Eggnog Coffee Cake Saga

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I subscribe to Food Network Magazine. A few times a year I pour over the recipes with excited anticipation, all of them surrounding holiday celebrations which I take very seriously in our home. Christmas is my favorite.

When I came across a recipe for Eggnog Coffee Cake in the 2017 December edition I knew I had to try it. (Recipe HERE.) This recipe struck me as very well written from a cake perspective as it called for an entire cup of sour cream which lends a wonderful firmness to the texture (perfect for dunking in coffee) and moisture for days.

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I’ve never made coffee cake that I can recall. I can barely remember eating coffee cake but everything I do remember had to do with the wonderful crumbly-crunchy cinnamon topping that never seemed quite thick enough for my taste.

I set out eggs, butter and sour cream to come to room temperature.  Go to fetch and prepare my springform pan per recipe instructions only to discover ~ I don’t OWN a springform pan!! (And I’m opening a bakery! haha!)

No problem, I’m 6 minutes from several really good cookwares stores so off to shop I go.

I mix the batter, fill my shiny new pan, bake the cake, swoon over the delightful golden crumbly-crunchy topping, take some photos with my brand-spanking-new Nikkor lens purchased for food photography…and *SIGH*. I forgot the eggnog drizzle. And we’ve all had a slice.

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The next day I wake up with renewed enthusiasm, pour over the recipe deciding on adjustments to make to better suit my tastes. Set out more eggs, more butter, more sour cream…low and behold I’m fresh out of flour!!! What kind of a baker runs out of flour?! (Amateur!)

50 pounds of flour later I’m ready to give it another go, bonus my cold ingredients are room temperature.

Upon prepping my pan for the second time I learned why it was so hard to clean the baked crumbs out of the lip on the bottom insert. I previously assembled my springform pan incorrectly. See the little lip in the rim? That goes underneath when assembled correctly. The handy little brand name stamp could have helped, if I’d noticed, but I learn quick.

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I mix up the batter, fill the pan, bake the cake, swoon over the delightful golden…what’s this?! I completely forgot the crumb topping! Powdered sugar to the rescue. And another slight tweak of the recipe.

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The third time I baked it I got the eggnog out of the fridge, but friends, unbelievably it is EXPIRED! By about 3 weeks. Seriously?! What are the odds? Ok it is towards the end of January and I bought the eggnog before Christmas so this likely should have come as no surprise.

Did you know that eggnog is not actually stocked in grocery stores towards the end of January? I didn’t. So there I am in my friendly neighborhood grocery store scouring Pinterest for homemade eggnog recipes to at least go home with ingredients.

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There are gourmet eggnog recipes that involve both cooking egg yolks, sugar milk and cream as well as whipping egg whites plus sugar to soft peaks before gently combining. Then there is the one I settled upon involving nothing trickier than heating whole eggs, milk, cream and sugar to 160º before adding nutmeg and vanilla. Done. Perfect for a drizzle. And really perfect for drinking, even uncomplicated eggnog is completely amazing as compared to most commercially prepared brands.

So I drizzled, I photographed, I sliced and I ate. It was fantastic. My husband and I each had a small wedge of cake before heading out to brunch. We drove to a well-stocked international grocery store and by the time we realized we hadn’t eaten our brunch it was about 3:00 in the afternoon! Is coffee cake always this filling??

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To test the theory that possibly we were simply distracted I called my 18 year old son, who also enjoyed a slice. Amazingly enough he had also forgotten to eat! Now THAT’S worth remembering.

I love coffee cake! It’s a fantastic hostess gift, a delightful day-after-party breakfast cake would always be appropriate. Perfect for snacking when you want a little something sweet. Not to mention a wonderful mildly indulgent weekend breakfast treat.

I suspect this recipe would freeze beautifully to have on hand and I intend on testing that theory out. I am definitely going to master several variations. I even went to a health food store to purchase whey protein powder meant for baking, no fillers, no flavorings, to bump the quality of the treat up a tad.

Eggnog coffee cake for the win!

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For fun here is the eggnog recipe I used and a link to the original inspiration recipe HERE.

6 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pour the milk and cream into a heavy bottom sauce pan set to medium, stir occasionally while prepping the eggs.

In a bowl whisk the eggs well to break them up. Add the sugar and salt into the eggs stirring until smooth and creamy.

IF your milk mixture has become too warm and slight bubbles appear around the edges of the pan you will want to temper the eggs. While whisking the eggs continuously, slowly pour a single ladle of warmed milk and cream into the eggs to bring their temperature up without cooking. I cook mise en place (everything measured before I begin the cook process) so I did not need to temper my eggs.

Move back to whisking the milk and cream and, while whisking continuously, slowly pour the egg mixture into the warming milk and cream.

Stir continuously until the temperature reaches 160º on a candy or instant read digital thermometer.

Take off the heat, add vanilla and nutmeg and allow to cool enough to pour into a mason jar or other container and refrigerate until cold. Shake well each time you pour, I would say it would keep for up to a week. If it lasts that long.

I didn’t make other variations and can’t speak to substitutions because this is the first time I’ve ever made eggnog, but of course there is wiggle room with the amount of sugar and more cream vs. milk will result in a richer eggnog. I might even consider adding 2 additional egg yolks next time, just to see. The specialty brand I buy is a little richer and creamier than this turned out but the flavor of this one is completely divine. No doubt the high quality of the Madagascar Bourbon vanilla I use and the addition of freshly grated nutmeg contributed quite a bit.

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In the interest of science I had a slice every day for 4 days, just to see if it would really last a whole weekend. Indeed for 3 of those days it was quite tasty and not at all dry. On day 4 I would suggest crumbling a wedge into a bowl and serving with a light pour of milk. But who am I kidding? The only reason it lasted 4 days was because I told my family they could only touch it if I served it so I could hoard slices for myself to “test”. And I’ll stick to that reason going forward because it worked.

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The eggnog by itself can of course be served warm and a little bit of a good Kentucky bourbon might be a nice addition on a cold winter’s night.

Be blessed!
Michelle

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