Well, how did it go? Christmas, I mean. Whether you celebrate or not, I hope these last few days have been absolutely grand. I haven’t posted in a while -a long while- which I didn’t quite realize until I started writing this post. Five days ago.

Yep, five days. I am a really slow typist to be sure, but things got in the way and in lieu of eating and drinking in the manner I am accustomed at this time of year, I was busy with a sick kiddo, then a sick me. We are now weighing in at “passable” on the feeling again like humans scale. National Eggnog Day came and went and here we are.

For eggnog this actually works for me. I am absolutely not done with it yet. If you are a little like me, you may already be planning your annual eggnog-flavored coffee creamer stash, now that the pumpkin spice creamer you hoarded a month ago has dwindled. I understand and am totally with you.

I’m not one to pour a bunch of eggnog into a cake recipe because though it can work beautifully, frankly I would rather just drink that. This pound cake recipe piles in the flavor from the cake to the soak, to the glaze on top. What you get is decidedly quite noggy, keeps well, and makes a nice post-holiday hostess gift. Or boozy breakfast. Your choice.

Tipsy Eggnog Pound Cake

1 c. (two sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 c. cream cheese
3 c. sugar
5 eggs, room temperature
3 c. cake flour, sifted
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon extract
1 tsp. almond extract
2 tsp rum
1 Tbsp brandy
1 c. sour cream

1/2 c.powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. brandy
Pinch kosher salt
water, as needed

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 325F.
Prepare one bundt cake pan, two loaf pans, or four to six mini loaf pans prior to mixing. (I spray mine with pan spray, line with parchment, then lightly spray the paper.)

Sift the flour, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg together and set aside.
Cream the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add the sugar a cup at a time on low speed. Kick the speed up to medium-high and cream until the mixture takes on a thick, mayonnaise-like texture.
Add the eggs one by one, allowing each to incorporate fully before adding the next. Scrape the bowl down with a rubber spatula.
Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until almost fully incorporated. Scrape the bowl down again.
Mix the extracts, rum, brandy, and sour cream together. Add the mixture to the cake batter and fold in by hand with the rubber spatula.
Pour the batter into your prepared pan(s) and smooth the top. Bake until the middle springs back when pressed. This will take up to 70 minutes for a bundt or larger loaf, closer to 45 minutes for smaller loafs.

This part is optional- if you want a boozier cake, combine 1/2 c. water, 1/2 c. sugar, and a small pinch of salt in a small pan and bring up to a simmer. Once the sugar is fully dissolved, remove from heat. Add brandy, to taste. While the cake is still very warm, brush the brandy mixture on, allowing each application to soak in before adding the next.

With a wire whisk, combine the powdered sugar, brandy, and salt. Add the water a few drops at a time until you get a thick, ropy texture. Dip a spoon into the glaze and waggle it over the cake to create stripes.

Eat with reckless abandon. IMG_20151226_171605148

Hey over there! So, is it feeling a little like the calm before the storm over where you are? Literally, the world, after you stop looking at the news and Facebook and breath some of that outside air seems a little quieter and calmer. Maybe it’s just me. Entirely possible. Walking around town yesterday morning with a thick mist hanging over everything sounded just the same as when snow starts coming down in earnest, and when you go outside and shut the door behind you and just stand… well it sounded just like that.

Processed with VSCO

Processed with VSCO

It won’t last for long, so if you’re feeling it too, drink it in and keep it stored for when the holiday rush toward whatever comes.
It is National Brownie Day, and it is no accident that the goodies pictured here are so dark. They are the deepest, richest, darkest brownies I have in my collection. I kind of love them.
If you are not 100% familiar with pain d’epices, think of it as the French version of gingerbread. Not the cookie, either, but an actual slice-able loaf of deeply spiced yumminess.
The brownie version I have for you today gets its flavor from all of the spices typically found in pain d’epices- cinnamon, cardamon, honey, rye flour and from extra-dark cocoa powder, and I am unabashedly borrowing a few ingredient proportions from this NYTimes/Violet Bakery recipe, here.

Pain d’Epices Brownies

11 Tbsp. unsalted butter
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped small
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped small
1 1/2 c. dark rye flour
1/2 c. dark cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp. finely ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. ground cardamon
1/4 tsp. ground anise
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 large eggs
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. honey
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp grated orange peel

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Line a 9″ x 13″ sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.


Melt the butter and both chocolates in a bowl set over a double boiler. Once melted, remove from heat and keep warm.
Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and all of the spices together and set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, honey, vanilla, and orange peel. Whisk vigorously to combine.
Pour the warm chocolate mixture into the eggs and whisk/fold to combine completely.
Sift the dry ingredients once more, on top of the chocolate mixture. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold the ingredients together until just combined.
Pour into the paper-lined pan and smooth the top.
Bake on the middle rack of the oven until the edges are set and the middle is very soft under a dry surface, about 15-18 minutes.
Cool to room temperature before cutting into pieces, then sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top and eat with reckless abandon.