This easy Spice Cake comes from my grandma and is my most treasured recipe. Start with a mixture of boiled spices and raisins – the smell is heavenly!
This Spice Cake recipe comes straight out of my childhood and family trips each summer up north. I was back at the old log cabin in June, so I thought I’d recreate this recipe for you as summer winds down.
When Grandma made her Spice Cake, it was always moist, delicious, and gone within the first two days. You might find the same thing happens to you, if you make it.
To make a Spice Cake from scratch, start with a boiled mixture of spices, raisins, butter, sugar, and water. The smell of that alone will make you swoon, but persevere!
Transform the cooled spice mixture into a proper batter with eggs, flour, baking powder, and baking soda. You’ll want to mix the eggs into the spice mixture and add the dry ingredients in batches, mixing well after each addition.
If you don’t whisk the dry ingredients thoroughly enough, the cake will be dotted with (what I charmingly refer to as) flour bombs: White splotches of unmixed dry ingredients. So, take your time and mix well! I used my standing mixer with the whisk attachment.
I love the way this cake looks when made with a bundt pan, but you can also bake it in a 9-inch x 13-inch pan. That’s what my grandma always did because it travels up north easily that way. The baking time should be about the same.
The glaze is optional, too. You truly don’t need it; the cake is delicious without. Grandma never glazed her Spice Cake.
But in my house, everything is better with a glaze.
For the Spice Cake:
- 2 cups raisins (see note 1)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups water
- ¾ cup butter
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (see note 2)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 eggs beaten
For the glaze:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In medium sauce pan, combine raisins, sugar, water, butter, cinnamon, and cloves. Bring to a boil; remove from heat and cool completely, at least one hour. Pour into a large mixing bowl.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease 12-inch bundt pan (or 9-inch by 13-inch cake pan). In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
- Whisk eggs into cooled spice mixture until uniformly combined. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, whisking well after each addition.
- Pour batter in to prepared pan and bake for 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely.
- To make the glaze, in a small bowl whisk together powdered sugar, water, and vanilla. Drizzle over cooled cake.
- Raisins: I love the chew factor these offer, but if you're not fond of regular raisins, golden raisins, dried cranberries, or chopped dried figs would also work well. Or omit entirely.
- All purpose flour: Sift the flour together with the baking powder and baking soda to not only mix those ingredients, but to also ensure you don't end up with any flour pockets hiding inside your cake batter (white flour is obvious in a dark cake like this one).
- Yield: This Spice Cake recipe makes one bundt cake, which serves between 12 to 20 depending on the thickness of your slices. This usually serves about 16 nice slices when I'm cutting.
- Storage: Cover any extra cake in plastic wrap and store covered at room temperature for up to 4 days.
- Freezer: Cool an unglazed Spice Cake to room temperature, then wrap tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight at room temperature, then glaze and slice.
- Your pan plan: My Grandma always made this in a 9-inch x 13-inch pan with stellar results, so if you don't own (or don't want to use) a bundt pan, that's certainly a great option.
- Spice up your glaze: To echo the spices in the cake batter, feel free to add a pinch of cinnamon to your powdered sugar glaze if you like.