A poke cake is a dessert made with a light, springy, absorbent sponge drowned in a sweet, milky custard. There’s plenty of versions, but the one you're probably most familiar with is a tres leches cake, which is typically soaked in three milks: sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream. But for this show-stopping dessert, I’ve replaced the creamy mixture with a festive holiday spirit, eggnog. —Grant Melton
freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for topping
store-bought eggnog (or a recipe of your own)
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.
Using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on a high speed. While whipping, slowly sprinkle in the sugar. Continue to whip until all of the sugar has been incorporated and the whites are glossy and frothy, about 2 minutes. Turn down to the lowest speed and add in the egg yolks. Slowly add in the dry ingredients until they’ve all been incorporated. Pour the batter into a shallow 3-quart baking dish.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake. Remove the cake and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
While the cake is cooling, whisk together the eggnog and whiskey. Set aside.
After the cake has cooled for 10 minutes, poke holes in the top of the cake using a wooden skewer or a fork. Pour half of the eggnog mixture onto the cake. Let the cake soak for 15 minutes and then add the rest of the eggnog. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge overnight.
When you’re ready to serve the cake, whip the heavy cream to soft peaks. Whisk in the confectioners sugar and vanilla. Spread the whipped cream over top of the soaked cake and grate nutmeg over the top. Serve with a nip of whiskey!
Grant Melton is an Emmy Award-Winning Producer of the Rachael Ray Show, food writer and recipe developer. He's a contributor to Food52, NYT Cooking and Rachael Ray Every Day Magazine. He loves cookies, cocktails and kindness.