Spice Cake with Molasses Cream Cheese Frosting

Spice Cake
Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn
  • Yield: 16 servings

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

Nutritional Info *per serving

  • Calories 430
  • Fat 27g
  • Cholesterol 115mg
  • Sodium 320mg
  • Carbohydrate 41g
  • Protein 6g