Spice Cake

09 October 2018 by Natanja

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  • A moist and fluffy spice cake with a whipped cream cheese frosting.

    A frosted spice sheet cake with cream cheese frosting.

    Fall comes and out come all the spices! Autumn is THE time to use those fragrant spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. In fact, today we are using all of them to create a flavourful spice cake. Since today’s cake is a sheet version, it comes together ridiculous easy and is frosted in no time. Don’t worry about elaborate piping techniques as this cake looks gorgeous with the cream cheese frosting effortlessly spread on top using just a simple spatula.

    Fall has been such a welcome change to all those hot summer days we have had towards the end of the summer. There is something about this season that makes you crave comfort and leaves you wanting to stay in bed just a little longer. I love whipping up desserts especially in fall since so many of my favourite desserts are based on this time of the year- apple pie, pumpkin spice latte (technically not a dessert, but you get the point) and anything caramel.

    Flour and spices in a large glass bowl.


    The spices not only give the cake a wonderful fall like flavor, they also make your home smell like the equivalent of a fall scented candle. Two birds with one stone! The spices we are using are cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. I prefer freshly grated nutmeg for the best taste, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand.

    Cream cheese frosting

    For the longest time I’ve had an aversion towards unbaked cream cheese in dessert recipes. (I know, it’s crazy!) While I loved cream cheese on a bagel or a piece of toast, I thought it was way too savory to actually use in anything sweet (with the exception of cheesecake because it’s baked). In fact, if you read some of my old blog post, you’ll notice that I always opted for mascarpone or butter. This however, recently changed and I have been spreading cream cheese frosting on top of… well almost anything. I think I finally understand carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

    For this recipe I decided to do a cream cheese frosting with whipped cream cheese stretched with mascarpone. The mascarpone balances out the acidity of the cream cheese and gives the frosting a rich and creamy taste. If you don’t have any mascarpone at home or simply wish to omit it, you can use butter in its place. The frosting will taste slightly different but it will still be delicious.

    A jar of apple sauce with a spoon inside.


    For the applesauce you can use sweetened or unsweetened. I have tried this recipe with both and I couldn’t detect a difference in flavor. Feel free to use homemade if you have any on hand, e.g. that Tupperware of homemade applesauce that has been sitting in your freezer for a few months (or is that just me?). You can also substitute the applesauce for pear sauce which also gives the cake a wonderful flavor.

    Frosting being spread onto a spice sheet cake with a spatula

    Make ahead

    This spice cake is a great make-ahead recipe because it actually gets better on the second day! In fact, I recommend you make this a day ahead and let it rest in an airtight container until the next day. This way the flavors intensify and the cake becomes super moist.

    Once frosted, you need to store the cake in the fridge to prevent the frosting from getting too soft. The unfrosted cake can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

    A slice of the spice sheet cake garnished with star anis and a cinnamon stick

    I hope you give the spice cake a try, and if you do, be sure to let me know in the comment section down below. I always love hearing from you!

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    A slice of the spice sheet cake garnished with star anis and a cinnamon stick

    Spice Cake

    • Prep Time: 15 minutes
    • Cook Time: 25 minutes
    • Total Time: 40 minutes
    • Yield: 1 sheet cake 1x


    A moist and fluffy spice cake with a whipped cream cheese frosting.



    Spice Cake

    • 300g flour (2 and 1/2 cups)
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 120ml canola oil (1/2 cup)
    • 270g brown sugar (1 and 1/2 cup)
    • 3 eggs, room temperature
    • 250g applesauce (1 cup)
    • 125g sour cream (1/2 cup), room temperature
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Cream Cheese Frosting

    • 200g cream cheese (7oz), chilled
    • 100g mascarpone (1/2 cup), chilled
    • 115g powdered sugar (1 cup)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


    1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) and grease a  24cm x 33cm sheet pan (9.5 x 13 inches).
    2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk together until well combined.
    3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, eggs, applesauce, sour cream and vanilla extract until well combined.
    4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently mix just until combined and no flour specs remain.
    5. Pour into the greased sheet pan and bake for 22-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    6. Let the cake cool completely before frosting.
    7. For the frosting, combine the cream cheese, mascarpone, powdered sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl. Cream together with a hand-mixer until smooth.
    8. Frost the cake with a small spatula.


    Make the cake 1 or 2 days ahead and store the unfrosted cake in an airtight container. Once frosted, store in the fridge.

    Freeze the unfrosted cake for up to 3 months.

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    Spice Cake


    Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, but these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t verified and/or personally used.

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