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old fashioned spice cake in square pan

Old Fashioned Spice Cake Recipe

This richly spiced cake is a tasty recipe that has been passed down for generations. Topped with a delicious cream cheese frosting, this is a recipe that will quickly become a fall fall in your home.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 9
Calories 434kcal


Spice Cake

  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon all spice
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs separated
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter softened

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • ¼ cup butter softened
  • ½ cup cream cheese softened
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon milk (optional)


To Make The Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line a 8 x 8 cake pan.
  • In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and all spice. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Set aside.
  • Cream the brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
  • Stir in the egg yolks until well blended.
  • Add the baking soda to the buttermilk.
  • Pour the buttermilk and soda mixture, plus the vanilla, into the sugar and egg mixture. Blend thoroughly. The batter will look curdled. Don't panic!
  • Using a spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the batter, until no more white streaks are visible.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan, leveling the top with a palette knife.
  • Bake for 35 - 40 minutes, or until the top is golden and a toothpick insert in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Allow the cake to cool fully in the pan before frosting.

To Make The Frosting

  • Beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth.
  • Add powdered sugar and salt. Mix on medium to high speed for 2 minutes.
  • Add the vanilla and milk, and mix until thoroughly combined.


The buttermilk activates the baking soda, so it cannot be substituted for regular milk. 
It's really important to gently fold in the egg whites, or the cake will not rise correctly. The correct method for folding is to cut the spatula through the middle of the batter, pulling the egg whites through. Continue to do this until all the whites have disappeared into the batter. 
The milk is optional for the frosting, but I like how it thins it out a bit and makes it just a touch creamier. 
The cake can be removed from the pan, but I find it easier to frost and serve directly from it. 
The cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days, but also does great in the fridge as long as it's in an airtight container. 


Calories: 434kcal | Carbohydrates: 81g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 347mg | Potassium: 147mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 741IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 2mg