Cakes/ Dessert/ easy/ Holiday/ no mixer/ quick savory

Spice Cake

August 31, 2018

This spice cake recipe is the only recipe you’ll ever need. Incredibly moist, flavored with a mixture of spices, with a texture that almost melts in your mouth! It’s quick and easy to make and doesn’t require a mixer. The cake is great by itself, the cream cheese frosting is just a bonus. It’s going to be your new favorite winter and holiday cake.

Spice Cake

A while ago I suddenly recalled a cake I had in Paris a few years ago. I don’t know what reminded me of it, but the moment I started thinking about it I couldn’t stop. It reminded me my mom’s honey cake, but it it had more spices in it. I didn’t remember how that cake tasted like exactly, but I knew I had to try creating one myself. When this cake came out of the oven, it was so good that me and Erez could finish the whole cake in 5 minutes, but luckily we saved a few pieces, and it tasted even better the day after.

Spice Cake


I use a combination of ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. If you don’t like nutmeg or cloves you can leave one of them out, but trust me, this mix of spices gives the most wonderful flavor.


I use a combination of granulated sugar and brown sugar. The latter adds moisture to the cake. You can use only brown sugar or only granulated sugar (3/4 cup).

Oil, applesauce, buttermilk

They all make this spice cake extra moist so it stays tender for days. If you must skip the applesauce, use buttermilk instead (total of 1 cup), but the applesauce makes a difference in this recipe! I made homemade applesauce and it’s super easy. I halved the recipe, so I used 2 apples, some water, a splash of lemon juice, and cooked for 15-20 minutes until soft, then mashed it with a fork. It’s ok if it’s a little chunky, or, if you prefer a smooth texture, process it in a food processor.

Spice Cake

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4.88 from 31 votes
Spice Cake
Spice Cake
YIELD: 16 servings

For a 9x13-inch cake, double the recipe (both cake and frosting) and bake for 45-50 minutes. The cake stays moist and flavorful for a few days, so you can make it 1-2 days ahead. 

  • 1 and 1/4 cups (170 g/6 oz.) all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (100 g/3.5 oz.) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50 g/1.7 oz.) dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) canola or another flavorless oil
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting (optional)
  • 4 oz. (115 g) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick/55 g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (175 g) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease an 8x8-inch pan.
  2. In a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until well combined for about a minute. Add oil and whisk until combined. Add applesauce, buttermilk, and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Pour the mixture into the flour mixture and mix as little as possible, just until combined and smooth.

  4. Pour the batter into prepared pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely.
  5. Make the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 1-2 minutes. Add 1 cup powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt, and beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then on high speed for 1-2 minutes until smooth and fluffy. If you want a thicker frosting, add 1/2 cup more powdered sugar. Frost cake with the frosting.
  6. Store cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Cake is best served at room temperature.

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  • Reply
    September 2, 2018 at 5:09 am

    Yum! I love a good spice cake, and this cake looks perfect for the upcoming cooler months. Pinned! 🙂

  • Reply
    Joanne Buscarini
    September 2, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    Can this spice cake be frozen ? Thank you

    • Reply
      September 3, 2018 at 9:50 am

      Yes, and if you leave out the frosting it can be frozen for up to 2 months.

      • Reply
        August 28, 2019 at 2:15 pm

        I made this with mashed pumpkin instead of the applesauce and buttermilk and it was super perfect and moist, and I used 1/2 cup of cool whip instead of the butter in the frosting and it was heaven

  • Reply
    September 18, 2018 at 9:56 am

    What can i sub the applesauce for?

    • Reply
      September 20, 2018 at 6:30 am

      Hi Ria, you can find this info in the above post.

      • Reply
        July 26, 2019 at 11:00 pm

        Could I make this recipe into cup cakes? How long would baking time be?

        • Reply
          July 30, 2019 at 2:54 am

          Yes you can, about 15-20 minutes.

  • Reply
    September 24, 2018 at 9:57 pm

    Would this recipe be enough to make a 3 layer cake? You mention it’s tender. Would it fall apart easily? Also, would the cooking time remain the same? Looking to make this for Christmas! Thank you!

    • Reply
      September 25, 2018 at 10:55 am

      You’ll need to double the recipe for a 9-inch layer cake. It’s moist but it will be ok. The baking time will be different so keep an eye on it.

  • Reply
    October 12, 2018 at 11:00 am

    I just tried this recipe and the cake is bubbly and burnt on top but totally liquid all through the middle! Is there any chance there is supposed to be more than 1 1/4c flour? The batter seemed really thin but I figured it was meant to be that way – now I’m not so sure!

    • Reply
      October 14, 2018 at 8:08 am

      Hi Maggie, this is the correct amount of flour and ingredients. If the top is browning too fast compared to the bottom, cover the pan loosely with aluminium foil for the rest of the baking time.

      • Reply
        January 18, 2021 at 4:39 pm

        I made this in two 5×7 Pyrex pans to make a layer cake and with double the frosting. I’m not partial to ginger, so I replaced it with ¼ tsp of allspice. The cake came out moist and delicious! Thank you so much for the recipe!

  • Reply
    December 12, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    hi Shiran!
    I was wondering if it’s ok to split the batter into mini loafcake paper pans as long as i do not over fill so it can book?
    each size is about 4x2x2

    Thank you!

    • Reply
      December 15, 2018 at 5:55 am

      Yes you can 🙂 Bake them until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

  • Reply
    January 9, 2019 at 10:54 am

    This cake was more than delicious! However, I did sub melted butter for the oil, and cut a bit of the salt (since it was salted butter). I used homemade applesauce and it was so good with the little chunks of apple throughout the cake.

  • Reply
    February 26, 2019 at 10:16 pm

    Just made it, including the homemade apple sauce. Very yummy and moist! I used one 9in pan, baked at 350 for 20 minutes, lined with wax paper. No issues. Hardly any left. I will have to make this again. If I wanted to make a bundt cake, do I double the recipe? Do you have a glaze recipe to go with a bundt recipe? Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      March 5, 2019 at 4:05 am

      Hi Karen! It might be too moist for bundt cake, I haven’t tried it so I don’t know. You can make a simple glaze by mixing powdered sugar with a bit of milk and vanilla extract.

    • Reply
      December 15, 2019 at 3:36 pm

      I just made it in a Bundt pan without doubling the recipe. It didn’t fill the pan to the top, but doubling might have been too full. Also, it cooked fine and held its shape coming out.

    • Reply
      November 5, 2021 at 3:25 am

      Karen as a rule of thumb a full size bundt pan will accept a 9×13 inch cake batter from scratch or box so hope that helps. I wouldn’t hesitate to double or in my case I rewrite recipes when I put them in my family recipe book such as this for a 9×13 inch pan so doubled and skip the original half or 8×8 inch size. I wuold think this moist cake would work great in a bundt pan. In cases where you want an even rise you may want to use a skirt or apron around the pans. You can purchase them or make them out of rolled wet newspaper. I myself usually skp that the more rustic and home made looking a cake the better. I’m no Martha though I love watching her and picking up lots of ideas. I understand that she’s the way she is due to being a caterer. I would never have the patience for that line of work. But love to gift my famous bundt pan rum cakes . As much as I love a good spice cake I can’t convince others they might love it better than the Rum cakes though. But isn’t a spice cake great to celebrate fall?

  • Reply
    April 28, 2019 at 9:04 pm

    I think your flour measurement is off somehow? 1 1/4 cups of flour would be closer to 10 oz, not 6.

    • Reply
      May 31, 2019 at 8:06 pm

      I just made this cake. Have yet to taste it but looks awesome. Someone must have a weird oven because mine was cooked perfectly in 35.

    • Reply
      November 1, 2020 at 1:23 am

      Oz by volume is not the same as oz by weight. I believe the 6 oz weight is correct for 1.25 cups volume

  • Reply
    Yukti Arora
    August 19, 2019 at 8:17 am

    Nice cake recipe………….keep posting such mouth watering cakes.

  • Reply
    August 30, 2019 at 1:22 am

    WOW!! This cake looks amazing.. Can’t wait to try this.. Thank you so much for sharing such a mouth watering spice cake recipe with us.. Loved it!! Keep posting.

  • Reply
    November 2, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    Hi! This looks delicious. I’m on the hunt for a homemade spice cake recipe to pair with penuche frosting (basically a brown sugar icing). Is this cake super sweet? The icing is extremely decadent so I need a spicy but not very sweet cake. This seems like it would fit the bill but wanted to check. Thank you!!

    • Reply
      November 11, 2019 at 5:16 am

      Hi Sarah, I don’t think this cake is overly sweet at all, but it’s about personal taste 🙂 You can use a bit less sugar if you prefer.

  • Reply
    November 13, 2019 at 10:36 am

    Hello! I am excited to make this cake but wanted to make it as a double layer cake 6 inch cake. How do you recommend that I alter the recipe?

  • Reply
    May 6, 2020 at 5:35 pm

    Just found this recipe after looking everywhere for a tasty spice cake and I’m in love! Made 12 little muffins instead of a giant cake and my family is loving them

  • Reply
    May 12, 2020 at 8:07 pm

    This was very easy, moist, and delicious. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply
    May 28, 2020 at 7:46 am

    I made this using 8 in square pan, baked for 30 minutes, and subbed 1 egg with mashed banana, also added chopped apple just because I wanted to use them up. Came out super moist and got a lot of compliments for that. I do wish the spice taste was a little stronger, but maybe my spices are losing flavor and need to use newer ones. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Reply
      June 3, 2020 at 6:40 am

      Hi Chris. You can always use more of your favorite spices!

  • Reply
    Peter Calvin
    August 20, 2020 at 3:06 am

    Hi Shiran, have to say i really love your work and all the recipe you share with us. This cake looks amazing and will definitely give it a try. Keep up the good work.

    • Reply
      August 20, 2020 at 5:23 am

      Thank you so much, Peter 🙂

  • Reply
    Becky Cuba
    September 8, 2020 at 12:08 pm

    Has anyone tried subbing premixed apple pie spice for the spices? If so, how much?

  • Reply
    diwali gifts
    September 30, 2020 at 2:33 am

    WOW! A spice cake, never thought i would try something like this. But, you never know. Gonna try this right away.

  • Reply
    diwali gifts
    October 3, 2020 at 4:36 am

    Wow! A spice cake, this is what i always wanted to make. Thanks to you for sharing.

  • Reply
    Jodi Odland
    November 5, 2020 at 6:08 pm

    Loved the texture and it was nice and moist. I frosted with Penuche frosting. Next time I plan on just using cinnamon and nutmeg for the spice

  • Reply
    November 7, 2020 at 11:44 pm

    The Spice cake is delicious! Thank you for the nice , easy recipe!

  • Reply
    December 15, 2020 at 2:32 am

    It is a great recipe to make a birthday special cake. my bro’s birthday coming soon. thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

  • Reply
    January 18, 2021 at 4:40 pm

    I made this in two 5×7 Pyrex pans to make a layer cake and with double the frosting. I’m not partial to ginger, so I replaced it with ¼ tsp of allspice. The cake came out moist and delicious! Thank you so much for the recipe!

  • Reply
    January 18, 2021 at 4:41 pm

    EDIT: Accidentally added my review as a reply, so re-posting…

    I made this in two 5×7 Pyrex pans to make a layer cake and with double the frosting. I’m not partial to ginger, so I replaced it with ¼ tsp of allspice. The cake came out moist and delicious! Thank you so much for the recipe!

  • Reply
    valentines gifts
    February 11, 2021 at 3:44 am

    Perfect cakes for Valentine day occasion. keep updating and thanks for share the recipes.

  • Reply
    February 16, 2021 at 8:25 am

    I made this with a few changes, greek yohgurt instead of buttermilk, almond extract instead of vanilla and allspice instead of ground ginger and it was delicious. On a side note, I don’t understand why people give stars if they’ve never made something. A pet peeve of mine I guess because it creates false ratings and offers absolutely nothing.

  • Reply
    March 19, 2021 at 12:27 pm

    I am allergic to apples, what other fruit can I use?

  • Reply
    April 26, 2021 at 5:53 pm

    I’m crazy about this cake, I made it 4 times in the last 3 months so it is about time I thank you for this recipe ❤️💚💛

  • Reply
    July 7, 2021 at 2:42 am

    I am visiting the website for the first time. What I found most interesting is the name. Pretty Simple Sweet. Says everything you need to know. Will surely try out the recipes and keep posting as to how it went. Thanks.

    • Reply
      Anita Rockwell
      September 28, 2021 at 5:14 pm

      This cake is amazing! I love it! Thank you for Shari g the recipe. It is the perfect size for a spice cake. I didn’t make the frosting because I am not a frosting fan, but if I do make it with frosting I’m definitely using your recipe! Again….wow!!

  • Reply
    Sattur mittai kadai
    July 22, 2021 at 1:24 am

    Thank you for sharing the amazing’s really good.

  • Reply
    indian matka
    September 20, 2021 at 2:10 pm

    Wow! just love your ideas, I made one for my friend I hope he will like it.

  • Reply
    September 21, 2021 at 1:40 am

    Very informative

  • Reply
    October 1, 2021 at 5:40 am

    Very informative

  • Reply
    kurla day
    October 13, 2021 at 2:32 pm

    I regularly visiting the listed content, which is very interesting going to the website everyday. Searching for new, interesting info here. Thanks for sharing the content.

  • Reply
    Baishakhi Biswas
    October 19, 2021 at 6:27 am

    Can’t get over this cake. Truly delicious, couldn’t share it with anyone :D. Made it three times in the last week. Best wishes to you Chef.

  • Reply
    Lisa vannorman
    October 22, 2021 at 12:04 am

    What can I use for frosting for spice cake since I have no cream cheese

    • Reply
      Talia @ Pretty. Simple. Sweet.
      October 24, 2021 at 2:05 am

      Hi Lisa, cream cheese frosting is the ideal type of frosting with this cake. You could also make a glaze with powdered sugar and a bit of a water or milk and drizzle it over the cake. Just add a few teaspoons of liquid to a cup of powdered sugar and mix together with a whisk until it’s viscous:)

  • Reply
    Art of India
    October 25, 2021 at 9:04 am

    Hey Shiran, this looks so good. I will try this for sure during the festive season this year. Thanks for sharing. Much love, keep growing! 🙂

  • Reply
    October 26, 2021 at 12:23 pm

    Is the setting for a fan assisted oven? 180 degrees.

    • Reply
      Talia @ Pretty. Simple. Sweet.
      October 30, 2021 at 7:07 am

      Yes it is!:)

  • Reply
    Satta Matka Trick
    November 14, 2021 at 1:48 pm

    Your blog provided us with important information to work on. You have done a admirable job. Satta Weekly Jodi

  • Reply
    November 25, 2021 at 7:36 pm

    I made this cake for my husband for Thanksgiving. It is delicious. After enjoying his first slice, he immediately went back to the kitchen for a 2nd slice. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Reply
    December 8, 2021 at 1:53 pm

    thanks for sharing this information sir…m

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