Christmas Buttermilk Cake with Eggnog Icing

This festive Christmas buttermilk cake is a great dessert for any holiday gathering. With its red and green colors it is sure to be a prefect conversation starter. 

After Thanksgiving ends all of the Christmas cheer starts, well for some people it might start before Thanksgiving. This cake is one of my favorite ways to kick off my holiday baking. Either decorated with red and green icing or using the food coloring to color the cake itself you cannot go wrong with this desert. Topped with an eggnog buttercream frosting to nicely add to the holiday flavors. 

In the buttermilk cake

This recipe is a great use of some of that extra buttermilk you might have after making pancakes or waffles with the family. If not then it is a great excuse to buy some buttermilk. This secret weapon is great to add a hint of flavor and keep a cake nice and moist. The acid in buttermilk is also great for activating the baking powder in this recipe. 

Ingredients for buttermilk cake on a wooden cutting board
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Everything at room temperature

When making this cake it is very important to make sure that all of the ingredients are at room temperature. By doing so allows the ingredients to mix evenly. This will ensure that you get a nice and soft cake with a fine crumb. Also this will stop the batter from breaking. Breaking happens when you add cold ingredients such as eggs to room temperature butter. It makes the butter seize and look like the batter has curdled. Once the batter is broken the cake will not be as uniform in texture. 

Batter in a bundt pan
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A cooked cake in a bundt pan
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Cake on a cooling rack
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Easily color the cake

One of the best parts of the cake is the colors. The easiest way to do this is to split up the batter into 3 smaller bowls after all of the flour mixture is added. Gently fold in the food coloring into each of the bowls being sure not to overmix. Spoon the colored mixture into the bundt pan. This can be dollops or follow the shape of the pan. Sometimes I will just use the colors in the icing and both options work well. 

A white cake plate with a buttermilk cake on top
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Eggnog icing for the win

One of the best parts about the icing is you can make it as thick or thin as you like it. Add more eggnog to mixture to thin it out. When making it thinner it is great to drizzle over the entire cake. Top it all off with a dusting of nutmeg and you have yourself a little bit of the holidays. If you want a richer frosting then you can take out a half a cup of butter, one stick, and add half a block of cream cheese instead. 

close up of the iced buttermilk cake
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Looking for other holiday recipes?

Looking down on a buttermilk cake on a white cake plate
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Christmas Buttermilk Cake with Eggnog Icing

Butternut cake topped with eggnog flavored buttercream and nutmeg
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16 slices
Calories 483 kcal


  • Bundt pan
  • Stand mixer with paddle attachment
  • Mixing Bowl


Buttermilk Cake

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter unsalted, softened
  • 4 eggs room temperature
  • ½ cup buttermilk room temperature
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • red food coloring
  • green food coloring

Eggnog Buttercream

  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter unsalted, softened
  • ¼ cup eggnog
  • 1 pinch salt


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease the bundt pan.

Buttermilk Cake

  • In a mixing bowl combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
  • In a stand mixer, on medium high speed, cream butter and sugar until the butter lightens in color. Add eggs one and a time waiting a minute between each egg. Scrape down the sides as necessary. Add the vanilla. The mixture might look curdled but that is ok.
  • Reduce the speed to low and add half of the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Add the buttermilk until it is just combined and then add the rest of the flour mixture.
  • To color the batter optional: separate the batter into three different bowls. Mix each of the food colors into one of the bowls. Spoon the batter into the bundt pan to make the desired pattern. This can be dollops or following the design of the pan.
  • Place in the oven on the center rack. Bake for 60 minutes. About halfway through baking cover the cake with foil to prevent the bottom from getting too dark. Remove from oven when a toothpick inserted into the cake comes back clean.
  • Allow to cool on cooling rack until the cake comes to room temperature.

Making the eggnog buttercream

  • In the stand mixer beat the butter. Reduce the speed to low and add the powdered sugar. Once the sugar has been completely incorporated increase the speed to medium high and add the salt and eggnog. Beat until the buttercream gets pale in color and lighter in texture. Add more eggnog as desired.
  • Separate the frosting in to two bowls and color each with either red or green food color.
  • Pipe or pour and spread the icing onto the cake and dust with a little nutmeg.


Serving: 1sliceCalories: 483kcalCarbohydrates: 63gProtein: 4gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 15gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 105mgSodium: 363mgPotassium: 61mgFiber: 1gSugar: 47gVitamin A: 789IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 45mgIron: 1mg
Nutrition Disclaimer*
Keyword Bundt, Cake, Christmas, Eggnog, Holiday
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Buttermilk cake pinterest pin
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