Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream

During the holiday a spice cake is a perfect dessert. It is filled with all of the wonderful warming spices that we have come to expect during the holidays and fills the house with that wonderful holiday aroma.  

This cake is one of those that I have to make every year once the holiday season starts. Well this and molasses cookies. I love the way they make my kitchen smell but more importantly they are so darned tasty. If you have had a spice cake before then you know why they are so good and if you haven’t you are in for a treat! This cake is so tender and moist and is the perfect dessert for any gathering. toss on some sugared cranberries and rosemary and you will have a showstopping dessert. 

In this recipe

This recipe has a lot of ingredients. There are quite a few spices and even pepper in the cake. All of the spices that have been added to this cake are called warming spices and smell amazing when baked. There are also some additional ingredients to be aware of. 

Buttermilk: this will help keep the cake tender and moist. The acid will also help with the rise of the cake. 

Sour cream: will help also keep the cake moist and adds richness but as it doesn’t have as high of a moisture content it will not make the batter too runny. 

Baking soda: is going to help the cake rise especially in the presence of the acid from the buttermilk. 

Canola oil: like any oil based cake it will have a must more spongy texture but the oil will allow the other flavors to shine through. 

Ingredients for spice cake on a wooden cutting board
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Making the batter

This is an oil cake so you won’t have to cream anything. Instead you will want to make sure that the sour cream gets nice and evenly mixed. Make sure that all of the ingredients are at room temperature otherwise your batter might look broken. That could also prevent the cake from rising properly during baking. Once you mix the sugar and oil you will add the sour cream. This is a great time to make sure it is nice and mixed before adding the rest of the ingredients. You can add it later but I have found this was the easiest way to mix it. 

dry ingredients in a mixing bowl
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Sugar and oil in a stand mixer
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Liquid ingredient in a stand mixer
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Completed cake batter in a stand mixer
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Unbaked cake batter in cake pans
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Baked cakes in cake pans
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Baking the spice cake

Once the batter has been made you will want to make sure the cake pans are as evenly filled as possible. This makes for an even cooking time as well evenly cooking throughout. It will also play a part in making sure that the cakes are the same size. Which will be nice once you start to decorate it. You will want to make sure that the cake gets time to cool in the pan before turning them onto a cooling rack. This will allow the crumb to set and keep from collapsing. 

Looking down on a spice cake from above
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Making the eggnog buttercream

While the cake is cooling it is the perfect time to make the cream cheese eggnog buttercream. You will want to make sure that you cream the butter and cream cheese until it is nice and fluffy. Once it is perfect then turn the speed down to low. That way you don’t end up with all of the powdered sugar in your face and all over the counter. Once it is incorporated then you crank that bad boy back up and add your eggnog. While the recipe calls for 1/2 cup adjust this to your tastes and consistency. 

A slice taken out of spice cake
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Looking for other spiced recipes?

Spice cake on a white cake stand
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Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream

A super moist cake made with nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and allspice and frosted with a cream cheese eggnog buttercream.
5 from 14 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Decoration 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 slices
Calories 589 kcal


  • Stand mixer with paddle attachment
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Flour sifter or whisk
  • 9 inch cake pans
  • Spatula
  • Piping bag optional


Spice Cake

  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour spooned and leveled
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup light brown sugar packed
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
  • ½ cup sour cream room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon molasses unsulphured not blackstrap
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla

Cream Cheese Eggnog Buttercream

  • 2 pounds confectioner's sugar
  • 2 cups cream cheese 2-8 oz packs softened
  • 1 cup butter unsalted, softened
  • ½ cup eggnog
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg


Spice Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F, 177C or gas mark 4. Grease 3 9 inch cake pans and set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pepper, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Whisk to make sure everything is evenly combined and set aside.
  • In the bowl of the stand mixer with a paddle attachment add the brown sugar, sugar and vegetable oil. Mix on low until all of the them have been incorporated. Add the sour cream and mix until smooth. Increase the speed to medium high and add the eggs one at a time waiting a minute between each egg. Add the molasses and vanilla.
  • Reduce the speed to low and add half the flour mixture, mix until just combined and then add all of the buttermilk. Once combined add the remainder of the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  • Divide the cake batter evenly between the three pans and bake until a toothpick or knife inserted in the middle comes away clean, about 25-30 minutes.
  • Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before turning the cakes onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before icing the cake.

Crema Cheese Eggnog Buttercream

  • Cream the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and add the powdered sugar. Once all of the sugar has been incorporated then increase the speed to medium.
  • Add the nutmeg and then add the eggnog one tablespoon at a time until you get the desired consistency.


Serving: 1sliceCalories: 589kcalCarbohydrates: 133gProtein: 14gFat: 35gSaturated Fat: 20gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 154mgSodium: 512mgPotassium: 281mgFiber: 1gSugar: 35gVitamin A: 1179IUVitamin C: 0.3mgCalcium: 182mgIron: 2mg
Nutrition Disclaimer*
Keyword Christmas, Holiday, Spice
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Spice cake pinterest pin
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19 thoughts on “Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream”

  1. 5 stars
    This cake is beautiful and delicious. It looks like a showstopper cake and the flavor is terrific. Not going back to my other spice cake recipes, this is the one.

  2. Sandhya Ramakrishnan

    5 stars
    We love spice cake and this absolutely is delicious. The eggnog buttercream is just the perfect pair for this cake. I also made a few into cupcakes and it was delicious. Sourcream in cakes are the best ever as they are so moist and yet light.

  3. 5 stars
    Reading this pist made me feel like I was in your kitchen with all those delightful aromas and spice. Love the flavors of the cake and with that eggnog buttercream absolutely exquisite 👌.
    This is a great cake for Christmas day!
    Thanks for sharing your Christmas spirit! ❤️ 😍

  4. 5 stars
    This cake is beautiful and the flavor combination is incredible. It was the perfect dessert to serve for my holiday dinner party.

  5. 5 stars
    This cake is absolutely beautiful! Perfect flavor combo for the holidays too. 🙂 This would be great for a holiday party or celebration.

  6. 5 stars
    This is the best spice cake I’ve ever made. I did a trial run before Christmas and now look forward to making it again! Thanks for the great recipe.

  7. 5 stars
    What a festive cake. The combination of the spice cake with the eggnog frosting is the perfect dessert for the holiday table. The addition of the sugared berries is a nice touch.

  8. 5 stars
    This cake was amazing, but I could have eaten the frosting with a spoon! I love anything eggnog! I used the tip from a previous comment to add the eggnog slowly and it came out perfectly.

  9. 5 stars
    Delicious! The nutmeg in the icing really bumped up the flavor. Grate the nutmeg yourself, if able. It makes a difference. Definitely add the eggnog one tablespoon at a time. I put in 1/4 cup and the frosting was a little too soft. I kept the cake refrigerated and took it out a few hours before serving and had no problems with slicing, ie, the layers didn’t slide.

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