Eggnog Spice Cake (Paleo / Vegan)

Growing up, I really hated eggnog. Every year my uncle would try to convince me to drink it, and I’d turn up my nose. I’d always try a sip, though, hoping I would like it. Eggnog is so Christmassy, and I wanted to join in on the Christmas fun. I liked the ritual of going to the grocery store the day before Christmas Eve specifically to get some holiday nog. As much as I wanted to love it, the taste just didn’t do it for me.


Then, magically, a few years ago I tasted eggnog again and became completely obsessed. It’s funny how our taste buds mature. The eggnog was rich, creamy, and unlike any other drink I had ever tasted. I could never drink a whole glass, though. As much as I love eggnog, it is very heavy, and, like I said, extremely rich. And for me to think that something is too rich — that’s really saying something.

Last year I stumbled across a photo of eggnog cupcakes on Pinterest, and I immediately wanted to make an eggnog spice cake. How good does that sound? Much to my dismay, however, it seemed like most people around me didn’t like eggnog. I hate to make cakes when I don’t think anyone else is going to like them or eat them, so I set the idea aside.

This year, however, I was very much in a “screw it” mood. I have to make my own meal and dessert for Christmas with my extended family, so I figured I might as well make whatever dessert want, even if no one else will eat it. So I made it. In the end, I discovered a lot more people like eggnog than would previously admit…

This cake is a complete contradiction. It’s an eggnog spice cake, but there’s not actually real eggnog in it. It’s a completely vegan, gluten-free, paleo cake. I do this kind of thing to prove to people that food can be gluten-free and dairy-free and you would never know the difference. It tastes like there’s legit eggnog in here. There isn’t. The look of shock on my family and friends’ faces when I told them it was a vegan, gluten-free cake….priceless.

This cake is a little more complex because it requires an extra step – you gotta make the vegan eggnog first! If you’re really lazy, you could probably just use Califia Farms Holiday Nog, which you can find at Whole Foods. I haven’t tried it, but I’m pretty sure it would work. I’d rather make my own, though, because I hate cane sugar. Or, if you don’t care about the cake being dairy-free, you could definitely try using real eggnog! It will taste the same.

Before I had finalized my plan of attack on this cake, I thought I was going to have to come up with a vegan eggnog recipe myself, but I honestly felt pretty crunched for time to recipe test another drink. Luckily, my friend Sapana from Real and Vibrant posted a perfect, easy, dairy-free eggnog recipe on her blog just a few days before I was going to make this. It was fate.

With Sapana’s fabulous dairy-free eggnog recipe in hand, I was all set to go. I wasn’t completely sure how the cake would turn out, but my first bite sealed the deal. I adore this cake almost as much as I love Christmas itself.

First of all, let’s talk about the taste. It honestly tastes like eggnog in cake form. I asked my sister to describe it, and she said, “deliciously unique.” Love it. I mean, I don’t come across many eggnog spice cakes, although I wish I did. It’s also the perfect amount of sweetness, in my opinion. I don’t like cakes that taste like artificial sweetener and cane sugar and plastic frosting. This cake tastes real. It’s sweet enough to be a perfectly satisfying dessert, but not so sweet that you’ll get a massive stomachache and a huge sugar rush afterward.

Next, texture. This cake is extremely moist, creamy, and dense. Because of the texture, though, you do have to be careful when handling the cakes. They’ll break if you’re carelessly tossing them around when you transfer them to a platter to be frosted. It’s worth the extra caution, though, because that texture is UNREAL. You know how really good banana bread is moist and dense and thick and wonderful? It’s like that, but in cake form….and if banana bread tasted like eggnog.

It’s also a little gritty from the coconut sugar and spices, which provides a nice contrast to how soft and moist the rest of the cake is. Trust me, it’s good. I also do this thing where I don’t blend the frosting completely because I like some crunch from the cashew base. That’s a personal preference, though.

The cake lasts well either at room temperature or in the fridge (if you don’t eat it all in one sitting). I actually preferred it cold out of the fridge, though. On the other hand, my sister liked it heated up in the microwave the day after. Basically, you can go either way. If you want the frosting to be hard, I’d recommend storing it in the fridge.

Also, I highly recommend dolloping some vanilla ice cream on top if you have it. So good.

If you like eggnog, you’ll love this. If you don’t eat dairy, then you can still join in on the fun. I know that Christmas is over, but eggnog season doesn’t have to be! This cake was too yummy not to post. I mean, the second I finished it, I immediately made another.

Eggnog Spice Cake (Paleo / Vegan / Gluten-Free) 

Serves: 8-10

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1.5 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot starch
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp pink Himalayan salt or Celtic sea salt
  • 1.5 tsp coconut vinegar (or ACV)
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1 cup vegan eggnog (ingredients: 1/2 cup cashews, 3 dates, 1 can coconut milk, 1 tsp coconut oil, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp pink Himalayan salt)
  • 2 cups filtered water

Frosting:

  • 1 2/3 cup raw cashews (soak them beforehand in filtered water for a few hours if you can)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup vegan eggnog 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cloves

Cake Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350*F. Line two round 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper.
  2. Make your vegan eggnog. (Instructions are found on Sapana’s site. If you have another recipe for eggnog, feel free to use it. This is the only vegan eggnog recipe I’ve tried, though, so I can’t guarantee how it will turn out!)
  3. Add all of the cake ingredients into a large bowl and mix them together thoroughly.
  4. Pour half the batter into the parchment paper of one cake pan, and pour the other half into the parchment paper of the other cake pan. Spread out the batter so it fits the circular shape.
  5. Cook the cakes for about 40-45 minutes, until there are cracks in the tops of the cakes and a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. While the cakes are cooking, make the frosting.
  7. After the cakes are done cooking, allow them to cool for about 20 minutes.
  8. Carefully lift the parchment paper out of the pan and flip the cake onto a plate or cake platter. Be very careful when handling the cake! It’s dense and thin, and you don’t want it to break. Hold the side of the cake that is not touching the parchment paper with your free hand, and flip it quickly.
  9. Frost the top of the first cake layer.
  10. Carefully lift the parchment paper out of the second pan and repeat the same process to flip the second layer onto the first. Frost the top of the second layer, and then frost the sides of the cake. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon.
  11. Slice and enjoy!
  12. You can store leftovers covered in plastic wrap either at room temperature or in the fridge, but I prefer it stored in the fridge so that the frosting stays firmer!

Frosting Instructions:

  1. Add all frosting ingredients to a food processor and process until everything is thoroughly combined.
  2. Place the frosting in the fridge until you’re ready to frost the cake.

Who else loves eggnog?! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me in any photos and let me know what you think!