This Simple, Luscious Cake Will Convert Anyone into an Eggnog Lover

Sure to put you in the holiday spirit.

December 20, 2018
Photo by Bobbi Lin

Do you ever daydream about competing on the Great British Baking Show? Just imagining what it might be like to bake in giant tent in a sprawling meadow, complete with a babbling brook and lambs roaming about? Have you ever wondered what it might be like to listen to Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood judge your show-stopping dessert in front of an entire country, and later, the entire world on Netflix?

No? Well, I have. Often.

While watching the GBB Holiday special on Netflix recently, I couldn’t help but think of what I’d make for Paul and Prue if I were challenged to make a holiday sponge cake. My answer: Eggnog Poke Cake.

A poke cake is a dessert made with light, springy sponge drowned in a sweet custard. There are plenty of varieties out there, but the one you're probably most familiar with is the tres leches cake, which is typically soaked in three milks: sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream. It's a cake I love it for entertaining because it's great made ahead and serves a crowd. But for this show-stopping dessert, I’ve replaced the creamy mixture with a festive holiday spirit, eggnog.

I prefer using a store-bought eggnog to soak my cake. There are plenty of high-quality brands in the supermarket, like Horizon Organic, Ronnybrook Farms, or Trader Joe’s. Plus, whenever I find an opportunity to save time during the busy holiday season, I take it. If you do plan on making your own eggnog, just make a little extra and set aside for this cake.

I always add a little bourbon to make my eggnog merry and bright. I like the way bourbon's smokiness highlights the warming cinnamon and nutmeg. If you’re not a fan of bourbon, whiskey, rum, or brandy would all work nicely, too.

Right before serving, I top the cake with a fluffy layer of sweet whipped cream and a flurry of cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg. And, of course, serve the creamy, custardy cake with a little nip of bourbon.

What’s the verdict from Paul and Prue? Prue loves the booze...she always does. It was a surefire hit to begin with. Paul, a renowned stickler for sponge, praises it. (Whew!) So much so, that I receive highly coveted “Hollywood handshake.” I is a daydream after all. And a very sweet one at that.

Tell us: What's your show-stopping dessert? Would it impress Paul and Prue?

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Grant Melton is an Emmy Award-Winning producer, recipe developer and food writer. His favorite food is chocolate chip cookies (with salt.)