The Perfect Spice Cake
I love a good spice cake. The comforting feeling when you bite into all those warm, autumn-like spices is unparalleled. I have had my share of downright delish spice cakes, but I have spent decades trying to find the perfect recipe.
I therefore decided that it’s time to stop searching and time to start creating. So, Folks, I did it. I created the absolute best spice cake recipe I have ever made. And I have made very many spice cakes.
This cake is a rock star by itself. It is super moist, staying fresh for at least several days. I have yet to have any left after the third day, so I can’t really speak to keeping it longer than that, although I suspect if stored in the refrigerator, it would last a full week. That said, how someone could open a refrigerator door, day after day for one week, eyeing a spice cake and not eating it, is beyond my comprehension. Just sayin’…
What also sets this cake apart is that I went CrAzY with the spices! When I say spice cake, I mean SPICE cake! I went for it with this cake – cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, ground cloves, and cardamom. While you can certainly skip a spice or increase/decrease the amounts based on your flavor profile, I love the combination and ratio of spices in this cake. It is super flavorful. But, listen: You do you.
Easy to Make
Best of all? This cake does not require a mixer, can be made in one bowl, and comes together in just a few minutes. It is so easy to make, I only have one tip for you: Use cake strips* for a more evenly baked cake layer (no doming). I cannot recommend these enough! You just wet the strip and wrap it around the base of the baking pan just before putting the pan in the oven. It prevents the edges from baking too much faster than the center of the cake, resulting in a more even bake and little to no doming in the center.
This cake also came about because I am working on a spice cake with pears…that will be published as we are more immersed into autumn. We enjoyed the actual spice cake tests so much, I wanted to make a smaller version for sensible snacking. And, since we are in the tail end of summer, I thought I’d “summerize” this spice cake with a blueberry frosting. It’s a little bit magical. For the frosting, you will first need to make my Blueberry Paste.
I’m calling this my Seasonal Bridge Cake – the Labor Day cake that bridges notes of summer into autumn.
From beginning to end, this spice cake can be baked and frosted in 90 minutes. Super easy! If you want a layer cake, you can divide the batter into two pans, but remember to decrease your baking time. (I would start checking it at the 16-minute mark.) If you want to make a three-layer cake, just double the recipe and divide into three pans, checking the cakes at the 23-minute mark. (My upcoming spice cake with pears will be three layers – and it’s gonna rock your world!)
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Spice Cake with Blueberry Frosting
- 8-inch round cake pan
- 135 g. all-purpose flour (1 cup plus 2 tbsp.)
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- 1¼ tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- ½ tsp. ground ginger
- ¼ tsp. allspice
- ¼ tsp. ground cloves
- Pinch cardamom
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 165 g. dark brown sugar (¾ cup, packed)
- 88 g. ½ cup plus 2 tbsp. neutral oil (vegetable, canola, safflower)
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- 62 g. ¼ cup milk, at room temperature
- 113 g. sour cream, at room temperature (½ cup or 4 ounces)
- 1 recipe Blueberry Paste, at room temperature
- 113 g. unsalted butter, at room temperature (8 tbsp. or one stick)
- Small pinch salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 218 g. confectioner’s sugar (1¾ cups)
- Cake. Preheat oven to 350° Lightly grease one 8-inch round pan, line it with parchment circle on the bottom and grease the top of the parchment. In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients through the dark brown sugar. Whisk in oil, eggs and vanilla until combined. Whisk in milk and sour cream until combined. Pour into prepared pans and bake 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the sides are just starting to pull away from the pans. Cool completely in pans.
- Blueberry Frosting. Using the paddle attachment of the mixer, beat the Blueberry Paste and butter together for a minute or two until fully combined and the mixture is lightly aerated. Add the salt and vanilla extract, beating until combined. Stop the mixer and pour in confectioner’s sugar. Start with the mixer on the lowest speed, raising it as the confectioner’s sugar gets incorporated into the mixture. Beat on high for a minute or two. (If the frosting seems too thick, add a teaspoon or two of milk or heavy cream.)
- Assembly. Slide a metal spatula or knife around the edges of the cake pan. If the cake has domed in the middle, use a serrated knife to cut the dome so the cake is even. Frost the top and sides of the cake as desired.
- Storage. The cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature, but it will keep longer stored in the refrigerator, allowing it to come to room temperature approximately 30 minutes before serving.
- For a more evenly baked cake layer (no doming), use a cake strip. I cannot recommend these enough! You just wet the strip and wrap it around the base of the baking pan just before putting the pan in the oven. It prevents the edges from baking too much faster than the center of the cake, resulting in a more even bake and little to no doming in the center.
- You can absolutely use a 9-inch round pan. The baking time will be less, so I recommend to start checking it after 25 minutes.