Layered spice cake with cream cheese frosting on a matte brown plate decorated with fall colored sprinkles.

Autumn Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Servings: 14
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Cooling time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups (318g) all-purpose flour (scoop and level to measure)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon*
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 3/4 cups (370g) packed light-brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (175ml) vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup (185g) unsweetened applesauce
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk**
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 12 oz cream cheese, nearly at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) unsalted butter, nearly at room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups (440g) (440g) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch round baking pans well with non-stick baking spray then lightly dust with flour and shake out excess. 
  2. Wrap cake strips around pan if you have them (for a more level cake). Set pans aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cloves for 20 seconds, set aside.
  4. Pour brown sugar into the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Break up brown sugar with fingertips until no clumps remain. 
  5. Pour in vegetable oil and applesauce, set mixer with paddle attachment and blend until well combined (occasionally stop and scrape bowl throughout mixing process). 

  6. Mix in eggs and vanilla. 
  7. Add in 1/2 of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined, then blend in buttermilk, then add remaining 1/2 of the flour mixture and mix until well combined. 
  8. Divide mixture evenly among two prepared baking pans. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 28 - 32 minutes. 

  9. Allow to cool in pans about 5 - 10 minutes then run a knife around edges to ensure cake is loose and invert upside down onto a wire rack to cool. 
  10. Cool completely then level tops of cakes as needed. Frost with cream cheese frosting, sprinkle pecans around edges if desired.
  11. For the frosting: In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. 

  12. Mix in powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until well blended***.

Recipe Notes

  1. *You can adjust the amount of spices used here to suit your taste. I'd say this has at amount of spice flavor, not too strong but not mild either.
  2. **If you don't have buttermilk you can make your own by mixing 1 Tbsp lemon juice or white vinegar with enough milk to equal 1 cup. Whisk and let rest 5 minutes before using.
  3. ***At this point I like to freeze the frosting in 5 minute increments, then mix again with stand mixer, then freeze another 5 and more as needed until it's a stiffer yet creamy consistency.
  4. Store the cake in refrigerator in an airtight container. Let rest at room temperature before serving.
  5. Recipe source: Cooking Classy