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Delicious Spice Cake Recipe

My mother was an excellent cook who taught me a great deal as she cooked from scratch. Today, both my hubby and I enjoy cooking.

Growing up, my brother John always chose this spice cake as his birthday dessert.

Growing up, my brother John always chose this spice cake as his birthday dessert.

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1/2 cup shortening (I used Crisco)
  • 1 cup brown or white sugar (I used light brown sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sour milk (Note: If you don't happen to have sour milk on hand, you can easily make it by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a scant cup of milk. It will be ready for use in recipes within a few minutes.)

For the streusel topping:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts, but pecans would also be flavorful)
Measuring out some of the ingredients for the spice cake.

Measuring out some of the ingredients for the spice cake.

Step 1: Make the Cake

  1. Cream the sugar and shortening together in a bowl.
  2. Add the egg and continue mixing.
  3. Add the cinnamon, cloves, and ginger spices.
  4. Put the baking soda into the sour milk and alternate adding to the mixing bowl with the flour, baking powder, and salt. Note: I sifted the flour, baking powder, and salt together, which avoids any lumps in the baking powder.
  5. When this batter is well-mixed, pour into an 8-inch square baking pan which is well greased or sprayed with Pam.
  6. Smooth the batter out and before baking, sprinkle the streusel over the top of the cake.

Step 2: Make the Streusel Topping

  1. Put all of the streusel ingredients into a small mixing bowl and cut with a pastry blender into small pieces that become crumbly and well-mixed. The pieces should be not much larger than the parts of chopped nuts.
  2. With a spoon sprinkle the topping over the cake batter that is already in the pan.

Step 3: Bake the Cake

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry.

It makes nine good-sized serving pieces which can be served "as is" or it is also good with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Please rate this spice cake recipe. Thanks!

Birthday Cake or Something Else?

When we were growing up, my mother gave my dad, my two brothers and me a choice of what we would like her to make for our birthday desserts. Naturally, when we were little, we would have had some cake with the appropriate numbers of candles on them. My dad preferred eating pies to cakes, and he often chose that as his preference. I remember following in his footsteps at least one year and selecting a pie for my birthday as well.

While some of our choices varied from year to year, there was no doubt which cake it would be that my brother John would choose. This spice cake recipe was his standard choice. When I found it in my mother's old recipe box recently, I decided to make it and see if it was as good as I remembered from years ago. Indeed it is delicious!

My brother John who always chose spice cake as his preferred birthday cake.

My brother John who always chose spice cake as his preferred birthday cake.

Spice Cake for My Brother John

John, or Johnny, as he was called then, was the middle child. I was the eldest, and Jim (a.k.a. Jimmy when he was younger) was the last child in our family of five.

My mother made a type of a favorite cake, and I remember the frosting had crushed Heath bars in it that we all liked. I wish I could find that recipe! Some of our other preferences included upside-down pineapple cake, lemon meringue pie, apple pie with a Streusel topping for the crust, and more. John always wanted his spice cake!

One thing was certain. All of these desserts were made from scratch. I never saw a store-bought cake mix in my mother's pantry. My mother also made all of the bread that we ate. I never even tasted store-bought bread until our family moved to McAllen, Texas, and I was already 13 years of age.

Using Spices for Health

Were you aware that using spices like cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, the ones utilized in this spice cake recipe, are good for you? Spices and herbs have effects on our bodies. They can be anti-inflammatory, have antioxidant powers, and in some cases, can even help provide weight loss when used correctly.

Using them on and in other foods rather than in cookies, cakes, and desserts will help in the weight loss category, but once in a while, a sweet treat is good for the soul. Remember the old saying, "Let them eat cake," attributed to Marie Antoinette? She may not be the real author of those words, according to Wikipedia. Still, for all time, people have craved an occasional indulgence, and for some, a piece of cake is the perfect fit.

  • Cinnamon can help regulate blood sugar levels, which is excellent news for diabetics or borderline diabetics.
  • Ginger is a powerful antioxidant that has also been used successfully for cases of nausea and even has some reputed benefits for pain.
  • Cloves are nutrient-dense and also contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Have you ever had a toothache and used clove oil purchased in your local drugstore? That is a home remedy that has been in existence for a long time. Dentists have known about the mild anesthetic benefits, which can also fight against some bacteria in the mouth. Hopefully, you will only wish to use it for its fragrant and delicious taste in what it adds to food.

Note: This information regarding spices and their uses for health is in no way intended to take the place of your health professional's advice.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 22, 2019:

Hi Patricia,

This spice cake recipe is really good. Hope you get to enjoy it sometime. Sending good wishes your way today.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on November 21, 2019:

I have to come back ever so often to get my spice cake fix. I still can smell it baking....I am sure it is divine. And, O, ice cream drizzling down over it....yes, please. Then I will walk 10 miles. Angels headed to you this evening ps

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 04, 2018:

Hi Rajan,

I hope you like this spice cake recipe. It was a family favorite of ours when I was growing up and even after that time.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on October 03, 2018:

Fantastic recipe and a very flavorful cake I suppose. I will try it soon. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 28, 2018:

Hi Nyesha,

Thanks! Hope you enjoy this spice cake recipe as much as my family does.

Nyesha Pagnou MPH from USA on July 28, 2018:

This spice cake looks delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 28, 2018:

Hi Patricia,

This is a really flavorful cake. Hope you enjoy it.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on July 27, 2018:

I can almost smell this baking. It smells like Fall to me. Another great treat to take to church. Thank you for sharing. Angels are headed your way this evening bringing hugs and blessings. Ps

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 20, 2015:

Hello Celebrates,

Hope you give it a try! :)

Celebrates on February 19, 2015:

This reminds me of a coffee cake I used to make, yours sounds so much tastier though.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 12, 2015:

Hi Samprita,

I hope you enjoy it when you decide to bake this spice cake. We think it is delicious! :)

Dr. Samprita Sahu from Indore, India on February 12, 2015:

I like baking and bakes cakes at home quite often. But I have never tried one with spices. This one looks yummy!! N m gonna try this for sure... Pretty soon...

Dr. Samprita Sahu from Indore, India on February 12, 2015:

I like baking and bakes cakes at home quite often. But I have never tried one with spices. This one looks yummy!! N m gonna try this for sure... Pretty soon...

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 22, 2015:

Hi peachpurple,

Allspice is a combination of spices and I am sure that it would work well in place of the individual spices. Might be a slightly different flavor but it should still be good.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on January 21, 2015:

i don't have those spices, the ground ones, can i use all spice powder?

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on January 15, 2015:

Looks better than any spice cake I have ever eaten! Will have to try it so will cope it now! Thanks for sharing.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 15, 2015:

Hi colorfulone,

Too bad you did not have a couple of the spices on hand. Oh well...next time. Hope your mom's birthday is a fun one that will create happy memories for everyone. Thanks for the vote and share.

Susie Lehto from Minnesota on January 15, 2015:

My mouth is now watering for some homemade spice cake. I need to bake a cake today for Mom's birthday, and I wonder if we have all these ingredients on hand. ... Nope, no cloves or ginger!

Shared and voted up!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 19, 2014:

Hi peachpurple,

I know it would not work if this was a cookie recipe. I have heard of people substituting apple sauce for some of the oil or shortening like Crisco to cut down on the fat calories. You could try 1/2 sunflower oil and the other 1/2 applesauce. Let me know if it works. Even if you don't use the applesauce, I am guessing that it will probably work.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on December 19, 2014:

i don't have crisco, can i use sunflower oil?

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 23, 2014:

Hi DealForALiving,

Cloves and cinnamon certainly do spice things up!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 22, 2014:

Greetings cheeluarv,

Happy that you enjoyed reading this recipe and will be giving it a try. Enjoy!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 22, 2014:

Hi Prasetio,

So happy to hear that you will be trying this soon. Enjoy!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 21, 2014:

Hi Don,

I did not realize that cloves were often used in Scandinavian foods more often than in other types of cooking. All I know is that it certainly adds great flavor to this spice cake combining it with the other spices and flavorings. Thanks for the share.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 18, 2014:

Hi beliza,

If your husband enjoys a good spice cake he will undoubtedly like this one. :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 18, 2014:

Hi Rebecca,

I never remember my mother or grandmothers for that matter purchasing boxed cake mixes. Everything was always made from scratch. Glad you liked the information regarding the spices.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 17, 2014:

Hi Kathleen,

Ha! Actually this is easy enough so that you can make your own. :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 17, 2014:

Hello Hezekiah,

Happy to share this recipe with you and others. :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 16, 2014:

Hello bethperry,

Hope you give it a try. Am sure you will like it!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 16, 2014:

Hi Au fait,

It was only about 90 yesterday but still humid and felt a lot hotter. We did yard work so were out in it! Glad you like this recipe and thanks for all the shares! ☺

Sam Deal from Earth on September 14, 2014:

Cloves and cinnamon make everything delicious!

cheeluarv from INDIA on September 14, 2014:

I like spices, your cake looks great and I can smell it while reading the caption.wow!! I don't make cake often, but,your cake picture and clear recipe has triggered my taste buds to try this.Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe.Voted up useful.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on September 13, 2014:

Delicious and I love step by step pictures about how to make this cake. Thanks for sharing with us. I can't wait to make it. Voted up!

Prasetio

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on September 13, 2014:

Hi Peggy. This cake looks like something I would really like. I'm bookmaking the page. Interesting thing about cloves is that they are common in Scandinavian foods. Maybe that is why they are hard to find in Rapids. More Germans around here, including my wife. I first found out about the Scandinavian use of cloves was in a cookbook and the recipe was for pot roast. voting up,useful, beautiful. Sharing.

beliza on September 13, 2014:

This looks really good. My husband loves spice cake, will have to give it a try.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on September 13, 2014:

LOL, Peggy...My mother never used a cake mix either. This looks really good. I like the way you included the health benefits of the spices in this spice cake!

Kathleen Odenthal from Bridgewater on September 13, 2014:

ill take two! ill message you my address ;)

Hezekiah from Japan on September 13, 2014:

This looks so delicious, thanks a lot of sharing. I will make a note of this one.

Beth Perry from Tennesee on September 12, 2014:

Peggy W, I always liked spice cake and this recipe sounds so tasty! The pictures make my mouth water, too! Voted up and thanks for sharing.

C E Clark from North Texas on September 12, 2014:

This looks perfect for anytime, but especially when the air gets a little crisp. We haven't had that pleasure here in North Texas yet, but the last couple of days have been fantastic weather-wise! I wish I had some of this delicious looking cake here right now to celebrate our cool days. This recipe looks so easy, this may be my treat later today.

Voted up, BAU, already pinned to my 'Fabulous Desserts' board so I'll add it to Awesome HubPages, posted on FB, and will share with followers.

Hope things are cooling off a little by you at last too.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 07, 2014:

Hi Peg,

Glad that you also liked the background information regarding this recipe. I think that John was a very popular name back in those days. Probably still is today.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 06, 2014:

Hi Nadine,

Good luck with adjusting your low carb bread recipe to include some of these flavorful ingredients. :)

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on August 05, 2014:

This looks so delicious and the pictures are wonderful. I loved the background story to your recipe, too. Peggy, that picture of your brother John is so adorable. Isn't it funny that we both have a brother named John?

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on August 02, 2014:

This recipe has inspired me to add the ingredients to my low carb bread recipe. Thanks

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 28, 2014:

Hello Torrs13,

The nice thing about this spice cake in addition to the flavor is that it is so simple to make. Hope you enjoy it when you get a chance to make it. Appreciate the pin.

Tori Canonge from North Carolina on June 28, 2014:

This looks absolutely amazing! I like spice cake and I have been wanting to do more baking at home, but I just haven't found the time lately. When I do get the time, I will have to give this a try! Pinning this one!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 12, 2014:

Hi midget38,

This will be an easy and tasty recipe in which to try out your new oven. Enjoy!

Michelle Liew from Singapore on June 12, 2014:

Delicious, Peggy! Something to cook in my new oven!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 29, 2014:

Hi alexadry,

Glad you are going to give this spice cake a try. Am sure it will become a favorite in your house. It is tasty and so simple to make! ☺

Adrienne Farricelli on April 28, 2014:

This cake looks like something I would enjoy. The finishing touch of whipped cream on the top makes it look extra yummy. Voted up and bookmarked for future reference.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 18, 2014:

Greetings dis-cover,

Have a good visit with your mom and I am sure that she will be pleased with you taking this delicious spice cake to her as a surprise. Thanks for your comment and the votes. ☺

Nikolic Predrag from Serbia, Belgrade on April 18, 2014:

Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe with us. I will visit my mom these days and I have a plan to prepare this delicious cake and surprise her. Voted up as awesome!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 17, 2014:

Hi CyberShelley,

So glad that you liked the sound of this recipe plus the family history story that accompanied it. Thanks for the 5 star rating. ☺

Shelley Watson on April 09, 2014:

Thank you for this recipe and the lovely family story. Voted up, useful and interesting +5*

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 09, 2014:

Hi poetryman6969,

So glad that you liked the sound of this cake. It is truly wonderful and not too rich. Can even substitute as a spicy coffeecake if desired. Appreciate your comment.

poetryman6969 on March 30, 2014:

Your deserts looks tasty and healthy too.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 22, 2014:

Hello Anita lesic,

Glad to read your comment. Enjoy!

Dream Lover from Zagreb on March 17, 2014:

so delicious ;)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 17, 2014:

Hi MariaBrown,

Thanks and most of all...enjoy!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 01, 2014:

Hello dearabbysmom,

So glad that you liked this spice cake recipe! Enjoy!

dearabbysmom from Indiana on February 26, 2014:

This sounds delicious, especially with that scoop of ice cream. I agree that "once in awhile a sweet treat is good for the soul." Thank you for sharing!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 27, 2013:

Hi Vellur,

It is really a simple and deliciously flavored cake. Hope you enjoy it. Appreciate your comment.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on November 23, 2013:

This recipe is delicious and different, thank you for sharing.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 09, 2013:

Hi Rebecca E,

It really is simple to make and delicious as well.

Rebecca E. from Canada on October 09, 2013:

lovely! and it seems easy to make.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 16, 2013:

Hi oliversmum,

Yes, I love that photo of my brother when he was young. He is now up in heaven with the rest of my nuclear family. Hope you enjoy the spice cake recipe! It is a good one!

oliversmum from australia on August 16, 2013:

Peggy W. Hi. Your spice cake recipe looks delicious.

Thank you for all the information on the different spices and the easy to follow instructions.

Loved all the photographs, especially the one of your brother, It must be very special to you. Thumbs up and 5 stars. :) :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 09, 2013:

Hello howcurecancer,

I like spicy also! Thanks for your comment.

Elena@LessIsHealthy on August 07, 2013:

I like spicy!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 17, 2013:

Hi KoffeeKlatch Gals,

So glad that you like the sound of this recipe. Just wait until you try it! :))

Susan Hazelton from Sunny Florida on July 17, 2013:

Your spice cake looks delicious. I have to try it. Up, way up, useful, interesting, and awesome.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 04, 2013:

Hi Au fait,

This would be a good desert to serve if you are getting together with family or friends over this 4th of July holiday weekend. Some people take today and Friday off making it an extended weekend. Happy Independence Day!

C E Clark from North Texas on June 30, 2013:

Came back to pin this hub on my "Fabulous Deserts" board! Wish I had some right now. Just looking at the picture and I can taste it.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 23, 2013:

Hi midget38,

So glad to hear that you like the sound of this recipe. Enjoy your new oven!

Michelle Liew from Singapore on June 22, 2013:

About to change my oven and will make this one of the first things I try. Thanks, Peggy!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 17, 2013:

Hello CyberShelley,

So glad that you like the sound of this recipe. Thanks for your comment.

Shelley Watson on June 17, 2013:

I can smell this beautiful spice cake and imagine the taste. This is definitely on my baking list. Thank you for sharing!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 16, 2013:

Hi ishwaryaa22,

So glad that you found this spice cake recipe to your liking. Appreciate all the votes and shares. Thanks also for the 5 star rating.

Ishwaryaa Dhandapani from Chennai, India on June 15, 2013:

Wow! What a delicious treat! No wonder that your brother chose this as his birthday cake. We Indians love adding cinnamon, ginger and cloves to dishes in order to infuse them with tantalizing taste and fragrant flavor. Your easy-to-follow instructions, handy step-by-step photos and luscious photos propel cake fans including me to try your recipe. Rated your recipe 5 stars! Well-done!

Thanks for SHARING. Useful, Awesome & Interesting. Voted up, pinned & shared

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 14, 2013:

Hi Thelma,

I'll have to make this spice cake again soon. So glad that you like the sound of this recipe. Enjoy it when you get around to making it! Thanks for your comments and the pin.

Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on June 13, 2013:

I love spice cake Peggy. I can smell the cake now by just imagining this cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in front of me while writing in HP. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Voted up, useful and I have to pin it for later use. Have a lovely day!

Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on June 13, 2013:

Yummy! I could smell the spices now by just imagining a slice of this cake in front of my laptop with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Voted this up and pinned for later use. Thanks for sharing Peggy^-^

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 07, 2013:

Hi Patricia,

Hope your move goes smoothly. That is a chore even if it is next door! Glad that you liked the sound of this recipe and enjoy it with my blessings when you have time to make it. Thanks for your comment. May angels surround you always!

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on June 06, 2013:

Peggy

This is a surprising recipe. I saw spice cake and honestly, I almost did not read it because I am not a huge fan of spice cake (ginger bread,yes). But I looked closely and saw that topping!!

Now I know I will be giving this a try.

The photographs are so helpful and the step-by-step directions appear to be easy to follow.

I am moving next door (nice big house for lots of company)...after I am all settled I am going to have a welcome to my new place party and this will be the main attraction.

Thanks for sharing Voted up and pinned...Angels are on the way ps

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 07, 2013:

Hi moonlake,

Thanks for the pin and I hope that you enjoy this Spice Cake when you get around to trying this recipe. Am sure that you will like it! :)

moonlake from America on May 06, 2013:

Have to add this to my cake board on Pinterest. It sounds wonderful.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 06, 2013:

Hi again donnah75,

Nice! Am sure that your birthday cakes were very much to your liking. Did you have a special flavor or did you choose different ones each year?

Donna Hilbrandt from Upstate New York on May 05, 2013:

Peggy, we were lucky to have a local, independent ice cream shop that made fantastic ice cream cakes. :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 05, 2013:

Hi donnah75,

So ice cream cake was your favorite! I guess Baskin Robbins has been making them for years. Was that your source or did you have a homemade one prepared? My brother never varied his request. It was always spice cake that he wanted. Of course we all got to share whatever the choices were with the rest of our family. Those were fun days! :))

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 05, 2013:

Hello vertualit,

So glad that you liked this spice cake recipe and the posting of this hub. Appreciate your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 04, 2013:

Hi FlourishAnyway,

So glad that you liked the layout of this hub as well as the Spice Cake recipe. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 04, 2013:

Hi Sheila,

Interesting that spice cake was also your dad's choice for a birthday cake. Thanks for your votes and the shares.

Donna Hilbrandt from Upstate New York on May 04, 2013:

This looks lovely. I always asked for an ice cream cake for my birthday. There was something about ice cream that made my December birthday less wintery.

Abdus Salam from Bangladesh on May 04, 2013:

awesome posting :) great hub...

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 04, 2013:

Not only does the recipe look good, but this is also a beautifully put-together hub! Wow!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 04, 2013:

Hi Eddy,

This recipe is a delicious one for anyone who likes a spice cake. Thanks for your comment and wishing for you a wonderful day over there in Wales.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on May 04, 2013:

This sounds awesome! I absolutely LOVE spice cake! It was always my dad's choice for his birthday cakes. I love the idea of the streusel topping. As far as spices go, I have learned a lot here. My mom always kept clove oil for a toothache, it worked great! Great hub, voted useful, interesting, pinning and sharing! :)

Eiddwen from Wales on May 04, 2013:

A wonderful recipe Peggy and thank you so much for sharing.

Eddy.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 03, 2013:

Hi Suzanne,

We buy our grapeseed oil at Costco so it is a good price. We love our Costco! Some people we know claim that we could do ads for them. Ha! Thanks for taking such an interest in this topic. I may check out peanut oil and do a price comparison.

justmesuzanne from Texas on May 03, 2013:

Grapeseed oil is a good, hot oil, but it's awfully expensive. Peanut oil is an affordable everyday alternative.