Spice cake with creamy caramel icing is light and flavorful. The cooked caramel frosting is smooth and delicious like brown sugar fudge.
Take it from me you won't want to miss this combination. Spice cake with caramel! It's one of the best things in life. This two-layer, easy-to-make cake has all the essential spices for perfection: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and allspice. And the Creamy Caramel Icing has the texture of melt-in-your-mouth caramel fudge.
This recipe is a vintage gem found by my friend Susan LaRosa. She writes the blog A Cake Bakes In Brooklyn. She collects recipes she finds at flea markets and antique stores, then bakes them and let's us know the winners. She tells you why these classics stand the test of time. This one has a fine, delicate crumb because of the high-ratio method used when making it.
What is a high-ratio cake?
Baking experts will explain that the high-ratio method means the fat or butter (in this case shortening) is mixed with the dry ingredients before the liquid ingredients are added. This simply yields a different, fine texture (plus it's super easy). Now that I'm finished rambling on about awesome baking science, let's discuss eating this cake!
The spice balance is really perfect. I find most spice cakes have too much nutmeg or often taste like gingerbread instead of spice cake. This recipe doesn't even have ginger in it, so the spice mixture stays away from a holiday taste. Cinnamon is the main flavor and the other spices balance it out just right.
A touch of molasses helps deepen the flavor. I like to use simple unsulphered molasses instead of blackstrap. Blackstrap molasses is darker in flavor and a bit too strong for this delicate spice cake. It's baked in two 9-inch pans and layered with that lovely creamy caramel icing.
Also if you don't serve it to the neighborhood, the extras are even tastier the next day! If you feel trendy, you can sprinkle the top with just a touch of flaked sea salt for a salted caramel treat.
A vintage spice cake recipe that should be one of your new classics
I've had a few queries about this cake and if it could be made into cupcakes! I haven't experimented with it. I'm sure it would be lovely but you'll have to bake one or two off to see how full to fill the cupcake cups.
I wouldn't want you to fill them all and have tiny cupcakes or an overflowing mess. They will also be very delicate cupcakes because of the high-ratio cake texture. That's not a bad thing, just something to be aware of! Comment below if you've made this spice cake as cupcakes!
And if you love this cake and icing , try my favorite Pumpkin Cake Roll with Toffee Cream Cheese Filling or Caramel Glazed Cake Croutons .
Spice Cake With Creamy Caramel Icing
- 2 cups cake flour sifted
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup shortening
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground allspice
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¾ cup milk
- ¼ cup unsulphured molasses
- 2 large eggs
- Creamy Caramel Icing
- Heat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment; set aside.
- In a mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, shortening, salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, baking soda and baking powder.
- In a separate bowl stir together milk, molasses and eggs. Add to dry ingredients and mix on medium speed, about 2 min.
- Pour batter into prepared pans and bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 27 to 30 min. Let cool.
- Spread ¼ cup Creamy Caramel icing on one cake, then top with second layer. Frost entire cake.
- If you feel trendy, you can sprinkle the top with just a touch of flaked sea salt for a salted caramel treat.
- This old-fashioned recipe has a lovely light texture, which is due to a mixing technique called the "high-ratio method." You combine the shortening with all of the dry ingredients - not just the sugar - to create a finer crumb.
- The Nutrition Facts are calculated for just the cake. See the Frosting recipe for the additional facts.
For more baking deliciousness try one of Susan's classic recipes, Pecan Crispies. They are buttery, crunchy and nutty. I guess just what you'd expect from the name! Perfect with a cup of hot tea.
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Recipe by Tara Teaspoon
I’ve been in the food publishing business for over 20 years, creating recipes and food styling for magazines, books, television and advertising. Find out more about me!