly admit, I’m not a decorator. It seems like the minute I took the decorations down and carefully packed them away, it’s already time to bring them out again. In my dream life, I’d just keep one room in Christmas mode, another one would house all the porcelain bunnies, chicks, and silk daffodils, and the last one would be all scary, with bony skeletons, pumpkins, and dreadful, dusty cobwebs. Oh wait, we kind of already have that one.) Anyway, that way I’d be done with “decorating” and we’d just go from room to room as the seasons dictate. It’s important to keep your priorities straight – no decorating means more time for baking, right?!  But I digress. Back to the eggnog, shall we?

Ever since my friend taught me how to make homemade eggnog, there are holidays whenever we want at our house. (If you’ve never tried homemade eggnog, you absolutely should. Here is a good recipe). With the exception of pasta, we pour it in and on everything – cakes, bread and rice puddings, coffee, and straight down our throats, of course. This cake has it all – soft yellow cake base, enriched with eggnog, contrasting fruity layer made with fresh blueberries, and luscious sweet cream with tiny “lagoons” of eggnog on top. I chose blueberries today, just because I had them on hand, but I imagine raspberries or strawberries would work just as well.

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Eggnog Cake with Blueberries and Cream

Cake:

  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 2 tablespoons eggnog
  • 160 g (5.5 oz.) caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon each vanilla extract and lemon zest
  • 135 g (5 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 70 g (2.5 oz.) cornstarch
  • 1/2 t salt 1 t baking powder

Blueberry jelly:

  • 200 g (7 oz.) blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 200 g (7 oz.) sugar
  • 500 ml (2 cups) water
  • 80 g (3 oz.) cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • juice of 1 lemon

Cream layer:

  • 500 ml (2 cups) heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 3 teaspoons cold water

+ 100 ml (3 oz.) eggnog
cornstarch for thickening
melted chocolate for decoration

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Line standard 9 x 13 cake pan with parchment paper, and grease the sides. (I used an oblong springform pan).
  2. In a bowl of your stand mixer beat the eggs with sugar, hot water, eggnog, vanilla, and lemon zest until thick and golden-yellow. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients, and lightly combine them with the egg mixture. Pour into the lined pan, smooth out, and bake for about 15 minutes, or until it springs back to the touch. Let cool slightly, then take out of the pan and remove the baking paper. Cool completely.
  3. For the fruit layer, combine all the ingredients in a blender, and cook on a medium heat for about 5 minutes (the “jelly” will clear and thicken). Still warm spread on a cooled cake and chill.
  4. Whipped cream layer: Combine gelatin and water and let stand for couple of minutes, until the gelatin absorbs the water and “blooms”. Then carefully heat the mixture in a water bath until hot to dissolve the gelatin (don’t cook). Let cool to room temperature. When the gelatin mixture is cool but still liquid, whisk the cream with sugar until soft peaks form, then, still whisking, slowly add the gelatin mixture, and beat until the cream reaches stiff peaks. Spread onto a cooled blueberry layer.
  5. With a small teaspoon, emboss tiny “lagoons” into a cream layer. Thicken eggnog with a little cornstarch, and fill the lagoons. Decorate with melted chocolate if desired.
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