Eggnog Sponge Cake with Eggnog or Cream Cheese Frosting

single layer 9” round

This recipe uses cake flour rather than all-purpose flour for a finer crumb, although you could use all-purpose in a pinch. Use any kind of prepared dairy eggnog you like: made with whole milk and cream, low-fat milk or non-fat milk. If you would add more nutmeg before serving the eggnog to drink, then do use it in the cake too. If you have questions about the recipe you can go to the FAQ here.



  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Grease a 9” round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, cut to fit. Flour the sides and bottom of the greased pan. Set aside in a cool area.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, plus the optional nutmeg if desired. Set aside.
  4. With an electric stand mixer on medium-high speed, beat the eggs for about 1 minute. Lower the speed and slowly add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is thick and pale, and falls from the beater(s) in a thick ribbon, about 2 to 4 minutes.
  5. In a small saucepan, cut the butter into bits and heat the butter and eggnog until the butter melts and the mixture is very hot, starting to bubble but not quite boiling.
  6. In a slow, steady stream at low speed, beat the hot eggnog mixture into the egg/sugar mixture. (Use a heat-resistant spatula or spoon to scrape the pan.) Then add the vanilla extract and mix until blended. The batter will be very thin.
  7. If you are using an electric stand mixer, keep it on the lowest speed, and add the flour mixture 2 heaping tablespoons at a time, allowing a few seconds between additions. -OR- If you are mixing by hand, add the flour mixture all at once, folding it in with a rubber spatula just until blended.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cake pulls away form the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean with only one or two crumbs sticking to it.
  9. Place the pan on a wire rack and cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the outer cake edge to separate it from the pan edges, then turn out the cake top down onto a plate to remove the paper, and flip the cake back onto the rack topside up to cool completely, at least 1 hour.
  10. Frost the cake with Eggnog Frosting or Cream Cheese Frosting.

Eggnog Frosting

makes enough for a single cake layer

With an electric mixer beat the butter until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract, then gradually add the eggnog until a smooth consistency for spreading with a spatula.

Cream-Cheese Frosting – adapted from The Fanny Farmer Baking Book

makes about 1 cup to frost a single cake layer

Combine the cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl or the bowl of a food processor. Beat well or process until perfectly smooth and spreadable.

FAQs about Eggnog Sponge Cake

Q. Can I use all-purpose flour instead of cake flour?

A. Yes, you can use the same amount of all-purpose flour as cake flour, but the crumb or the texture of the cake will be less fine, and the cake may not rise as much, but DO NOT use bread flour or self-rising flour.

Q. Can I use regular milk instead of eggnog?

A. Yes. This recipe is an adaptation of a hot-milk sponge cake recipe, using hot eggnog instead of hot milk. Just add 1/8 teaspoon each of cinnamon and ginger and ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg to the flour in step #3 for flavor.

Q. What kind of baking pan should I use?

A. I’ve had the best results with a 9” round by 1 5/8” tall metal cake pan with straight sides and lips on the sides to hold onto when putting it into and taking it out of the oven. The pan has a non-stick finish. Note that the pan does still have to be greased and floured, and the bottom lined with parchment paper in spite of the non-stick finish.

Q. Do I have to line the cake pan bottom with parchment paper?

A. Yes. If the bottom of the cake pan is not lined, you will have a devil of a time trying to get the cake out of the pan! Even if you use a spring-form cake pan without lining the bottom, the cake will still stick. If you don’t have parchment paper, you can use regular waxed paper in a pinch, but parchment is preferable because it is a bit thicker and is therefore easier to peel off the bottom of the baked cake.

Q. Can I double the recipe for a bigger cake?

A. If you want to make two 9” cake layers, certainly, just switch the placement of the cake pans halfway through baking. But if you want to make a large rectangular cake or a tube cake, the baking time will be longer and since I haven’t made the cake in those sizes myself, I can’t give you much more insight.

Q. How much trouble can I get into if I change the recipe slightly?

A. I tried many variations on this recipe before arriving at one that produces good results every time. No doubt it can be improved, but please try it exactly as described before venturing off into the unknown!

Any further questions may be directed to jhoffman AT rpa DOT net with “Eggnog Cake” in the subject line.