Spice Cake & Toasted Walnut Cream Cheese Frosting

January 25, 2015
1 Ratings
  • Serves 10
Author Notes

This perfectly sweetened spice cake is great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Topped with a tangy cream cheese frosting and studded with toasted walnuts, it’s a cake game changer. —Abigail Olivas

What You'll Need
  • For the cake:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • For the frosting:
  • 1 1/2 cups shelled walnuts
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups powdered/confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  1. For the cake:
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  3. Using cooking spray (I used a coconut oil spray), grease two round 9 inch pans.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the stick of butter and the brown sugar together until completely combined / creamed together.
  5. Add the vegetable oil and mix until incorporated.
  6. Separate the eggs and set aside the whites. Add egg yolks into the mixing bowl one at a time, mixing before adding the next.
  7. In a separate bowl, sift the dry ingredients together (flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt.)
  8. A little bit at a time, add the dry mixture and the buttermilk to the batter. Mix well after each addition.
  9. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. And after stiff peaks form, fold them gently into the batter.
  10. Pour the batter into the cake pans and bake for 30 minutes. They are done when a toothpick or fork comes out clean after inserting it into the center.
  11. After they are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool completely in the pans. It will simply ruin dessert as you know it, if you don’t.
  12. After the cakes have cooled, invert each cake on a plate in preparation for assembly.
  13. While cakes are cooling, prepare the frosting. (see below)
  14. To assemble, put your first cake onto a cake platter. Add a healthy layer of the frosting to the top of the cake, add the other cake on top, and frost all the way around gently. The more tender you are with the cake, the less breaking and crumbling will happen!
  15. After the cake is frosted all the way around both layers, sprinkle the remaining walnuts that you set aside when making the frosting, all over the cake.
  1. For the frosting:
  2. While the cakes are cooling, lower the oven to 325 F and toast the walnuts on a foiled lined baking sheet for 15 minutes, mixing them a bit up on the baking sheet halfway through.
  3. In a mixing bowl using an electric mixer, blend the butter, cream cheese, vanilla extract then mix in powdered sugar a little bit at a time until fully incorporated. Add milk as needed to reach spreading consistency.
  4. Roughly chop up the toasted walnuts and set aside 1/4 cup of them. Fold the remaining nuts into the frosting.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Tina Schubert
    Tina Schubert
  • Abigail Olivas
    Abigail Olivas
  • Patti
  • Lee

6 Reviews

Patti October 5, 2021
I’m making this amazing cake again for Canadian Thanksgiving! I previously asked about the vanilla extract amount as it wasn’t stated but now it seems to have disappeared entirely. No vanilla extract in the frosting now? Many thanks!
Tina S. October 5, 2021
Hi, Patti. I just pulled my recipe from 2018 and after reading, I remember that while it doesn't list the vanilla in the ingredients for the frosting, this was an oversight because the directions say to blend the vanilla extract. I don't remember now how much I used, but I would guess a tsp, or a little splash more if you want. If it is too runny, you can always just add a little more confectioners sugar. I'm so jealous!! I want to make it, but have to get rid of Cvd weight first! HA HA! ENJOY!!!
Patti June 4, 2021
I made this and it’s fantastic! I had to guess at the amount of vanilla extract in the frosting tho - could you please insert the correct amount?
Tina S. November 15, 2018
Last week one of the attorneys in our office made this cake. Since spice cake is my favorite, I tried it, and this cake WAS TO DIE FOR!!! It gets 10 stars out of 5. It is dee-lish AND beautiful. Thank you for sharing it. I'm going to try making it for Christmas!
Lee February 6, 2015
this recipe is missing several steps. i figured it out since i'm not a novice baker, but i'm guessing not many people will make this unless the steps are fixed.
it is a good cake!
Abigail O. February 10, 2015
Hi Lee! Thank you so much for the call out--it appears when I saved the recipe several steps disappeared. I have added the missing steps back in. So happy that you figured it out and that the cake was a success!