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Spice Cake

5 from 18 votes

This festive and traditional spice cake recipe is the perfect addition to any holiday gathering!

Easy Moist Spice Cake Recipe

Homemade Spice Cake

Moist, soft, and flavorful, this might just become your new favorite cake recipe.

It’s like winter’s answer to carrot cake! And this spice cake in particular is super quick and easy to make, with ingredients you might already have in your kitchen – no stand mixer required.

The absolute best part about this old fashioned spice cake is that it will make your entire kitchen smell like a giant gingerbread house!

Spice Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting
Old Fashioned Spice Cake Recipe

Cream Cheese Frosting

A basic cream cheese icing recipe is so versatile and always good to have on hand. Below is the one I used on the cake. For vegan cream cheese frosting, simply use vegan brands of cream cheese and butter, available in many regular grocery stores.

12 oz cream cheese

6 oz salted butter

3 cups powdered sugar (or sugar free powdered sugar)

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

optional sprinkle of cinnamon or a few drops maple extract

Bring cream cheese and butter to room temperature. Beat all ingredients with either an electric mixer or stand mixer (or by hand, which won’t be as whipped and fluffy but will still work).

If it’s too thick, very slowly add a little milk of choice; if too thin, add additional powdered sugar. The recipe makes about 3 cups of frosting.

Classic Spice Cake Recipe

How To Make Spice Cake From Scratch

Step One: Whisk wet ingredients, preheat oven to 350 F, and prepare your baking pans.

Step Two: Stir dry ingredients into wet, and pour into the pans to bake on the oven’s center rack.

Step Three: Let cool before inverting, then frost and serve.

Bring it to a fancy party, or eat it in your pajamas, curled up by the fire.

I know a lot of you find it helpful to see unedited iphone pictures of recipes, so here are some unedited photos of the cake when I made it for a brunch.

The recipe is incredibly versatile – You can make a three-layer cake, two-layer cake, or bake it in a 9×13 pan for a healthy snack cake that’s perfect for packing into lunchboxes or serving—either frosted or unadorned—as a light after-dinner dessert.

The moist and tender spice cake has incredible holiday flavor, packed with applesauce, pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. If you want to give the cake a healthy vitamin A boost, feel free to substitute carrot juice for the milk of choice – you won’t be able to tell at all!

Homemade Super Moist Spice Cake Recipe
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Spice Cake Recipe

This festive and traditional spice cake recipe is the perfect dessert for any holiday gathering!
Cook Time 27 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes
Yield 1 cake
5 from 18 votes


  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup sweet potato or pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup milk of choice or carrot juice
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tbsp white or cider vinegar
  • 2 cups spelt or white flour
  • 1 cup sugar, unrefined if desired
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp each: baking soda and baking powder
  • 1 1/8 tsp salt
  • optional 1/2 cup raisins


  • Whisk first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line pans with parchment – you can bake the cake in one 9×13, two 8-inch, or either two or three 6-inch pans. Stir all remaining ingredients in a second bowl, then stir into the wet ingredients to form a batter. Pour into the pans, and bake on the center rack 27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Let cool completely. If desired, frost with coconut butter or your favorite frosting (such as the recipe included earlier in this post). You need about 2 1/2 to 3 cups.
    View Nutrition Facts


The recipe was adapted from my Pumpkin Cupcakes and from these Pumpkin Muffins.

Have you made this recipe?

Tag @chocolatecoveredkatie on Instagram

More Favorite Holiday Desserts:

vegan magic bars

Vegan Magic Bars

Vegan Peanut Butter Pie

Peanut Butter Pie – 5 Ingredients

chocolate cupcakes

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate Tinder Brownies

Chocolate Tinder Brownies

Published on December 13, 2018

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  1. Karen Landa says

    Hi Katie, does gluten free flour work for this recipe? I love spice cake, but am hesitant to make it if advised that it’s not a good fit for the recipe! Thank you!

    • Retired Pastry Chef says

      Try Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Flour Blend. I have had great success in every traditional wheat flour recipe I have made.
      For best results, in all of gluten free baking, weigh your flour going by how much a cup of flour weighs on the bag. For example, Bob’s Red Mill weighs 37 grams for 1 tablespoon, so for 1 cup of flour weigh out 16 TBSP. times 37 grams. So 1 cup of flour weighs 148 grams. For this recipe, (2 cups flour) you would weigh 296 grams of Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 GF.

      • Retired Pastry Chef says

        Please correct the information that I just posted above. It NOT 1 TBSP. that weighs 37 grams, BUT IT IS 1/4 cup that weighs 37 grams of Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Four. The rest of what I wrote is correct: 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Flour blend weighs 148 grams and substitutes for 1 cup of flour in traditional wheat flour recipes.

    • Jason Sanford says

      Unfortunately we have never tried, and it would be a big experiment because you’re replacing a solid sugar with a liquid and using denser flour. Be sure to report back if you experiment!

  2. Em Smith says

    Looks delicious! Might have to make this for christmas dinner this year. Do you know if I could make it into cupcakes instead, and if I did, how long would it need to bake for? Thanks!

  3. Linda says

    This is an awesome recipe. It’s probably the best spice cake I’ve ever made. I made it on Tuesday and after it cooled I could taste a sort of baking soda aftertaste. But after sitting a day, there was no taste at all. It’s absolutely yummy! I would recommend making it at least one day ahead, but maybe that’s just me. I served it with whipped cream instead of frosting and also added chopped pecans and raisins to the recipe. The best part is I just mixed it with a mixer required. I used skim milk to reduce the calories a bit.

    • Jason Sanford says

      I love your addition of pecans! I also think cakes and brownies usually taste better two days after being made. Not sure why that is!

  4. Michael says

    Hello Katie and thank you for this recipe! This cake seems like the perfect addition to Christmas dinner, I will be definitely giving it a whirl.
    I wish you happy holidays!

  5. Birdie says

    Made 2 days before Christmas and it was a huge hit. 2nds were the norm. Definitely adding to my make again file! Thank you ?. Took a photo but can’t get it to upload…

  6. Stephanie says

    Hello, are there really NO EGGS in this recipe? Perhaps the applesauce takes the place of eggs? Thank you.

  7. Stephanie says

    OK, I just made this cake with NO EGGS, duh, so no reply necessary on my previous message. Turned out very tasty (nice deep/rich spicy flavor) but a little moist. I will be freezing this cake for use later (this was a test run) and I’m afraid it will defrost into a soggy mess. Would replacing the applesauce with eggs OR using skim milk instead of whole OR white flour instead of spelt OR using butter instead of oil make it less “wet”? Thanks for the recipe, this was the very best out of 3 that I tested. I was sort of afraid it would turn out too much like carrot cake (which it didn’t) so did not make it first. Thanks.

    • Jason Sanford says

      Hi! Yes definitely I think skim milk would be less moist than whole milk. White flour will also yield a less moist cake if that’s what you’re after. If you try it, definitely be sure to report back!

  8. Stephanie Murphy says

    OK, reporting back 🙂 I decided to just make the cake the same way, instead of testing it another time. I made (and froze) it at home, took it cross country, refroze it upon arrival 10 hours later. Two days later, I frosted the frozen cake (with my own browned butter frosting recipe) then let it defrost at room temperature. It was delicious. Everyone at the birthday party loved the texture of the spelt flour and the fact that not one singular spice stood out – spicy but not definably any one of the spices used. Fantastic spice combo. Not sure how to enter the 5 star rating this cake deserves, couldn’t find that field. Thank you again.

  9. Margaret says

    I turned your wonderful recipe into gingerbread muffins (baked 25 minutes) by made this using 1/2 cup blackstrap molasses in place of the sugar. Just delicious with the raisins added, also. A definite keeper for the holidays, especially. Thank you, Katie!

      • Margaret says

        What is it about Christmas in July, Jason?! Talk about making the kitchen smell like a giant gingerbread house. I forgot to mention I used whole spelt flour. Thanks.

  10. Naoko says

    Hi, this cake looks amazing! I want to try it but we don’t have sweet potato or pumpkin puree where I live. Can I replace it with something else? I thought mashed pumpkin or sweet potato, but I don’t know if the consistency would be the same.

  11. Courtney Infascelli says

    Could you make this into a loaf? I was going to make the gingerbread loaf, clicked on this for the frosting, and said to myself hmmmm I wonder if this could be made into a bread.

  12. Avra says

    Made this last night, tasted it this morning. Came out great! Rose nicely! I halved it and made an 8×8 and if I remember correctly it only needed to bake around 20 minutes (but then, I baked it in my toaster oven which might bake things faster). Frosting would probably be great but I enjoyed it without. Thanks for the recipe!

  13. Mimi says

    I would love to make this cake but I never have applesauce. What would be a good substitute for applesauce? (If it can be replaced)

    • CCK Media Team says

      We haven’t tried. It sounds like an experiment that has a good chance of working. Be sure to report back if you try!

  14. Bessy says

    Hi! I made this cake for my dad’s 60th birthday last night and it tasted so delicious! One thing, though: I would def double-up the recipe to make a 3-tiered cake. Each round came out kinda flat, but it was so yummy!

  15. Jamie Matthews says

    Hi! My husband loves spice cake and his bday is coming up. I need to make a vegan cake, so this looks good for him, with the exception of the vinegar. He has an allergy to vinegar. Would it damage the cake too much to leave it out?

    • CCK Media Team says

      We haven’t tried so unfortunately can’t say. Google suggests “If the recipe calls for a tablespoon of vinegar, replace it with two tablespoons of lemon juice” so you might try that… hopefully it won’t add any lemon flavor in just 2 tbsp, but you will have to experiment. Be sure to report back if you do!

  16. Lena says

    5 stars
    I wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out. When I poured the batter into a 9×13 inch pan there was barely enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Thankfully, it rose well and the icing recipe (I used Tofutti cream cheese) was really tasty. It was so delicious, and I got lots of compliments from non-vegans as well as vegans. I’m going to make it again for my birthday this weekend. Love this recipe!

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