“This stunning holiday cake is the next best thing to eggnog in a cup. The dense yet tender cake highlights the incomparable flavor of eggnog, while rum, nutmeg, and currants add a complementary dimension. Bake it in your favorite patterned Bundt pan or tube tube, and brush the cake with the rum glaze while it’s still warm. As the cake cools, the crystallized topping clings attractively to the crevices and them crinkles, creating a special effect.” –Flo Braker
Eggnog Pound Cake
Special Equipment: 10-by-3-inch Bundt pan or a 10-by-4 1/4-inch tube pan (with or without a removable bottom)
For the pound cake
Scant 1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) currants
2 tablespoons dark rum or water, at room temperature
3 cups (13 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
8 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
2 cups (14 ounces) granulated sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup (8 fluid ounces) refrigerated eggnog, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the crystal rum glaze
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons dark rum
2 tablespoons water
Make the eggnog pound cake
1. Center a rack in the oven and crank up the heat to 350°F (175°C) or, if the pan has a dark finish, 325°F (160°C). Butter a 10-by-3-inch Bundt pan or a 10-by-4 1/4-inch tube pan (with or without a removable bottom) and then flour it, tapping out any excess flour. (If your pan has an intricate design or detail, take the extra precaution of spreading it first with solid vegetable shortening, followed by a coating of nonstick spray, and then a dusting of flour to ensure the finished cake releases in one piece.)
2. Combine the currants and rum in a small bowl. Let them soak for 15 minutes.
3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.
4. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-low speed until creamy and smooth, 30 to 45 seconds. Add the sugar in a steady stream and continue to beat on medium speed until light in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer still on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated and stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
5. On the lowest speed, add the flour mixture in 4 additions alternately with the eggnog in 3 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and mixing after each addition just until incorporated. Stop the mixer as needed to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla and mix just until combined. Detach the paddle and bowl from the mixer, and tap the paddle against the side of the bowl to free the excess batter. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the currants and any remaining rum. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly with the spatula.
6. Bake the cake just until the top springs back when lightly touched in the center and the sides are beginning to come away from the pan, 50 to 65 minutes. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes while you prepare the glaze.
Make the crystal rum glaze and glaze the cake
7. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, rum, and water and stir with a rubber spatula just until blended.
8. Tilt and rotate the cake pan while gently tapping it on a counter to help release the cake. Invert a wire rack on top of the pan, invert the cake onto the rack, and carefully remove the pan. Slide a sheet of waxed paper under the rack.
9. Using a pastry brush, coat the top and sides of the warm cake with the glaze, using every last drop. Let the cake cool completely before serving. To serve, slide the base of a tart pan, a small rimless baking sheet, or a large offset spatula under the cake and carefully transfer it to a serving platter. Thinly slice the cake with a sharp or serrated knife.
Adapted from Flo Braker, Baking for All Occasions (Chronicle Books, 2008)