Spice Cake with Molasses Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Yield 16 servings

A spice-filled and indulgent holiday cake perfect for the season.

Spice Cake
Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn

The sweet scent of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves signals the holidays. Next to molasses cookies, this cake is our favorite ode to the season. It feeds a gang and will travel well.


2 1/2 cups cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger and cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter,room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1/3 cup molasses
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1/4 cup (1⁄2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter 2 (9-inch) round cake pans and dust with flour.
  2. To prepare cake, resift cake flour with baking soda, salt and spices.
  3. Combine butter and shortening in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until very smooth, about 1 minute. Add sugar and vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating 30 seconds after each addition. Add molasses and beat on medium speed 30 seconds.
  4. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating only until the batter is smooth. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.
  5. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until layers are golden brown and spring back when gently pressed in the center. Do not overbake. Let cool 10 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool completely.
  6. To prepare frosting, beat cream cheese and sugar in medium bowl until smooth. Add molasses, butter and vanilla and beat just until smooth. 7. Place a cake layer on plate. Spread with 1 1⁄2 cups frosting. Top with second layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides. Refrigerate. Before serving, allow to return to room temperature. Serves 16.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Greg Patent’s Baking in America: Traditional and Contemporary Favorites from the Past 200 Years (Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002).



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 278 other followers