Super Moist Spice Cake

Moist, dense, and rich homemade spice cake is topped with a generous layer of tangy cream cheese frosting. Filled with comforting fall spices, this cake is perfect for cool fall days.

Homemade and super moist spice cake with tangy cream cheese frosting. Such an easy recipe packed with TONS of flavor!

Chocolate? Who needs it. Spice is easily one of the best cake flavors around. It’s dense, moist, and flavorful enough that frosting isn’t even a requirement. I can’t even believe I’m saying this but when done right, super moist spice cake doesn’t need a swipe of frosting on top. Though that’s not really stopping you and I. Cream cheese frosting is always welcomed.

This spice cake recipe is different from my spice cupcakes. Maybe it’s just me, but when I think of cupcakes– I prefer light, fluffy, soft, and springy. No matter what that flavor is. When I think of spice CAKE, the direction is drastically opposite. Spice cake is dense and rich. It has tight crumbs and a moist texture. More flavor in 1 bite than in an entire cupcake– we’re talking gingerbread-level flavor.

Homemade and super moist spice cake with tangy cream cheese frosting. Such an easy recipe packed with TONS of flavor!

This Spice Cake Is:

  • Dense like banana cake
  • Cozy + comforting
  • Perfectly spiced
  • Soft + moist
  • Easy to make
  • Simple to transport– no layers!
  • Topped with smooth + silky cream cheese frosting
  • A great make ahead recipe (it’s even tastier on day 2)
  • The ultimate fall dessert

How to make super moist spice cake on

Spice Cake Ingredients

Spice cake requires very simple ingredients– nothing fancy, all items you likely have in your pantry already.

  • Flour: All-purpose flour serves as the base. We use sturdy all-purpose flour instead of cake flour in this recipe because of the thick, wet batter.
  • Baking Powder + Baking Soda: These ingredients help the cake rise.
  • Salt + Vanilla Extract: Both add flavor. Try using homemade vanilla extract!
  • Fall Spices + Molasses: For mega spice flavor we use lots of cozy spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. I like to add 1 Tablespoon of molasses, but that’s completely optional. I loved its extra robust flavor inside the cake, but I did test the cake without it. Still wonderful.
  • Oil: Oil guarantees a moist crumb.
  • Brown Sugar: We use only brown sugar in this spice cake recipe because you know that’s where the best flavor lies. I prefer dark brown sugar for even deeper spice flavor.
  • Applesauce: Applesauce adds flavor and moisture.
  • Eggs: Eggs provide structure and moisture.
  • Apple: 1 cup of shredded apple adds so much flavor and moisture– it’s what makes this spice cake truly the best I’ve ever tasted. You can also use shredded zucchini or carrot too.

How to make super moist spice cake on

How to Make Spice Cake

This is a very simply cake to prepare– it actually reminds me of pumpkin cake in terms of preparation, ease, taste, and texture. You don’t even need your mixer!

  1. Mix the dry ingredients.
  2. Mix the wet ingredients.
  3. Combine wet & dry ingredients.
  4. Pour into prepared 9×13 inch cake pan.
  5. Bake.
  6. Make cream cheese frosting.
  7. Chill. 30 minutes in the refrigerator makes cutting easier.
  8. Enjoy!

Homemade and super moist spice cake with tangy cream cheese frosting. Such an easy recipe packed with TONS of flavor!

Cream Cheese Frosting

No frosting necessary as this spice cake is delicious on its own. But we all know tangy cream cheese frosting is spice cake’s favorite friend so let’s whip up a batch of silky cream cheese frosting and pile it on!

Mix it up and try brown butter cream cheese frosting used on banana layer cake or cinnamon cream cheese frosting used on banana cupcakes. All options are equally yum! 🙂

Homemade and super moist spice cake with tangy cream cheese frosting. Such an easy recipe packed with TONS of flavor!

Other Size Cakes

This spice cake is incredibly versatile– one of the many things I love about it! There’s enough batter for a layer cake, bundt cake, or cupcakes.

  • Layer Cake: I’ve made this as a two layer cake before. Use 2 9-inch cake pans and bake the layers for 30-34 minutes or until the centers are cooked through.
  • Bundt Cake: This batter fits wonderfully into a bundt pan. I’m unsure of the exact bake time, so use a toothpick to test for doneness.
  • Cupcakes: This recipe makes about 24 standard size cupcakes. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Homemade and super moist spice cake with tangy cream cheese frosting. Such an easy recipe packed with TONS of flavor!

More Spiced Recipes

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Super Moist Spice Cake

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 hours
  • Yield: serves 12
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Homemade and super moist spice cake with tangy cream cheese frosting. Such an easy recipe packed with TONS of flavor!


  • 2 and 1/2 cups (312g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup (240ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 and 3/4 cup (350g) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup (180g) unsweetened applesauce
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded apple (or shredded carrot/zucchini)
  • optional: 1 Tablespoon molasses

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces (224g) full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups (360g) confectioners’ sugar, plus an extra 1/4 cup if needed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 9×13 inch pan. I always use this glass pan.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and other spices together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the oil, brown sugar, applesauce, eggs, vanilla extract, and molasses (if using) together in a medium bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until combined. Fold in the shredded apple until combined.
  4. Spread batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Baking times vary, so keep an eye on yours. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you find the top of the cake is browning too quickly in the oven, loosely cover it with aluminum foil.
  5. Remove the cake from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely. After about 45 minutes, I usually place it in the refrigerator to speed things up.
  6. Make the frosting: In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add 3 confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. If you want the frosting a little thicker, add the extra 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar (I add it). Spread the frosting on the cooled cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. This helps sets the frosting and makes cutting easier.
  7. Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for 5 days.


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Prepare cake through step 5. Cover the cake tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze up to 3 months. Bring to room temperature, make the frosting, frost, and serve. Frosted cake freezes well, up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature or serve cold.
  2. Special Tools: Icing Spatula | KitchenAid Hand Mixer | Glass Mixing Bowls | Glass Baking Dish
  3. Layer Cake: I’ve made this as a two layer cake before. Use 2 9-inch cake pans and bake the layers for 30-34 minutes or until the centers are cooked through.
  4. Bundt Cake: This batter will fit into a bundt pan. I’m unsure of the exact bake time, but use a toothpick to test for doneness.
  5. Adapted from my favorite carrot cake recipe.

Keywords: spice cake

How to make super moist spice cake on
How to make super moist spice cake on


  1. Jo-Lynn Harmon says:

    I need to feed a lot of people and was thinking of baking this in a half sheet or jelly roll pan. Will the recipe as directed pour into and cover the pan, any adjustments on baking time?

    1. Hi Jo-Lynn! You can bake this batter on a half sheet pan. The cake will be thin, so the bake time should be significantly reduced.

  2. Donna gerstnecker says:

    Well this recipe work in a cupcake

    1. I made as cupcakes and it worked perfectly. It made 24 standard cupcakes filled about 3/4 full, cooked on 350 for about 22-25 minutes. I just frosted with a flat spatula.
      Thank you

  3. Has anyone tried subbing pumpkin puree for the applesauce? Do you think that would work?

    1. That would likely work, Bethany. Or you can try my favorite pumpkin cake:

  4. This recipe worked very well…. used a foil pan as my glass one broke lol

  5. Hello! Did ya’ll peel the apple before grating?

    1. Yup.. I did. Best recipe ever!!.. made it today too : )

  6. The best spice cake ever! Followed recipe step by step. Although, I didn’t have ginger and my family doesn’t like nutmeg I added 1/2 teaspoon of Allspice along with cloves and cinnamon.

    1. I’m so glad you make it work for your family and that you enjoyed it!

  7. If I wanted to make this a 3-tiered cake, could I just add 50% of the ingredients to the recipe and pour into three 9″ round cake pans?

    I’m delighted to try this! Thank you!

    1. Hi Julie! You can try that, yes.

  8. This was delicious and easy to make!!

  9. Is it possible to use this recipe to make whoppie pies ?

    1. Hi Sierra, I’m afraid this cake batter is too wet to make whoopie pies.

  10. Suzannah Kolbeck says:

    Made this today with my own cup-for-cup gluten-free flour mix.

    Instead of buying applesauce, I put two apples in a food processor and processed the hell out of them. Perfect.

    Cake was delicious. Perfect balance of spice. Baked in two 9″ pans for about 40 minutes. I was worried it would collapse as it cooled, but nope. Perfect.

    I also added a tablespoon of Greek yogurt to the frosting for a little more tang. Probably should have added more sugar to thicken the frosting, but chose not to. Really delicious flavor all the way around, and not too sweet.

  11. Could I use this to make a spice cake roll? My husband doesn’t like pumpkin, of course lol, and he ask for spice cake roll instead.

    1. Hi Amy! I haven’t tried using this batter for a cake roll before, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work. I recommend using a 12×17 inch jelly roll pan.

      1. Thank you!! I’m going to try this weekend!!

  12. The most delicious spice cake recipe! My 2nd time making it, I love the addition of grated apple and all the warm and cozy fall spices! I am making the recipe into cupcakes for my nephew’s 2nd birthday cupcakes. He requested apple cupcakes 🙂

  13. I’m excited to try this. How long should I bake them if I’m doing cupcakes?

    1. Hi Cindy! For cupcakes, I recommend filling cupcake liners about 2/3 full and baking at 350°F (177°C) for about 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  14. Would it work if I added raisins?

    1. Absolutely! Add 1 cup of raisins to the cake batter.

  15. Can I substitute bleached self rising flour for the ap flour, baking soda and baking powder?

    1. I haven’t tested this recipe with self rising four, but this is a great article the subject you might find helpful:

  16. Kathy Marek-Bissonnette says:

    Hi – I just made the cake and frosting yesterday and the flavor and texture of both was fantastic – thank you for this easy and amazing recipe!!! One clarification, please – the recipe calls for 1 c. of ‘grated’ apple, but your photo seems to show ‘shredded’ apple (which I only picked up on after the fact). I actually grated my apple and it was very wet to add to the wet ingredients, and the cake turned out very moist. Should the apple be shredded, which would yield a slightly less moist cake? Thank you!

    1. Hi Kathy! I mean shredded, but even then, the apples will be very wet. That’s normal. This cake is very moist!

  17. Would plain yogurt be an okay replacement for the applesauce?

  18. Would adding the spice ingredients to pre-packaged plain cake mix work?

  19. I think I will make the bundt cake version for my birthday cake as spice cake is my favorite. Any ideas on a glaze/frosting for it in my country of France with no bricks of cream cheese?

    1. What a delicious birthday cake! A drizzle of salted caramel, vanilla icing, or the maple icing used on my pumpkin donuts would be amazing!

    2. Are you able to get mascarpone? That should work.

  20. I made this cake yesterday as a two layer cake with the cream cheese frosting for the breakfast group I bake goodies for. The cake came out perfect and very moist. I used granny smith apples for the shredded apples. I also used your recipe for carrot cake with similar superb results, and I will use your red velvet cake recipe for another cake I have planned this week. Keep the great recipes coming.

  21. Will this recepie work in a 9inch circle pan? And can I leave out the applesauce?

    1. Hi, Michelle! This recipe works as two, nine inch cakes. Bake the layers for 30-34 minutes or until the centers are cooked through. The applesauce adds flavor and moisture and I would not recommend leaving it out. Hope this helps!

  22. Just made this for Christmas dessert- a huge hit!! The cake is so moist and delicious!! I substituted your Favorite Vanilla Frosting recipe for the cream cheese frosting and it was perfect. It was also delicious for breakfast the next day!!

  23. Christina Wertz says:

    Delicious, simple to make, GREAT!

  24. Made this for a potluck at work. My co-workers loved it. When I told them I don’t know how to bake, they looked at me like I’d grown a second head. The frosting was so light & fluffy, I used the leftovers as a dip for strawberries. Thanks for a great, easy recipe.

  25. Stephanie Capecchi says:

    This recipe is delish. Use all the frosting – I didn’t and regretted it! Also be very careful with the cook time, my edges got a little too brown. YUM!!!

  26. Veronica Deere says:

    Made this cake with some extra ginger and some cardamom, and freshly grated nutmeg. Also added some black walnut flavoring to the cream cheese icing, which made it taste almost like penuche. Was delicious. Will definitely make again. I think I might up the spices even more next time, or maybe grate a little ginger root into it, as I love a really spicy spice cake!

  27. What can i substitute molasse with if one is not available

  28. Alma Galvan says:

    Absolutely love this cake. Made some with cream cheese frosting and some with whipped they’re delish. 🙂

    1. I’m so happy you love it, Alma!

  29. Stupid question: do I let the cake cool in the baking dish?

    1. I usually let cakes cool completely in the pans, especially sheet cakes.

  30. I made this cake today. My boyfriend had 3 pieces and said it was the best he ever had. It was a keeper. Definitely make it again.

    1. I’m thrilled he enjoyed it so much, Nancy!

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