This is a substantial yet tender spice cake that's flavorful enough to serve unadorned.

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Ingredients

16
Original recipe yields 16 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour a metal or disposable foil 9-by-13-inch pan. Whisk dry ingredients and spices in a large bowl. Mix milk, eggs and vanilla extract in a 2-cup measuring cup.

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  • Beat softened butter into dry ingredients, first on low, then medium, until mixture forms pebble-sized pieces. Add about 1/3 of the milk mixture and beat on low until smooth. Add remaining milk mixture in two stages; beat on medium speed until batter is just smooth. Add the sugar; beat until just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Pour batter into cake pan.

  • Bake until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the cake's center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Set pan on a wire rack; let cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the pan perimeter and turn cake onto rack. Let cool.

Picnic tip

Can be double-wrapped in plastic a day ahead. Return to pan to transport. Also, the batter can be divided and baked in two 8-inch square cake pans. Take one on the picnic; freeze one for later.

Copyright 2004 USA WEEKEND and columnist Pam Anderson. All rights reserved.

Partner Tip

Reynolds® Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Nutrition Facts

274.5 calories; 3.9 g protein; 36.1 g carbohydrates; 66.6 mg cholesterol; 221.5 mg sodium. Full Nutrition

Reviews (159)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
08/08/2008
A much easier way to combine the ingredients (especially great if you lack a hand mixer) is to cream the butter and sugar; stir in the milk, eggs, and vanilla; then stir in the dry ingredients, sifted together. Smells like Thanksgiving and goes GREAT with a dollop of COLD, whipped cream! I baked mine in a bundt pan: about 75 minutes at 350 degrees. Read More
(236)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
07/11/2011
First of all I want to say that the flavor of the spices was wonderful -- absolutely the best combination and amounts I've ever tasted in a spice cake. I only gave this 3 stars though due to the method and the fact that I felt it lacked some things such as raisins and nuts. I read through the entire recipe and was shocked at the instructions on how to put it together. I stuck with my "tried and true" method where I mixed the all dry ingredients together first then I creamed the butter and sugar added the eggs one at a time mixing well after each added the vanilla and then added the dry ingredients varying with the milk -- dry/milk/dry/milk/dry. I also plumped 1/4 cup golden raisins and 1/4 cup regular raisins and toasted 3/4 cup chopped walnuts and stirred that in after mixing everything else. I served this as the Grooms' cake for my sons wedding today and it was a big hit. Very moist but still held together. I recommend it to anyone looking for an excellent spice cake but stick to the "normal" method of mixing the ingredients. Read More
(81)
191 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 83
  • 4 star values: 55
  • 3 star values: 22
  • 2 star values: 14
  • 1 star values: 17
Rating: 5 stars
08/08/2008
A much easier way to combine the ingredients (especially great if you lack a hand mixer) is to cream the butter and sugar; stir in the milk, eggs, and vanilla; then stir in the dry ingredients, sifted together. Smells like Thanksgiving and goes GREAT with a dollop of COLD, whipped cream! I baked mine in a bundt pan: about 75 minutes at 350 degrees. Read More
(236)
Rating: 4 stars
11/17/2010
This is without a doubt the best spice cake I've ever made. The spices used are perfect and no one spice overwhelms anything else. It is moist and absolutely delicious. I bake mine in a stoneware fluted pan just because it looks pretty so I have to adjust cooking times~ 50 minutes in the oven and it is done perfectly. I took another reviewer's suggestion and made the "Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting" from this site to top it with. That frosting complements this cake perfectly. I double the frosting because you do get quite a large cake and just because it tastes divine! Thank you. *EDIT* I forgot to add that I've seen quite a few complaints about mixing this recipe. What I do with ALL my cakes is keep the wet and dry ingredients separate. For this cake, I beat the butter and sugar until fluffy, added the rest of the wet ingredients one at a time while slowly beating to blend. In another bowl I sifted all the dry ingredients together then added them slowly to the wet bowl and mixed it together by hand with a wooden spoon. Never fails! I give it 4 stars because I did have to make these changes and I'm sure that new cooks don't know that keeping the wet and dry separate for a cake is crucial. Read More
(157)
Rating: 5 stars
09/10/2005
This was almost like the one my mother made in the 1950's. She simmered 1/2 c. raisens until they were plump, drained the liquid and added them to the recipe. I tried that trick and now I have Mothers recipe. Thanks. Sometimes she would frost with caramel icing, sometimes cream cheese icing or sometimes just lay a paper doiley on top and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Read More
(152)
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Rating: 3 stars
07/11/2011
First of all I want to say that the flavor of the spices was wonderful -- absolutely the best combination and amounts I've ever tasted in a spice cake. I only gave this 3 stars though due to the method and the fact that I felt it lacked some things such as raisins and nuts. I read through the entire recipe and was shocked at the instructions on how to put it together. I stuck with my "tried and true" method where I mixed the all dry ingredients together first then I creamed the butter and sugar added the eggs one at a time mixing well after each added the vanilla and then added the dry ingredients varying with the milk -- dry/milk/dry/milk/dry. I also plumped 1/4 cup golden raisins and 1/4 cup regular raisins and toasted 3/4 cup chopped walnuts and stirred that in after mixing everything else. I served this as the Grooms' cake for my sons wedding today and it was a big hit. Very moist but still held together. I recommend it to anyone looking for an excellent spice cake but stick to the "normal" method of mixing the ingredients. Read More
(81)
Rating: 5 stars
12/02/2005
Extremely moist. Big hit with my family-we ate it while decorating our tree! Baked it in a bunt pan and sifted powdered sugar over the top and it turned out lovely. Very old-fashion-Christmas looking. It is important to follow the directions exactly or else you won't get the moist fluffy texture. Read More
(63)
Rating: 5 stars
03/06/2008
I made a rich caramel sauce to spoon over this and the final product is absolutely wonderful!!! The only thing missings is a really good quality french vanilla ice cream and a rich cup of freshly brewed coffee. I added a cup of raisins that I had soaked in hot water and I also followed a more traditional cake technique of creaming the sugar with the butter (or margarine... which I used) and then adding the eggs and vanilla. I added the combined dry ingredients to the sugar/margarine and then stirred in my milk and raisins. Absolutely perfect!! A definite keeper of a recipe and one well worth serving to guests. Read More
(53)
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Rating: 4 stars
02/05/2008
I made this but trying to get away from white flour i used all wheat.My bad it made it to dry and very dense. The flavor was there and good but i should have used white wheat flour not just whole wheat will try again with diff flour. Read More
(29)
Rating: 5 stars
10/06/2011
Mixing the butter with the dry ingredients instead of creaming the butter and sugar together and adding the other wet ingredients creates a finer crumbed more tender cake. This kind of a cake can support a heavy frosting. Read More
(25)
Rating: 5 stars
01/25/2008
Although this was the first cake I'd ever tried to make I found the instructions very easy to follow and had no problems during baking. I've served it on two seperate occasions and it's always been devoured very very quickly. I definitrly recommend it to first-time bakers or anyone with a love of spice cake in general. Try adding 1/2 cup of applesauce to make it more moist. Read More
(21)