- 1 3/ 4 cups whole buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder or instant coffee
- 1/ 4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 3/ 4 cups dark brown sugar, lightly packed
- 3 large eggs
- 3/ 4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 3/ 4 cups cake flour, sifted
- 1 3/ 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/ 4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
- 1 1/ 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon meringue powder (optional)
- 1/ 8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/ 3 cup eggnog
- 1 1/ 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 and spray the bottoms of three 8-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray.
In a small saucepan, bring the buttermilk just to a simmer. Remove from the heat and stir in the cardamom, espresso powder and nutmeg. Let steep for about 15 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together the spiced buttermilk, brown sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk by hand for about 1 minute, just until smooth and mostly lump-free.
Divide the batter between the pans and bake on the middle oven rack for about 22-25 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean and the center of the cake springs back when lightly touched. Set the cake pans on a wire rack, cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel, and cool completely before frosting.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter for one minute until smooth. With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar, meringue powder, salt and nutmeg, and mix just to combine. Add the eggnog and vanilla, and beat on medium high for about 4-5 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally, until very light and fluffy.
Fill and frost the cooled cake with the buttercream.