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A single piece of spice cake on a speckled plate with a bite taken out of it.
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5 from 6 votes

Spice Cake

This homemade spice cake is easy to make, moist, delicious, and filled with several different spices. This cake is perfect for the holidays or an easy fall dessert!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cake, fall recipe
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 12 slices
Author Danielle


For the cake:

  • 2 and ½ cups (315 grams) all-purpose flour spooned and leveled
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 and ¾ cups (350 grams) light brown sugar packed
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) canola or vegetable oil
  • ½ cup (125 g) unsweetened applesauce
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk

For the frosting:

  • 1 (8-ounce) package brick-style cream cheese softened
  • ½ cup (115 grams) unsalted butter softened
  • 2 cups (240 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


To make the cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray a 9x13 baking pan well with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices until well combined. Set aside.
  • In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, oil, applesauce, eggs, vanilla extract, and buttermilk until fully combined.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix together until just combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until the top of the cake is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle or whisk attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the butter and mix for about 30 seconds to 1 minute until well combined and smooth.
  • Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue mixing until fully combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Spread the frosting on top of the cooled cake.


Storage Instructions: Leftover cake can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Freezing Instructions: Once the cake has cooled completely, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Frosting will also freeze well for up to 3 months. When you are ready to assemble, thaw the cake and frosting to room temperature, then frost it.
Brown Sugar: I used light brown sugar, but dark brown sugar works just fine too!
Oil: I recommend using a neutral flavored oil like canola or vegetable oil. You may also use melted coconut oil, but if you do make sure all of your other ingredients are at room temperature. 
Buttermilk: Low-fat or full-fat buttermilk will both work in this cake. If you don't have any on hand, feel free to use my buttermilk substitute.
Cream Cheese: Make sure to use a brick or block of cream cheese and avoid cream cheese spread in a tub.
For a layered cake: Divide the batter between two 9-inch round cake pans and bake for 28 to 32 minutes. The frosting in this recipe will be enough for a light layer of frosting, if you prefer more, then increase it by 1.5.