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    Moist Spice Cake

    This spice cake is so incredibly moist, and packed with that ‘cozy’ spice flavour! Topped with a tangy cream cheese buttercream frosting, you’ll be coming back for seconds (and maybe even thirds)!

    Spice Cake

    What is a spice cake?

    A spice cake is very similar to a carrot or pumpkin spice cake, minus the carrots or pumpkins!

    It’s a super moist, slightly dense cake packed with spices such as cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Some variations (like mine) also have applesauce mixed in, which adds an additional depth of flavour to the cake.

    What makes this spice cake so soft?

    There are a few key ingredients which make this cake SO SOFT!

    • This recipe uses a cake flour substitute (a mixture of all purpose flour and cornstarch – cake flour is actually banned here in New Zealand which is why I can’t just use regular cake flour!). Cake flour has a lower protein content than regular flour, which results in a more tender crumb. By replacing some of the regular flour with cornstarch, it helps to reduce the protein content of the flour and mimic cake flour.
    • Secondly, this recipe uses oil instead of butter. Because there is ample flavour coming through from the other ingredients (spices and applesauce), I decided to go without the butter. Oil is liquid at room temperature, resulting in a cake that stays moist for days!
    • Applesauce is another ingredient I decided to add in. Many spice cake recipes don’t use applesauce, but I found that adding it in added great flavour and made for a softer cake.
    • Lastly, this recipe uses Greek yoghurt to lighten the batter, add flavour, and help leaven the cake by activating the baking soda. I first used sour cream instead of Greek yoghurt, but found that the high fat content in sour cream resulted in a cake that was a little too dense for my liking.

    Another factor is the mixing method. This recipe uses the ‘muffin method’ of mixing cake batter, where you combine the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately, then add the wet to the dry and gently fold them together. By hand mixing the batter and not overmixing it, you’re going to prevent too much gluten from forming (which is great for things like bread, but we don’t want TOO MUCH gluten in a cake!).

    How spiced is this cake?

    I’d say this recipe is in the middle, so more than what you would consider to be ‘lightly spiced’, but not overwhelmingly spiced either. You can always add more or less spice depending on your own taste preference.

    Can I make my own applesauce?

    If you can’t easily find applesauce in your local area, you can easily make your own! Applesauce is basically an apple puree, and the type we want for this recipe is unsweetened and unflavoured.

    All you have to do is peel and core some apples, and place them in a pot with a little bit of water. About a third of the apples should be covered with water – you just want enough to create some steam. Then bring the water to a boil, and then turn down the heat and cover and leave to cook for about 15-20 minutes until the apples are soft.

    Once soft, strain most of the water out, and then puree the apples. You’re then left with applesauce 🙂

    How to make this spice cake

    This cake is SO EASY to put together, and uses the ‘muffin method’ of making cake batter.

    Begin by preheating your oven to 160°C fan forced, and grease and/or line two 8 inch cake tins. I like to grease my cake tins with my homemade cake release.

    Spice cake

    For the cake batter, start off by sifting together your dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg). By premixing your dry ingredients, it helps ensure that everything is mixed well, preventing you from overmixing the batter when it comes to combining your wet and dry ingredients.

    Spice cake

    Set your dry ingredients aside and in another bowl combine your wet ingredients (soft brown sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, applesauce, Greek yoghurt and vanilla). Mix until well combined.

    Spice cake

    Now pour your wet ingredients into your premixed dry ingredients, and gently fold them together using a spatula until just combined. Do not overmix the batter.

    It’s important to do this step by hand as this will prevent us from overmixing our batter and developing too much gluten.

    Spice cake

    Once the batter is done, evenly distribute it into the two 8 inch cake tins and cook for 28-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cakes to completely cool before frosting. I love using my cream cheese buttercream recipe for this cake!

    Spice cake

    How to decorate your spice cake

    Here’s a quick run through on how I decorated my cake! I went for a super simple ‘rustic’ look.

    Because my cake layers had a slight dome on the top, I began by trimming the tops with a serrated knife so that I had nice flat cake layers.

    Spice cake

    To decorate the cake I placed my first cake layer on my cake stand and placed a generous amount of frosting on top. I then used an offset spatula to neatly spread out the frosting.

    I then placed my next cake layer on top, flipping it over so that the bottom of the cake was the top of my layer cake (so that we have a nice flat top).

    Spice Cake

    I then placed a generous amount of frosting on my top layer and again used my offset spatula to neatly spread it out. I then finished off by placing some walnuts and pecans in a circle around the top edge of the cake.

    Spice Cake

    And that is it! A beautiful, delicious spice cake ready to eat 🙂


    Spice Cake

    Moist Spice Cake

    This spice cake is so incredibly moist and packed with that warm, cozy spice flavour! Your house will smell AMAZING after making this cake.
    5 from 17 votes
    Print Pin Rate Watch Video
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 30 minutes
    Cooling Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
    Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
    Servings: 2 8 inch cakes

    IMPORTANT: For accuracy, I would recommend using the gram measurements provided as those are the exact quantities I use. Cup measurements are given as estimates (based on US cup measurements) to make it easier for those who do not have a scale.


    Spice Cake

    • cups (270 g) flour - regular, all purpose (see note 1 if you want to use cake flour)
    • ¼ cup (25 g) cornstarch - also known as cornflour
    • tsp baking powder
    • ½ tsp baking soda
    • ½ tsp salt
    • tsp cinnamon - ground (see note 4 about this cakes 'spice' level)
    • tsp ginger - ground, powdered
    • ½ tsp cloves - ground
    • ½ tsp nutmeg - ground
    • cups (300 g) soft brown sugar - firmly packed (see note 2)
    • 3 large eggs - room temperature
    • 1 cup (200 g) unflavoured vegetable oil - I use canola
    • 1 cup (240 g) unsweetened applesauce - or apple puree
    • 2 tsp vanilla essence/extract
    • ½ cup (125 g) Greek yoghurt - room temperature, full-fat

    Cream Cheese Buttercream


    • Preheat oven to 160 °C (320°F) with the fan on (see note 6 if you don't have a fan function) and grease and/or line two 8 inch cake tins (I use my homemade cake release).
    • In a bowl, sift together your flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Using a whisk or fork, mix until well combined. Set aside.
    • In another bowl combine your soft brown sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, applesauce, vanilla and Greek yoghurt. Mix until well combined.
    • Pour your wet ingredients into your premixed dry ingredients and gently fold together with a spatula until just combined. Do not overmix the batter (see note 3).
    • Distribute the batter evenly into the two 8 inch cake tins, and bake for 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
    • Once baked, allow them to cool in the cake tins for about 15 minutes, and then turn them out onto a wire rack to completely cool before frosting with my cream cheese buttercream frosting.


    YouTube video


    Note 1. You can use cake flour in replacement of the all purpose flour and cornstarch in this recipe (295g total required). 
    Note 2. If using measuring cups for this recipe, then you want to firmly pack your soft brown sugar. To do this, pack your measuring cup with sugar and using the back of a spoon, press the sugar into the cup with a little bit of pressure (not too much) and then fill the remaining cup with more sugar.
    Note 3. By gently folding in the ingredients, it prevents too much gluten from forming, thus giving us a softer cake. Only mix until the strands of flour have disappeared and the batter is uniform
    Note 4. This cake has what I would consider a 'medium' level of spice. It's more than what you might consider 'lightly' spiced, but it isn't overwhelmingly spiced. If you prefer to have a real spice hit coming through, then you can add more spice 🙂
    Note 5. 1 batch of my cream cheese buttercream will be enough to completely cover an 8 inch 2 layer cake (top and sides). If you would like to decorate your cake how I did without covering the sides, then 3/4's or even half of the buttercream recipe (if you prefer not to have a thick layer of frosting) will be enough 🙂
    Note 6. In this recipe I use an oven with the fan function turned on. The fan forced function cooks cakes/cupcakes faster, so if your oven doesn't have a fan option, then you will need to increase the baking temperature to 175°C (347°F) so that the cake/cupcake bakes at the same rate as mine 🙂


    Calories: 2522kcal | Carbohydrates: 327g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 124g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 68g | Monounsaturated Fat: 29g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 281mg | Sodium: 1373mg | Potassium: 674mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 190g | Vitamin A: 451IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 423mg | Iron: 10mg

    Nutritional information are estimates only as they are automatically calculated by a third party application. Actual values may differ based on brands and types of products used.

    Keyword: apple spice cake, cinnamon spice cake, festive cake, holiday cake, spice cake
    Tried this recipe?I love hearing from you! Tag me on instagram so I can see your amazing creations 🙂

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    • Brett Leder

      I made blue cupcakes with chocolate frosting to announce to my in laws. They loved the idea. they had to peel the paper off to reveal the color.

      • Cakes by MK

        Such a cool idea! Congratulations on your baby boy Brett 😀

    • Farhana

      5 stars
      Love this recipe!!

    • Farhana

      This is the third cake I’ve made from this website. Third success, masha’Allah! This cake is amazing.

      If it’s helps others, I made it in a Bundt pan. It just takes a little longer to bake. And I didn’t have applesauce, so I grated two apples and just cooked until soft. You couldn’t see them in the cake.

      Jazak’Allahu-khair for sharing this recipe. Another for my collection. Look forward to try others. I’m going to look like a cake soon…😂.. lol

      • Cakes by MK

        So so happy to hear you loved the recipe Farhana, and that the apple substitute worked great! 😀 And haha I feel you, I’ve been eating a little too much cake myself recently!

    • Leeanne

      5 stars
      I’m a small hobby baker who enjoys trying new recipes. Your spice cake recipe was divine, a hit with my friends. I paired it with apple pie filling and everyone buried their faces in it 😂. I’m looking forward to trying more of your recipes. Keep up the awesome tutorials you deserve more followers.

      • Cakes by MK

        So so happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe Leeanne! 😀 I’ll have to try the apple pie filling next time – it sounds incredible!!

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    About me

    Welcome to my blog! My name is Maryam and I LOVE baking! :) I hope to provide you with the tools (i.e. simple, from-scratch, quality tested recipes), so that you can confidently bake up delicious treats to share with your family and friends!

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