Rich Eggnog Pound Cake with pecan caramel topping is buttery, moist, and filled with festive holiday flavors. It’s perfect for serving to company, and will get rave reviews at all your holiday parties. It’s also great for giving as gifts, and everyone loves a homemade holiday gift.
Eggnog is creamy and has a wonderfully silky mouthfeel, making it perfect for adding to cakes. Eggnog, like cream, adds fats and moisture to baked goods. And, eggnog has all that great flavor to boot!
As the cake bakes, it fills the house with the wonderful smell of the holidays!
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Please let me know if you have any questions about this recipe. I read all the comments myself and I try to help as soon as I can. I have readers from all levels of comfort and experience in the kitchen on my site, and I’ve tried to answer some of your questions already in the post. But if I’ve missed anything, please feel free to leave a comment and ask.
Leftover eggnog recipes
I first made this recipe back in 2010 because I had some leftover eggnog in the fridge, and I asked myself what to do with leftover eggnog.
I had been using the nog as a creamer for my coffee, and wanted something new to do with it.
So, I made these beautiful cakes and served them with Eggnog Ice Cream.
The cake and ice cream were great together. The sweetness of the cake with the richness of the ice cream just made it perfect. This would be great for a holiday birthday cake.
Can I make different sizes of the cake?
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Absolutely! These cakes can be made into whatever size and shape you want. One big bundt pan, yep. You could even use one of those really pretty fluted pans.
Two loaf pans, you betcha.
Smaller loaf pans, like I made: check. I really like these little paper baking pans. They are the perfect size for gift giving to the neighbors or to a favorite teacher or boss. And these pans allow me to save some of the cakes for later, so I don’t eat them all in one day!
Heck, these could even be made into cupcakes.
The baking time will change with each size.
Can I use something other than rum?
Rum and brandy are traditional to eggnog. And I recommend Myer’s Dark Rum for the rum, it has a nice bold flavor and pretty color.
I don’t think anyone even drinks brandy anymore! Maybe it’s time for a brandy comeback! LOL
Feel free to use bourbon or whiskey in the topping instead.
But, if you don’t want to use any alcohol, feel free to use pure vanilla extract in the same amount.
What kind of eggnog should I use?
I recommend using a good quality full fat dairy eggnog for this pound cake. Please don’t use a reduced fat eggnog, as the texture and flavor of the cake will not be as good.
That being said, use your favorite brand.
You can use store-bought eggnog. Or try a homemade eggnog. My mom always made the best eggnog. I have to get her recipe for you.
Can these be made ahead?
Yes, these cakes stay fresh for several days. Cover them with plastic or keep them in an airtight container to keep them moist. They can be stored on the counter for 3 or 4 days. Or store them in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
Want to keep them for longer? They freeze beautifully! Wrap them in parchment paper, then in plastic wrap and pop them into the freezer. To defrost, simply let them sit in the fridge so they gently defrost. Or, for a quicker defrost, place them on the counter.
How do you make eggnog cakes?
Butter the pans or spray them with nonstick spray.
I used 6 smaller paper loaf pans. I’ll be giving some of the cakes away as gifts, and these paper pans are perfect for gift giving. I have a link below to buy some of these cake pans for your own holiday baking.
Beat butter, sugar, nutmeg, and salt until light and fluffy
Add eggs in one at a time
Make sure you measure your flour correctly. First, sift or stir the flour to incorporate some air into it. Then use a spoon to lightly scoop the flour out of its container into a measuring cup. Fill the measuring cup until it’s over-flowing. Use the back of a knife to level the flour.
Scooping the cup into the flour to fill it can result in up to 25% more flour, and a much dryer cake.
Whisk flour and baking powder together, add in sections alternatively with eggnog until combined
Bake until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. The cake is done with no crumbs or dry crumbs are on the skewer.
Don’t overcook the cakes. And make sure that your oven is at the correct temperature. You may need to get an oven thermometer to check.
Melt butter. Stir in the brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt until sugar dissolves
Bring to a boil until it hits soft ball stage
Remove from heat, add nuts and rum and stir. The mixture will bubble up quite a bit
Pour immediately over the top of the cakes
Pro tips about making the topping
Spray the measuring cup with non-stick cooking spray before you pour in the corn syrup. It’ll just slide right out of that cup when you’re ready to pour it in!
A note on corn syrup
Keep in mind that Karo’s corn syrup is not the same thing as high fructose corn syrup that was such a problem a few years back.
The corn syrup is used in this recipe to soften the texture of the caramel, add volume, and prevent crystallization of the sugar. The recipe will not be as good without it; please don’t leave it out.
What if I don’t have a candy thermometer?
I’m a really big fan of the candy thermometer. I really believe they help you get a great quality dessert. So, I think you should buy one! I have links below for kitchen tools you may need for this recipe.
If you can’t buy one but still want to make these, you can do the water test. Prepare a bowl of ice water and drop a small amount of the caramel into the water. If it forms a small ball and remains soft and malleable it is at softball temp.
Kitchen tools you may need for this recipe
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Eggnog Pound Cake Recipe
Eggnog Pound Cake
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon rum
- ½ cup toasted chopped pecans
- Preheat the oven to 350° F, and butter, or spray with nonstick spray, the pan(s) of your choice: a large (10") tube or bundt-style pan; two 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pans; or six small loaf pans (about 3 1/2" x 7").
- Beat the butter, sugar, nutmeg, and salt until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- In a seperate bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder together. Add the dry ingredients to the batter alternately with the eggnog, 1/3 at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour or spoon the batter into the pan(s).
- Bake 60 to 65 minutes for the large loaves or tube pan, or 30 to 35 minutes for the small loaf pans, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, turn it out onto a rack set atop parchment, to catch any of the topping drips.
- Melt the butter, and stir in the brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring the mixture to a boil, and continue to boil for several minutes, until it reaches 240° F (soft ball stage) on a candy or instant-read thermometer. Add the flavor and nuts, and pour the toffee topping over the cake. Cool completely before serving.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations, and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.