Eggnog layer cake

Eggnog layer cake
  • Serves icon Serves 12
  • Time icon Hands-on time 1 hour, oven time 30-35 min, plus chilling

Decadent and devilishly boozy, this Christmassy, show-stopping layer cake is strictly adults only. Slice through rum-laced eggnog frosting to reveal a rich chocolatey interior, with more eggnog custard. It’s a triumph.

Ingredients

  • 1½ tbsp instant espresso powder dissolved in 250ml boiling water
  • 150g dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids), chopped into chunks
  • 250g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 50g cocoa powder, plus extra to dust
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g soft light brown sugar
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 150g buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 280g plain flour
  • 2½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the eggnog custard

  • 600ml whole milk
  • 1 halved vanilla pod, split, seeds scraped
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 6 tbsp cornflour
  • 8 large free-range eggs yolks 
200ml double cream
  • 4 tbsp rum or bourbon
  • 1/2 whole nutmeg, finely grated

You’ll also need… 

  • 3 x 20cm non-stick sandwich tins, greased and lined with non-stick baking paper

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. In a large pan over a low heat, gently warm the coffee, chocolate and butter until the chocolate melts.
  2. Mix the cocoa powder and sugars in a large mixing bowl, breaking up any lumps. Using a balloon whisk, gradually whisk the melted chocolate mixture into the bowl. Add the eggs, whisking until thick and smooth, then whisk in the buttermilk, vanilla extract, flour and bicarb of soda.
  3. Divide the batter equally among the 3 tins and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer pushed into the centre comes out clean. Leave for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
  4. Meanwhile make the filling.Heat the milk and vanilla seeds and pod in a pan until just starting to steam. In a medium heatproof bowl, using a balloon whisk, beat the sugar, cornflour and egg yolks until thick and creamy. Slowly whisk in the warm milk mixture until smooth.
  5. Return the mix to the pan and put over a low heat, stirring all the time, for 10-15 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat and discard the vanilla pod. Pour the custard into a lipped baking tray and leave to cool.
  6. Whisk the double cream to soft peaks. When the custard is cold, spoon into a large mixing bowl and beat using a balloon whisk until smooth. Gently whisk in the whipped cream, then stir in the rum/bourbon and nutmeg. Chill for at least 
15 minutes.
  7. When the cakes are cool, Split the eggnog filling in half (keep the other half in the fridge until you need it) and spread it between the chocolate layers. Chill in the fridge for 15 minutes. Generously spread the remaining chilled egg nog filling all over the cake, the top and sides. Put the cake in the fridge for 60 minutes to set. Sieve a little cocoa powder or icing sugar over the top of the cake before serving. Keep the cake in the fridge to prevent the icing from becoming too gooey.

delicious. tips

  1. Freeze leftover egg whites in a freezer bag marked with the date and number of whites and use within 3 months.

  2. Make the sponges up to 48 hours ahead, cool and wrap in cling film and keep in an airtight tin. The filling can be made up to 24 hours ahead and kept in a sealed container. The cake will keep for 3-4 days, covered in the fridge.

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