Homemade Spice Cake Recipe

You've likely indulged in forkfuls of chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, lemon, and other basic flavors of cake. These flavors are great when you need to throw together a dessert quickly since you can buy the packaged mix at the store for an easy cake or cupcakes ready in no time at all. But there's nothing quite like a homemade cake bursting with flavor, especially one that isn't common. All it takes is just one bite of this particular homemade spice cake, and you'll be swooning. 

Bursting with the flavors of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg, the recipe for this homemade spice cake from developer Jennine Bryant infuses extra moisture into the dessert thanks to the addition of yogurt to the batter. It's truly fantastic! When you savor the taste of this layered spice cake with its rich and creamy homemade cream cheese frosting, it'll quickly become your favorite. Even sweeter is the fact that it only takes 30 minutes to prep this two-layer cake and approximately 30 minutes to bake. You'll have a delicious dessert ready for family or guests in no time at all!

A spicy history

Spice cake apparently has been around for thousands of years. According to Vondelmolen, Egyptians, Ancient Greeks, and the Romans all had their own modified version of a spice-infused and flavorful cake. The Ancient Greeks had their honey cake laden with spices that they used as a sacrifice to their gods. But seriously — that's a waste of cake! Ancient Egyptians created something similar to the honey cake with spices, while the Romans had their version of spice cake that included pepper. 

Thankfully, this amazing recipe from Bryant doesn't have pepper in it, because that just doesn't seem quite right in a sugary sweet dessert. But you could blend in some raisins for a bit of substance and texture if you'd like. The spice cakes of long ago also didn't have one important thing that today's spice cakes do: rich and decadent cream cheese frosting. This recipe also includes the super easy steps to make cream cheese frosting that you'll be inspired to slather on other cakes you'll bake. It would pair perfectly with carrot or even a dark chocolate cake. Yum!

Gather up the ingredients for this homemade spice cake

Most of the ingredients that you will need for this delicious dessert, you likely have on hand already. If not, a quick stroll down the baking aisle of your grocery store and a pass by the refrigerated section will provide you with everything you'll need. To whip up this beautiful and fantastic-tasting cake, you'll need butter, white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, self-rising flour, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, salt, eggs, plain yogurt, a block of cream cheese, and powdered sugar. Bryant prefers unsalted butter for this recipe so that the spices' myriad flavors shine through and so you can control the amount of salt that's in the recipe.

Snag a bag of self-rising flour

Bryant, who hails from England, explained that self-rising flour is flour that is already prepared with raising agents.

"It's really common in England. If you don't have access to it, you can use plain flour and mix in 2 teaspoons of baking powder for every cup of plain flour. Easy peasy," she says.

If you don't have self-rising flour on hand, as Bryant indicates, you can use all-purpose flour or plain cake flour. Even better would be to mix both flours together at a one to one ratio. Another version for creating your own self-rising flour is for every cup of all-purpose flour, add a teaspoon and a half of baking powder and one-fourth of a teaspoon of fine salt. Be sure to whisk these dry ingredients together before using.

Cream the eggs and sugar

Before you begin working with your ingredients, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease two seven-inch round cake pans with a little oil or butter, then lightly dust with flour. Put one cup of butter in a bowl along with a cup of white sugar and a cup of brown sugar, and begin mixing the ingredients together with a stand mixer set on high speed for three to four minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add in four eggs and one teaspoon of vanilla extract, then mix until thoroughly combined with the sugar and butter. Bryant advises home cooks to scrape down the side of the bowl with a spatula halfway through the mixing process to ensure that all ingredients have blended completely.

Incorporate the dry ingredients

In another bowl, dump in the flour. Add to it the ground cinnamon, ground ginger, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and salt. Blend the dry ingredients thoroughly, then take half of this mixture and add it to the bowl containing the eggs, butter, and sugar to form your batter. Stir in one cup of plain yogurt to the batter, then add in the rest of the dry ingredients until the batter is just combined.

"The yogurt makes the cake really moist and soft, and helps it to keep well and not dry out," Bryant says. "This cake is a good balance of different spices. It has natural sweetness, but the spices also make the cake aromatic and give it a warmth. It isn't overpoweringly sweet, and it's lovely and moist. The cream cheese frosting lifts the cake, adding a fresh tang that complements the sweetness."

Divide the cake batter evenly into the two prepared cake pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the oven. Once the top of the cakes springs back when lightly touched, they are done. Carefully remove the cakes from the pans and allow them to sit on the cooling rack for 30 minutes.

Whip up the fantastic frosting, decorate, and enjoy

Take out another bowl, and using your handheld mixer, beat together the cream cheese with half a cup of butter until the ingredients are creamy and smooth. Add in a teaspoon of vanilla extract then slowly sprinkle in two cups of confectioners sugar, one cup at a time, mixing completely until thoroughly combined.

Place one of the cakes on a plate or cake platter, and spread half of the cream cheese frosting across the top of the bottom layer. Gingerly place the second cake on top, and use the rest of the frosting to cover its top. If you want to spruce up this alluring spice cake, you could sprinkle toasted chopped hazelnuts or artistically set pecans or berries on top.

"This cake is a cake for all occasions. It can be a no-frills, throw-it-together-and-tuck-in type of cake, or you can easily dress it up for a beautiful birthday cake or a special occasion. I love that this cake is so versatile, so moist and so tasty. It keeps well, and it's great to have around for a nice treat to have alongside a cup of tea. I currently have one on the countertop so the family can help themselves, though with the cream cheese frosting, be careful to make sure you don't leave it out at room temperature for too long. Take it out of the fridge one or two hours before serving so it has time to warm up get to room temperature," Bryant says.

Homemade Spice Cake Recipe
5 from 27 ratings
When you savor the taste of this layered spice cake with its rich and creamy homemade cream cheese frosting, it'll quickly become your favorite.
Prep Time
Cook Time
two-layer spice cake with cream cheese frosting and chopped hazelnuts on a glass cake stand near dessert plates and forks
Total time: 1 hour
  • 1 ½ cup butter, divided
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 eggs (large)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ¾ cups self-rising flour
  • 1 cup natural yogurt
  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 2 cups icing sugar
Optional Ingredients
  • Chopped hazelnuts
  • Pecans
  • Berries
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare two 7-inch round cake tins by coating evenly with a little oil or butter and then a dusting of flour.
  2. Add 1 cup of the butter, the white sugar, and the brown sugar to a mixer. Mix on a high speed for 3 to 4 minutes until it is light and fluffy.
  3. Add the 4 eggs and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, then mix until combined with the sugar and butter. It might be necessary to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula partway through to make sure that all of the sugar and butter mixture combines with the eggs and vanilla.
  4. Measure out the spices and salt and mix these in with the flour. Add half of the flour and spices to the bowl and combine with the sugar, butter, and egg mixture to form a batter.
  5. Add the natural yogurt to the mixture, whisk, then add the rest of the flour and mix until just combined.
  6. Divide the cake batter evenly into the two prepared cake tins and then bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the oven. Once the top of the cakes spring back when lightly touched, they are done.
  7. Turn out both sponges and leave them to cool on a cooling rack for half an hour.
  8. Meanwhile, in a clean bowl, beat together the cream cheese and the other ½ cup of butter until smooth.
  9. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and then slowly add the icing sugar, one cup at a time, mixing until well-combined.
  10. Using a plate or cake platter, place the first sponge in the center and smooth half of the cream cheese frosting over the top of the cake. Then, place the second sponge on top and finish off by using the rest of the frosting to coat the top.
  11. If you like, serve with a sprinkling of toasted chopped hazelnuts, some decoratively placed pecans, or berries on top.
Calories per Serving 596
Total Fat 32.0 g
Saturated Fat 19.2 g
Trans Fat 0.9 g
Cholesterol 138.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 72.2 g
Dietary Fiber 1.1 g
Total Sugars 49.7 g
Sodium 449.4 mg
Protein 6.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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