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honey sour cream cake with eggnog buttercream

Our New Year's Eve was relaxing, yet somehow oddly productive. Cooking, baking, laundry, reading, playing, clothes sorting, and general cleaning all somehow have their place in the comfort of our daily routine. I'm not one for proclaiming resolutions on the cusp of a new year; I do know that I want to continue becoming the best version of myself and to keep encouraging my children to do the same. I find that when I intentionally purge a room of excess items, when I minimize the clutter, I feel more calm. So I'll continue to minimize where I can - not just in physical spaces, but mentally and emotionally as well. I truly feel that if we are resolute in taking care of ourselves, in every aspect, then we will be kinder, calmer humans and better examples for our children. So here's to 2018 - to cake, kindness, time with our families, and self love.

Last week I made a layer cake that I've made before - this Honey Sour Cream Cake - and then I wrapped and froze it until I decided what I wanted to do with it. I had wanted to try making an eggnog buttercream frosting for New Year's Eve, and because we had so much leftover eggnog just waiting to be drunk, this was the perfect opportunity to use it in a dessert. The cake has a wonderful, moist texture and a firm but tender crumb. If you bake it and decide to freeze the layers until future use, let them cool completely and then wrap each individually in plastic wrap. Whenever you're ready to assemble the cake, place the wrapped layers in the refrigerator to thaw overnight.

Note that this cake recipe makes four (8-inch) cake layers. I only used three of the layers for this cake. You can assemble the cake with all four layers, or simply freeze the last layer for another time.

For the Eggnog Buttercream:

This buttercream has a beautifully smooth and silky texture, and a nice pop of holiday flavor thanks to a generous amount of fragrant nutmeg and a hint of rum extract. Your non-eggnog-loving people may be pleasantly surprised to find that this frosting does not taste overwhelmingly of eggnog, but rather a vanilla frosting with a little something extra....

Yields: enough buttercream to frost 3 (8-inch) cake layers

2 sticks softened unsalted butter
2 heaping cups powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp rum extract
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp coarse kosher salt
4 to 5 tbsp standard eggnog (avoid the flavored ones)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter until whipped and fluffy. Add the remaining ingredients and beat for 3 or 4 minutes until smooth.

Taste it - add a bit more nutmeg or rum extract if you want even more depth of flavor.

Store the frosted cake in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to a week.