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.

Easy spice cake on a white plate with a slice being lifted out.

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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!

A slice of easy spice cake on a white plate with a fork and the cake on a white plate with a piece missing in the background.

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.

A glaze being poured onto an easy spice cake on a white plate.

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.

A round spice cake with drizzled icing.

Spice Cake

My Grandma's easy boiled Spice Cake is my most treasured dessert recipe. As a sweet brunch addition, birthday cake, or party dessert idea, there's no wrong time to savor a slice.
5 from 15 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Servings 16 servings
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 380

Ingredients 

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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. Storage: Cover any extra cake in plastic wrap and store covered at room temperature for up to 4 days.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 380kcalCarbohydrates: 73gProtein: 4gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 282mgPotassium: 188mgFiber: 2gSugar: 40gVitamin A: 296IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 48mgIron: 2mg
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Comments

  1. Very good and tasty. Quick and easy. I know this a bread can adapt to my needs. I use whole wheat 100% flour. It cooks great and it is healthy for me. I am into healthy eating with food that has all the ingredients to be healthy and vital with ,vitamins and grains. More, Of a wholistic approach to eating . I want to feel full and nourish at the same time.

    1. Thanks Linda! I’m so glad you were able to make it to your liking and enjoyed. – Meggan

  2. Looks good, but can I leave out the raisins from the cooked sugar-spice mix and add 2 cups of chopped nuts to the batter instead?

    1. Hi Patty, I haven’t tried that variation myself, but I don’t see why not! Sounds great! – Meggan

  3. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I was looking for an old fashioned recipe to make for my friends for Thanksgiving (we will not be gathering due to the pandemic, but I offered to make desserts for a pickup dinner that two of my friends are cooking to share with everyone). I wanted something comforting, delicious and nostalgic, and just reading through this recipe (and knowing it came from your grandmother!) – it seemed perfect.
    Well, today I made a test batch using Nordicware’s quartlet pan (I am making small 5” cakes and putting them in little cake boxes for friends to pick up on Thanksgiving). Baked at 350 for 23-24 minutes, the little cakes turned out beautifully! I dusted them with powdered sugar and gave them to four friends to test – they absolutely loved them! I also had enough leftover batter for a little cake for myself, and it was absolutely delicious. I love how the brown crust is so flavorful while the inside of the cake is so deliciously moist. Dusting the cakes rather than icing them happened because I’ll be making more than a dozen cakes for the holiday, but you and your other reviewers are right – icing is not necessary.
    Thank you so much! Although my friends and I will not be together this holiday, we will all be enjoying your grandmother’s wonderful spice cake and looking forward to when we can safely gather again.
    Happy holidays.5 stars

  4. This spice cake is easy to make and lovely when poured into a Bundt pan. It is more breadlike than cakelike and does not need icing. The taste is wonderful and reminded me of a cake my mother used to make.5 stars

  5. Delicious easy cake! I added some extra cinnamon, a pinch of ginger, and some rum! Was a hit for Christmas dessert and even better with coffee or tea the next morning. I decided not to glaze mine and it’s incredible.5 stars

  6. howdy – wondering if you have a time range for a sheet cake version?
    Thanks for posting the recipe; I’m making this for Secret Santa exchange at work. Am going to use orange juice & zest in the glaze, because I want to. lol

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