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How to make a spice cake from scratch

5 from 3 votes
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Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours


  • 2 and 1/2 cups (312g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1 cup canola (240ml) or vegetable oil
  • 1 and 3/4 cup (350g) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup (180g) unsweetened applesauce
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded apple (or shreddedcarrot/zucchini)
  • optional: 1 Tablespoon molasses

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces (224g) full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups (360g) confectioners’ sugar, plus an extra 1/4 cup if needed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  • Preheat the oven and prepare a cake pan.
  • Combine all dry ingredients.
  • Mix all the liquid ingredients.
  • Combine the dry mixture with the wet one and beat with a whisk until smooth.
  • Add the grated apple to the dough and knead.
  • Pour the dough into a cake pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, until the toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry.
  • While the cake is cooling, prepare the icing. Beat cream cheese and butter. Then add confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and salt.
  • Spread the icing on top of the cake and cool in the refrigerator.


  • Unsweetened applesauce you can cook yourself. Dice 2-3 peeled apples, put in a saucepan, and pour 1/2 cup of water. Stew until soft, then beat with a blender. Add a pinch of salt and ground cinnamon as desired.

  • If the cake in the oven browned too quickly and has not yet been baked inside, cover it with a sheet of foil.
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