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.

A round spice cake with drizzled icing.

Every summer when I was young, my family would pack up our car and drive north to a cabin for am extended family vacation. One bite of this Spice Cake recipe takes me instantly back there. All credit for this easy Spice Cake goes to my Grandma, who perfected and shared the recipe with me.

When Grandma made her Spice Cake, it was always moist, delicious, and gone within the first two days. While it likely won’t last long in your family either, the sweet memories you make while whipping it up time and time again sure will.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Spice Cake Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for spice cake.

Ingredient notes

  • 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).

Step-by-step instructions

  1. 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.
Someone holding a spoonful of soaked raisins over a clear bowl filled with brown liquid.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease 12-inch bundt 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.
Spice cake batter in a clear mixing bowl with a whisk resting in it.
  1. Pour batter in to prepared pan.
Spice cake batter in a bundt pan.
  1. Bake for 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely.
A spice cake in a bundt pan.
  1. To make the glaze, in a small bowl whisk together powdered sugar, water, and vanilla. Drizzle over cooled cake.
Someone drizzling icing on a round spice cake.

Recipe tips and variations

  • 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.
A round spice cake with drizzled icing.

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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 30 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.

Recipe Video

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. Deliciously easy! The only thing I did differently was to add my boil to the flour mixture (unsifted) and mix with a mixer about a minute. Came out perfect like your picture. Next time I will use golden rasins and add nuts. Thanks5 stars

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. Would I be able to bake this cake in a 9-inch Bundt cake pan? I would absolutely love to try this recipe out! Thanks5 stars

    1. Yes! They aren’t a leavening agent or anything like that and don’t change the recipe. I’ve made this without raisins. You’ll be fine. Thanks Holly!

  9. Hi, two questions before I make this cake.  Wanted to confirm that you grease but do not flour the pan.  Also, for non-raisin lovers, would dried cranberries be a suitable substitute?  Thank you!!

    1. Hi Linda, thanks for the questions. Just grease, don’t flour the pan (but grease it WELL). For non-raisin lovers, dried cranberries are an excellent substitute! I’ve made the cake with them before. I find that for some reason I tend to have dried cranberries on hand more often than raisins. If you need anything else, just let me know! Have a great weekend! -Meggan

  10. Just made this recipe and absolutely loved it!! So moist & flavorful…easy too!! I’ll definitely be saving it & making it again!5 stars

    1. Hi Neha, yes of course! 1/4 applesauce replaces one egg in most recipes, so I’d use 1/2 cup applesauce. I haven’t tested it, though, so I don’t know if the baking powder needs to be adjusted (sometimes people add 1/2 teaspoon or something like that). You could definitely try it, even the texture changes a little the flavors will be fantastic. I will definitely put this on my list to test I can tell you for sure! Thank you.

  11. This cake sounds yummy but I really dislike raisins. Can I just omit them or would something else need to be substituted? 2 cups is a lot.

    1. Hi Emma, just omit them! My husband is the same. LOVES this spice cake but hates raisins (it’s a texture thing). Leave them out and you don’t need to change anything. Thank you for the question!

  12. Holy Moly!! this is delicious and so easy to whip up. I halved the recipe and it came out perfect, I also slathered on some butter and had it for breakfast too Yum! God Bless your Grandma, I will be passing this one down to my grandchildren too.5 stars

    1. Thank you so much Maureen! And yes to BUTTER!!! I even put butter on stuff like monkey bread. I’m so glad you liked the cake. It brings back so many memories for me! Have a lovely weekend and take care.

  13. I happened upon this recipe today while on the hunt for a dessert to make with dinner. I followed the recipe for the cake exactly (although I did add a bit of cardamom to the glaze). This was probably the LEAST fussy cake recipe I’ve made in a long time. The whole thing was delicious! I will absolutely be making it again.5 stars

    1. That’s so great to hear Megan! Thank you so much, and I love your tip about the cardamom in the glaze. So glad you enjoyed it! Thanks again and take care.

  14. How I love family recipes!

    We used to have a ‘family recipe’ cake a bit like this when I was younger – I must try to get the recipe from my mum!

    I bet this is beautiful, Meggan – definitely the perfect cake to take on family vacation!5 stars