This post may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here.
This spice cake recipe has decadent brown butter cream cheese frosting. It’s moist, full of cozy spices, and has a tender crumb. This flavorful cake will be hard to resist.
This cake is also similar to the apple spiced cupcakes that I made a while back and you all went bonkers over.
Unlike the apple spiced cupcakes, there are no apples in this recipe. And unlike the carrot cake, there are no carrots or raisins or pineapple. This is a purist’s cake. A cake for someone who loves the flavor of these cakes but prefers a simpler texture.
The blend of spices in this cake – cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and allspice creates the coziest flavor. Can’t you just imagine how delicious your house is going to smell while you are baking this?
And I do love cream cheese frosting – it is my favorite to serve with a red velvet cake, or on my carrot cake cupcakes. The balance of the sweetness and the tang from the cream cheese works so well against gently flavored cakes.
As the cake in this recipe is subtle in its deliciousness, I wanted a little something special for the frosting. I haven’t made my brown butter frosting in a little while, but it occurred to me that a brown butter cream cheese frosting might be just the right thing to give this cake a little oomph. Boy was I right.
This cake is moist and delicious – the addition of applesauce, oil and buttermilk to the batter make it so. It is subtly sophisticated in its combination of flavors. It truly is a delicious cake that will be hard for just about anyone to resist.
This cake makes for a special, elegant but not over the top dessert after a simple bistro meal of roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and a green salad. It’s also very well suited to be served in the afternoon when having tea with a neighbor or as after school snack.
If you wanted to serve this at breakfast, honestly, I wouldn’t stop you. The blend of spices, the applesauce and the creamy tangy frosting – who wouldn’t want to start off their day that way?
- TASTE: Cozy and spicy and delicious
- TEXTURE: Moist
- EASE: Easy for a cake!
- TIME: About an hour, with time for cooling the cake before frosting.
What You’ll Need
I’m not going to try to pull one over on you – this cake has a lot of ingredients. But it is worth it. The complex, sophisticated blend of spices combines to make a scrumptious cake.
- Unsalted butter – I don’t recommend using salted butter. Butter is used in the batter and in the frosting.
- Sugar – Light brown sugar gives this cake a slightly caramel like flavor.
- Eggs – It’s important to ensure the eggs are at room temperature.
- Vanilla extract – try making your own using this recipe.
- All-purpose flour – Cake flour will also work with this recipe if you don’t have all-purpose. Use the same amount in weight measurements.
- Spices & salt – A cozy combination of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice give this cake the spiced flavor.
- Baking powder and baking soda – Both are called for in this recipe to help the cake rise during baking.
- Applesauce – Unsweetened applesauce gives this cake flavor and moist texture.
- Oil – To keep the cake extra moist this recipe uses vegetable or canola oil.
- Buttermilk – Adds tang and moisture to the cake.
- Confectioners’ sugar – Makes this buttercream frosting sweet and creamy.
- Cream cheese – Gives the frosting a thick and luscious texture and a tangy taste. In a pinch, you can use whole milk instead.
- Stand mixer
- Cake pans
How to Make Spice Cake
The most time consuming part of making this recipe is assembling the ingredients. Do all the usual prep – preheat the oven to 350 and spray two 9-inch round baking pans with non-stick baking spray and dust with flour before you get started.
Make the cake
- Mix the dry ingredients. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves in a medium bowl.
- Mix the wet ingredients. Add the brown sugar, vegetable oil, and applesauce to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until well combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time followed by the vanilla.
- Blend the batter. Add in ½ of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined, then blend in buttermilk, then add the remaining ½ of the flour mixture and mix until well combined.
- Bake. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.Bake for 28-32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. While cake is baking – make the frosting (steps 5-7 below)
- Brown the butter. Add the butter to a saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir until it bubbles, foams, and turns a rich amber color. Pour the brown butter into a shallow glass dish and chill until firm but not hard, about 30-40 minutes.
- Make the frosting. Add the butter and cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until smooth. Add powdered sugar. Mix in 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time, followed by the vanilla until consistency and sweetness is as desired.
- Frost the cooled cake. Frost with cream cheese frosting, and sprinkle pecans around the edges if desired.
It takes just a few seconds for browned butter to burn. Watch the butter closely when you are browning it. As soon as it starts to turn brown, remove the pan from the heat. Swirl it around a few times, it will deepen in color.
Tips For Success
Buttermilk: If you don’t have buttermilk you can use my homemade buttermilk instead.
For level cakes: Wrap cake strips around the pan before baking.
Storage & Freezing
- Cover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for 5 days.
- Frosted cake freezes well, up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature, or serve cold
Did you try this recipe? I would love for you to leave me a 5-star rating or comment. This way, I have a better understanding of which recipes you like and can create more of them.
You can also shop my favorite baking tools. Thank you so much for your support!