“White Christmas” by Katie Stymiest
Living in Northern British Columbia, Canada, in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, I’ve never had to dream about a white Christmas. It’s always been white. Growing up we were lucky if we made it to the end of October without snow. As I write this now, I am looking out my back deck on a field of white. Pine trees are drooping low under the weight of the snow. Little icicles hang off my house eaves like tiny rods of glimmering sunlight. And the barren branches that once held autumns leaves are now beautifully encrusted with frozen snowflakes that glimmer like diamonds when the sun catches them. There is beauty in the deepest coldest part of winter. Something so magical and pure as you watch dainty snowflakes flutter to the ground creating an expanse of white as far as the eye can see. It truly is the most magical time of the year. It’s no wonder that every time I hear the first few notes of “White Christmas” come on the radio (yes, I still listen to the radio) that I immediately start humming along. I’m swept up in a world of sledding, snowman-building, eggnog, and warming little hands and feet fireside.
The song “White Christmas” isn’t the only thing to speak “Christmas” to me but eggnog and cranberry do as well. Something about the warm spices in eggnog and the tartness of cranberry that pair so wonderfully together. I decided to use both of these Christmas-esque flavours to inspire this Salted Cranberry Eggnog Cake. And because I know that, however grand this holiday season is, life can get a bit hectic so I’ve tried to keep this recipe as simple as possible.
The foundation of this cake starts with the eggnog layers. It’s actually just my plain ol’ jane ol’ vanilla cake recipe but with eggnog is place of the buttermilk and an extra dash of cinnamon and nutmeg. See…I told you…simple. The buttercream is a classic American buttercream with a cranberry twist. Again, for the sake of simplicity, I used store-bought canned whole cranberry sauce. Add that to the buttercream with an extra teaspoon of salt and you have this deliciously easy salted cranberry buttercream that has these tiny little flecks of berry in it that will make your cake-loving heart swoon. Now here is where I took a bit of creative liberty: I created my own mix with Sprinkle Pop’s “Winter Wonderland” and “Rockefeller” together. The monochromatic vibes of “Winter Wonderland” have the perfect White Christmas feel and the pops of red in “Rockefeller” were the contrast this cake needed to showcase those crimson cranberry flecks. I hope this Salted Cranberry Eggnog Cake finds you enjoying a festive season full of family and friends and, of course, a very merry White Christmas.
Salted Cranberry Eggnog Cake
1 ¾ cups sugar
½ cup oil
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup full-fat sour cream
2 ½ cups cake flour, sifted
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 ¼ cups eggnog
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare 3 6-inch cake pans. In the bowl of a stand mixer add the sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla, and sour cream. Mix until fully incorporated. Add the cake flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and begin to mix on low. As the batter in mixing slowly pour in the eggnog and mix until fully incorporated. Divide the batter equally into the cake pans and bake for 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with just a few crumbs. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Invert pans onto a cooling rack and let cakes fully cool.
Salted Cranberry Buttercream:
2 cups salted butter, room temperature
8 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp sea salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup canned whole berry cranberry sauce
In the bowl of a stand mixer use the paddle attachment to cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add in the powdered sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and cranberry sauce and mix on low until fully incorporated. Turn the mixer on high and let it mix for 5 minutes.
1. Place one leveled layer of eggnog cake on a stand, plate, or turntable. Top with approximately ¾ cup of salted cranberry buttercream.
2. Repeat with remaining layers and apply a thin coat of buttercream all over the cake. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
3. Cover the cake with another layer of buttercream and smooth sides.
4. Using a Wilton 1m tip fitted in an icing bag, pipe a double ruffle border around the bottom of the cake and top with swirls.
5. Decorate with Sprinkle Pop “Winter Wonderland” and “Rockefeller” sprinkles. Combined they will create a wonderfully White Christmas cake.
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