Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – Celebrate the cozy flavors of the fall and winter holiday season with this soft, moist, and richly spiced layer cake! Complete with scrumptious homemade cream cheese frosting, this classic spice cake is what holiday dessert dreams are made of! Serve it as your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert centerpiece and your family will ask for it every year!

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – Celebrate the cozy flavors of the fall and winter holiday season with this soft, moist, and richly spiced layer cake! Complete with scrumptious homemade cream cheese frosting, this classic spice cake is what holiday dessert dreams are made of! Serve it as your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert centerpiece and your family will ask for it every year!

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

When I think of fall flavors, I think of this homemade spice cake, which seriously tastes like fall in every moist and decadent bite. 

If you’re looking for a recipe for spice cake that’s so fabulous that you’ll be dreaming about it all year, this is the best spice cake recipe you’ll find! 

And best of all, it’s an easy and straightforward homemade spice recipe that even novice bakers will have no problem executing. And let’s face it, homemade always trumps store bought or any boxed spice cake mix.

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – Celebrate the cozy flavors of the fall and winter holiday season with this soft, moist, and richly spiced layer cake! Complete with scrumptious homemade cream cheese frosting, this classic spice cake is what holiday dessert dreams are made of! Serve it as your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert centerpiece and your family will ask for it every year!

An abundance of fall-inspired warming spices including cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg truly put the spice in spice cake.

Throw in some molasses which not only lends a lovely hue to the cake, but the flavor also makes me think holiday season all the way.

I am a believer that one should never eat dry desserts, especially cake. And this cake is anything but dry thanks to a trifecta of ingredients that keep it so moist and perfect. Namely there’s oil, applesauce, and buttermilk.

The cake is paradoxical in that it is fluffy and soft yet just dense enough so you can really sink your teeth into it. Plus, the density allows this two-layer spice cake to accommodate an ample amount of cream cheese frosting.

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – Celebrate the cozy flavors of the fall and winter holiday season with this soft, moist, and richly spiced layer cake! Complete with scrumptious homemade cream cheese frosting, this classic spice cake is what holiday dessert dreams are made of! Serve it as your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert centerpiece and your family will ask for it every year!

I’m probably the biggest fan of cream cheese frosting there is. You can slap that on just about anything and I’ll love it! While store-bought cream cheese frosting is good enough (and can definitely be used in a pinch if needed), my homemade cream cheese frosting recipe reigns supreme and spice cake just isn’t spice cake without cream cheese frosting.

This homemade cream cheese frosting is so thick, creamy, sweet yet tangy, and so easy to make!

If you’re not feeling particularly artistic, you can skip the decorations on top of the cake. However, if you feel like really getting into the spirit some optional decorations include pie crust cutouts in leaf shapes, fall sprinkles, pecans, caramels, and whatever else inspires you.

This year, instead of serving my usual Pumpkin Pecan Pie and Apple Pie for Thanksgiving and Christmas dessert, this festive layer cake with cream cheese frosting is calling my name.

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – Celebrate the cozy flavors of the fall and winter holiday season with this soft, moist, and richly spiced layer cake! Complete with scrumptious homemade cream cheese frosting, this classic spice cake is what holiday dessert dreams are made of! Serve it as your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert centerpiece and your family will ask for it every year!

Ingredients in Spice Cake 

Making this spice cake recipe from scratch is an aromatic experience that’s better than any expensive candle, and that’s all due to the spices. Not to mention, the following ingredients are all easy to find and very common fridge and pantry ingredients.

Spice Cake:

  • All-purpose flour 
  • Baking soda 
  • Baking powder 
  • Salt
  • Cinnamon 
  • Ground ginger 
  • Allspice 
  • Ground cloves 
  • Ground nutmeg 
  • Light brown sugar
  • Vegetable oil 
  • Buttermilk
  • Applesauce
  • Molasses
  • Eggs 
  • Vanilla extract 

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • Cream cheese 
  • Unsalted butter
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Vanilla extract 
  • Salt 

Optional Toppings and Decorations:

Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – Celebrate the cozy flavors of the fall and winter holiday season with this soft, moist, and richly spiced layer cake! Complete with scrumptious homemade cream cheese frosting, this classic spice cake is what holiday dessert dreams are made of! Serve it as your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert centerpiece and your family will ask for it every year!

How to Make Spice Cake 

This gorgeous old-fashioned spice cake recipe is not difficult to make. Follow my straightforward steps for the best homemade spice cake:

Step 1: Preheat the oven and spray two 9-inch round cake pans.

Step 2: Whisk together the dry ingredients including flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg.

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – Celebrate the cozy flavors of the fall and winter holiday season with this soft, moist, and richly spiced layer cake! Complete with scrumptious homemade cream cheese frosting, this classic spice cake is what holiday dessert dreams are made of! Serve it as your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert centerpiece and your family will ask for it every year!

Step 3:  Separately, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the brown sugar together with the wet ingredients including the oil, buttermilk, applesauce, and molasses.

Step 4: Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – Celebrate the cozy flavors of the fall and winter holiday season with this soft, moist, and richly spiced layer cake! Complete with scrumptious homemade cream cheese frosting, this classic spice cake is what holiday dessert dreams are made of! Serve it as your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert centerpiece and your family will ask for it every year!

Step 5: Add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet, and mix just enough to combine the two.

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – Celebrate the cozy flavors of the fall and winter holiday season with this soft, moist, and richly spiced layer cake! Complete with scrumptious homemade cream cheese frosting, this classic spice cake is what holiday dessert dreams are made of! Serve it as your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert centerpiece and your family will ask for it every year!

Step 6: Divide the batter into the two 9-inch round springform cake pans and bake for 25 minutes. Cool the cakes completely before frosting them.

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – Celebrate the cozy flavors of the fall and winter holiday season with this soft, moist, and richly spiced layer cake! Complete with scrumptious homemade cream cheese frosting, this classic spice cake is what holiday dessert dreams are made of! Serve it as your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert centerpiece and your family will ask for it every year!

How to Make the Frosting for Spice Cake

Step 1: Make the icing by first beating together the cream cheese and butter.

Step 2: Beat in the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt.

Step 3:  Assemble the cake, add the frosting, and decorate as you wish (See Below).

Decorating the Cake 

Optional Step 1: To make the decorative leaves, form them with leaf cookie cutters from pie crust (homemade or refrigerated store bought) and pop them in a 350F oven for about 10 minutes.

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – Celebrate the cozy flavors of the fall and winter holiday season with this soft, moist, and richly spiced layer cake! Complete with scrumptious homemade cream cheese frosting, this classic spice cake is what holiday dessert dreams are made of! Serve it as your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert centerpiece and your family will ask for it every year!

Optional Step 2: Form the acorn shapes using square caramel candies that you mold with your fingers.

Break up some pretzel sticks and crush some into a fine crumbs.

Microwave dark chocolate to melt it, dip the bigger end of each acorn in it, then dip in the pretzel crumbs, insert a pretzel rod for the stem, and set aside to chill and firm up. 

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – Celebrate the cozy flavors of the fall and winter holiday season with this soft, moist, and richly spiced layer cake! Complete with scrumptious homemade cream cheese frosting, this classic spice cake is what holiday dessert dreams are made of! Serve it as your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert centerpiece and your family will ask for it every year!

What Kind of Pans Should I Use?

I personally suggest baking your homemade spiced cake in two 9-inch round springform pansI suggest springform pans because they’re truly the easiest to release your cakes after you bake them.

However, we all know that springform pans have one major pitfall and that is that they can leak. However, the springform pan I linked above I have been baking in since 2015 and I have never had issues with leakage.

Tip: Anytime you’re baking anything in a springform pan, place the springform pan(s) on top of a baking sheet and slide that all in the oven together. That way in the event you do have a leaker, the mess will be contained on the baking sheet and not on the bottom of your oven.

If you don’t have 9-inch round springform pans, the next best thing is two, high-sided (at least 2 inches high) 9-inch round cake pans.

Do NOT use:

  • 8-inch round cake pans because they aren’t big enough to hold the volume of batter the recipe makes.
  • Cake pans that are not high-sided such as a 1.5-inch high side which isn’t tall enough to contain the volume of batter. Aim for at least a 2-inch high cake pan, 3-inch high is extra insurance against overflow.

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – Celebrate the cozy flavors of the fall and winter holiday season with this soft, moist, and richly spiced layer cake! Complete with scrumptious homemade cream cheese frosting, this classic spice cake is what holiday dessert dreams are made of! Serve it as your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert centerpiece and your family will ask for it every year!

Always (no matter if it’s a springform or regular cake pan):

  • Spray the bottom of your nonstick cake pans extremely well with either cooking spray or floured cooking spray for baking. That stuff works like a charm!
  • Then place parchment paper circles (you’ll have to get out your scissors and cut two out) on top of the baking sprayed pans.
  • Spray again for good measure.
  • Bake both cakes at the same time after you mix up the batter because they need to go in the oven promptly so they rise properly. This means you need two cake pans. You cannot bake one, cool it, and then bake the second.

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – Celebrate the cozy flavors of the fall and winter holiday season with this soft, moist, and richly spiced layer cake! Complete with scrumptious homemade cream cheese frosting, this classic spice cake is what holiday dessert dreams are made of! Serve it as your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert centerpiece and your family will ask for it every year!

Do I Need To Use Applesauce in this Recipe?

There’s one big reason to use applesauce, and that’s the moisture is brings to the cake. So yes, you should use it.

The amount of natural moisture that applesauce lends to your layered spice cake can’t be replicated by any other ingredient and so I don’t recommend substituting it.

And no, don’t worry, your spice cake won’t taste like apples.

You can use whatever type of applesauce you like. It’s only 1/2 cup in a pretty large quantity of batter.

My suggestion is to use unsweetened applesauce since some brands that have added sugar can be pretty dang sweet. But this is cake after all so if you use “regular” applesauce, that’s fine too. 

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – Celebrate the cozy flavors of the fall and winter holiday season with this soft, moist, and richly spiced layer cake! Complete with scrumptious homemade cream cheese frosting, this classic spice cake is what holiday dessert dreams are made of! Serve it as your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert centerpiece and your family will ask for it every year!

Is Buttermilk Necessary in this Recipe?

Yes, buttermilk is necessary in this homemade spice cake recipe.

Not only does it help by adding moisture and an almost imperceptible tanginess to the cake, which is played up as well with the tangy cream cheese frosting, but buttermilk helps the cake rise.

Do NOT swap buttermilk with regular milk such as 2% or whole milk thinking “it’s fine”. It’s not.

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – Celebrate the cozy flavors of the fall and winter holiday season with this soft, moist, and richly spiced layer cake! Complete with scrumptious homemade cream cheese frosting, this classic spice cake is what holiday dessert dreams are made of! Serve it as your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert centerpiece and your family will ask for it every year!

Here are my favorite buttermilk options:

  1. My favorite inexpensive yet super functional buttermilk is from Trader Joe’s. They have it year-round and not just seasonally. However, if you don’t have a TJ’s in your area, your regular grocery store will have a couple options for buttermilk.
  2. You can easily make your own right at home with just 2 ingredients. To 1 cup of 2% or whole milk (I don’t know about non-dairy milks), add 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice, let stand for 10 minutes, and voila you will have “sour milk” aka buttermilk.
  3. Use powdered buttermilk. Keep it in your pantry, reconstitute it with milk or water or what the package says. This is a great option if you want to put lots of buttermilk recipes on your baking list! 

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – Celebrate the cozy flavors of the fall and winter holiday season with this soft, moist, and richly spiced layer cake! Complete with scrumptious homemade cream cheese frosting, this classic spice cake is what holiday dessert dreams are made of! Serve it as your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert centerpiece and your family will ask for it every year!

Make-Ahead Instructions 

The cake by itself can be baked and kept airtight at room temp for up to 48 hours before you plan to frost and serve it. If you’re contemplating making it in advance, do not frost the cake until the day of serving. 

At which point I like to make the frosting which only takes 5 minutes, assemble and frost the cake, and then put the whole thing in the fridge to chill for 4 to 6 hours. 

Once you frost the cake, I recommend keeping the cake stored airtight in the fridge.

But making this homemade spice cake ahead of time if you’re on a tight timetable before the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays will give you some leeway and save you time on the actual holiday!

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – Celebrate the cozy flavors of the fall and winter holiday season with this soft, moist, and richly spiced layer cake! Complete with scrumptious homemade cream cheese frosting, this classic spice cake is what holiday dessert dreams are made of! Serve it as your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert centerpiece and your family will ask for it every year!

Serving Suggestions 

You should never have just one Thanksgiving dessert! To see more of my favorite sweet fall offerings, scroll to the bottom of this post where I’ve linked many more easy holiday inspired recipes.

When it comes to serving spice cake, all you really need is a fork, a plate, and enough room left in your belly after Thanksgiving to enjoy a slice.

Want to wash down that slice of cake with something fall flavored? Try making my Caramel Apple Cider  or a Copycat Pumpkin Spice Latte.

And let’s be honest, at the end of cooking all day, you deserve more than just a slice of cake. You earned yourself a cocktail or two! Pair your dessert with a glass of Sparking Apple Cider Sangria.

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – Celebrate the cozy flavors of the fall and winter holiday season with this soft, moist, and richly spiced layer cake! Complete with scrumptious homemade cream cheese frosting, this classic spice cake is what holiday dessert dreams are made of! Serve it as your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert centerpiece and your family will ask for it every year!

How to Store Spice Cake

In an airtight container at room temperature, any extra spice cake will keep for about 48 hours.

Note that not everyone is comfortable storing cream cheese frosting at room temp, but for 2 days I am fine with it. If you’re not, store it airtight from the get-go in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – Celebrate the cozy flavors of the fall and winter holiday season with this soft, moist, and richly spiced layer cake! Complete with scrumptious homemade cream cheese frosting, this classic spice cake is what holiday dessert dreams are made of! Serve it as your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert centerpiece and your family will ask for it every year!

Tips for the BEST Spice Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

Don’t be intimidate by the length of the blog post. I am always really thorough because I want you to be set up for success so that you can make the best spice cake with cream cheese frosting of your life!

Here are a few of my tips and tricks I’ve learned while making this easy holiday layer cake.

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – Celebrate the cozy flavors of the fall and winter holiday season with this soft, moist, and richly spiced layer cake! Complete with scrumptious homemade cream cheese frosting, this classic spice cake is what holiday dessert dreams are made of! Serve it as your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert centerpiece and your family will ask for it every year!

All Purpose Four: I always recommend spooning the flour into the measuring cup. Did you know that if you dunk the measuring cup right into the bag of flour, you’re actually packing it tightly in there? So when you spoon it in and level it, you have just the right amount that’s not packed tightly. Packed flour = too much flour. 

Gluten-Free: I have never tried making this cake with gluten-free flour but I suppose it is possible. I suggest a gluten-free flour that is specifically intended for baking if you give it a whirl. 

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – Celebrate the cozy flavors of the fall and winter holiday season with this soft, moist, and richly spiced layer cake! Complete with scrumptious homemade cream cheese frosting, this classic spice cake is what holiday dessert dreams are made of! Serve it as your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert centerpiece and your family will ask for it every year!

Cake Pans for a Layer Cake: Two 9-inch springform pans are best, followed by 9-inch round cake pans provided they’re at least 2 inch high. Always line any pan with parchment paper and spray the heck out of them with cooking spray or floured baking spray.

One-Layer Cake: If you don’t want to be bothered to make a layer cake, you can bake this cake as a 9×13-inch cake. Bake at 350F for approximately 25 to 28 minutes.

Baking Times: As with all baking, the job of knowing when your item is done falls on you, the baker. Baking times listed are guidelines only so always judge doneness by what you see in front of you, by doing a clean toothpick test and using visual cues such as a set center and tactile cues such as the top feels soft and springy to the touch. Baking times will vary from probably 22 to 27 minutes but always keep an eye and things and bake until done, whatever that means in your oven.

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – Celebrate the cozy flavors of the fall and winter holiday season with this soft, moist, and richly spiced layer cake! Complete with scrumptious homemade cream cheese frosting, this classic spice cake is what holiday dessert dreams are made of! Serve it as your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert centerpiece and your family will ask for it every year!

Cream Cheese: For the best consistency and flavor, make sure you’re using brick style, full fat cream cheese. Anything labeled lite, low fat, spreadable or in a tub, contains lots of water which won’t work for making frosting.

Also remember that in order to mix it with the other frosting ingredients, you’ll need to let it adjust to room temperature. I recommend leaving it out on the counter for about an hour prior to mixing or a bit longer if your kitchen is chilly.

Cool Completely: Before you start assembling and frosting the cakes, make sure they’re cooled completely. You don’t want the warmth from the cake to accidentally melt your cream cheese frosting!

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – Celebrate the cozy flavors of the fall and winter holiday season with this soft, moist, and richly spiced layer cake! Complete with scrumptious homemade cream cheese frosting, this classic spice cake is what holiday dessert dreams are made of! Serve it as your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert centerpiece and your family will ask for it every year!

Shortcut for Cream Cheese Frosting: There’s nothing more decadent that homemade cream cheese frosting but if you need to take a baking shortcut, I recommend this Duncan Hines Cream Cheese Frosting. Buy at least two containers, possibly three, to make sure you have enough.

Buttercream Frosting: If you’re not a cream cheese frosting person and think that a fluffy white buttercream would be more your speed, feel free to make it or buy it. This Buttercream Frosting from my White Layer Cake recipe is what I recommend.

Optional Decorations: These decorations look a whole lot more impressive than they actually are! Use refrigerated pie crust or use my Homemade Pie Crust recipe for the leaves and then use cookie cutters and bake for about 10 minutes at 350F. 

Although if you’re inclined to just make one decoration, make the acorns with caramels because they are so easy, festive, and they’ll make you look like a pro baker.

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – Celebrate the cozy flavors of the fall and winter holiday season with this soft, moist, and richly spiced layer cake! Complete with scrumptious homemade cream cheese frosting, this classic spice cake is what holiday dessert dreams are made of! Serve it as your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert centerpiece and your family will ask for it every year!
Yield: 12

Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 23 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 38 minutes

Complete with scrumptious homemade cream cheese frosting, this classic spice cake is what holiday dessert dreams are made of!

Ingredients

Spice Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger 
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup vegetable or canola oil 
  • 1 cup buttermilk*
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature 
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature (use brick style, do not use anything labeled lite, lowfat, or spreadable)
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted (do not skip sifting)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste 

Optional Toppings and Decorations

  • Pie crust dough
  • Packaged caramels 
  • Dark chocolate 
  • Pretzel rods or sticks 
  • Pecans
  • Fall sprinkles

Instructions

Spice Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and spray two 9-inch round springform pans OR two high-sided (at least 2 inches) 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray or floured cooking spray. Using scissors, cut out two circles of parchment paper and place them on the bottom of each cake pan. Spray again with the cooking and baking spray, making sure to get the sides; set pans aside. Tip - Do not use 8-inch round cake pans because they're too small and will overflow.
  2. To a large bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, clove, nutmeg, and whisk to combine the dry ingredients; set aside. Tip - If you like a spicier or more robustly flavored spice cake, feel free to add a bit more (or double) each spice, to taste.
  3. To a separate large bowl, add the brown sugar, oil, buttermilk, applesauce (unsweetened or regular), molasses (use a mild to medium molasses and not blackstrap which is too pungent), and beat on medium-high speed with a handheld electric mixer to combine.
  4. Add the eggs, vanilla, and beat to incorporate. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  5. Add the dry ingredients mixture to the wet, and using a spatula to ensure you don't overmix, fold in the dry ingredients until just combined.
  6. Evenly divide and pour the batter between the two cake pans.
  7. Bake for about 22 to 26 minutes, or until done. Always bake until done in your oven and if it takes 30 minutes, so be it. Cakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs but no matter. The tops should be set and lightly springy to the touch and possibly slightly domed but will fall a bit upon cooling which is normal. Tip - If you're baking in springform pans, I recommend placing them on a baking sheet and sliding it all into the oven so that if you pan does leak, it only leaks onto the baking sheet and not the floor of your oven.
  8. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for about 5 minutes before turning them out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting*

  1. To a large mixing bowl, add the cream cheese, butter, and beat with a handheld electric mixer (or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment) on high speed until whipped.
  2. Add the confectioners' sugar (don't forget to sift it or you may end up with lumpy looking frosting) and beat on low speed at first to combine. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  3. Add the vanilla, salt, and beat on high speed for about 2 more minutes, or until frosting is very light and fluffy.

Assembly

  1. Place one cake on the bottom of a cake plate, cake stand, or what you plan to serve it on.
  2. Frost the top of the cake.
  3. Add the second cake to the top and frost it.
  4. Using an offset spatula or similar tool, add frosting around the sides of the cake, smoothing it as best you can. Tip - Don't obsess about your frosting and how well you did or didn't do. I like to think of spice cake as more of a rustic cake anyway!
  5. Optional Toppings and Decorations - To make pie crust leaves, roll out either store bought refrigerated pie crust or use my Homemade All-Butter Flaky Pie Crust recipe.
  6. Using leaf-shaped small cookie cutters, cut out a dozen leaves or so. Bake them in a preheated 350F oven for about 10 minutes, or until they're done and lightly golden browned. Exact baking time will depend on your oven and the size of the leaves you make.
  7. Place the leaves on the frosted cake as desired, including on top and around the base.
  8. To make the chocolate dipped acorns, unwrap about a dozen caramel candies, and using the heat from your hands and your fingertips, mold the caramels into acorn shapes; set aside.
  9. Crush abut 1/3 cup small pretzel rods into fine crumbs; set aside.
  10. To a small, microwave-safe bowl, add about 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, and heat to melt in 10 to 15-second bursts, stirring after each burst until you can melt them smooth.
  11. Dip each the fatter end of each acorn caramel into the chocolate (what would be where the 'stem' would go), then dredge through the pretzel crumbs, insert a pretzel rod for a stem, and repeat the process until done. Allow the chocolate to set up fully before adding the acorns to the cake.
  12. As desired, place the pie crust leaves, caramel acorns, sprinkles, sanding sugar, or your favorite decorations on top of the cake, at the base, on the sides, or as desired.

Serving and Storage

  1. After the cake has been frosted and optionally decorated, I suggest covering it and chilling it in the refrigerator for about 4 to 6 hours before serving because I think this cake tastes better lightly chilled. Extra cake will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 1 week. I don't recommend freezing frosted cake.

Notes

*Do NOT swap buttermilk with regular milk such as 2% or whole milk thinking “it’s fine”. It’s not.

Here are my favorite buttermilk options:

  1. My favorite inexpensive yet super functional buttermilk is from Trader Joe’s. They have it year-round and not just seasonally. However, if you don’t have a TJ’s in your area, your regular grocery store will have a couple options for buttermilk.
  2. You can easily make your own right at home with just 2 ingredients. To 1 cup of 2% or whole milk (I don’t know about non-dairy milks), add 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice, let stand for 10 minutes, and voila you will have “sour milk” aka buttermilk.
  3. Use powdered buttermilk. Keep it in your pantry, reconstitute it with milk or water or what the package says. This is a great option if you want to put lots of buttermilk recipes on your baking list! 

**Homemade cream cheese frosting is the best but if you don't have time or the desire, my favorite store bought is this Duncan Hines Cream Cheese Frosting. You'll need at least two, and possibly three, tubs.

If you’re not a cream cheese frosting person and think that a fluffy white buttercream would be more your speed, feel free to make it or buy it. This Buttercream Frosting from my White Layer Cake recipe is what I recommend.

Make Ahead Suggestions - The cake by itself can be baked and kept airtight at room temp for up to 48 hours before you plan to frost and serve it. If you’re contemplating making it in advance to save time on a big holiday day, do not frost the cake until the day of service. On the day of service, frost it, and chill it for 4 to 6 hours as suggested above before serving it.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 588Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 639mgCarbohydrates: 94gFiber: 2gSugar: 60gProtein: 8g

More Spiced Cake Recipes:

Spiced Toffee Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting — Looking for recipes using spice cake mix? Make this spiced toffee cake! It’s an EASY, soft, and fluffy spice cake with toffee bits inside and on top!!

Glazed Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake — A FAST and EASY no-mixer pumpkin coffee cake with rich pumpkin flavor and topped with big buttery crumbles!! So soft, moist, and tender! You’re going to LOVE this cake for breakfast, brunch, or entertaining!!

Glazed Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake — A FAST and EASY no-mixer pumpkin coffee cake with rich pumpkin flavor and topped with big buttery crumbles!! So soft, moist, and tender! You're going to LOVE this cake for breakfast, brunch, or entertaining!!

Fresh Apple Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting — An EASY, one-bowl, no-mixer apple cake that’s to-die-for!! Loaded with juicy apples in every bite, perfectly spiced, and topped with tangy cream cheese frosting!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Chocolate GanacheThis easy pumpkin cake is loaded with chocolate chips and drizzled in rich and decadent chocolate ganache. It’s one of the best pumpkin cakes I’ve ever had!! An EASY no-mixer fall favorite cake that everyone just LOVES!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bundt Cake — This easy pumpkin cake is predominately a pumpkin-flavored cake, with just hints at a yellow cake drizzled with chocolate ganache. It’s the best pumpkin cake I’ve ever had!! 

Easy Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting — Moist pumpkin cake is topped with a creamy homemade cream cheese frosting. This easy fall dessert is perfect for Thanksgiving, Halloween, and more!

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting — Moist pumpkin cake is topped with a creamy homemade cream cheese frosting. This easy fall dessert is perfect for Thanksgiving, Halloween, and more!

Spiced Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting — A tender and moist classic two-layer carrot cake with tangy-sweet cream cheese frosting!

Layered Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting - A tender and moist classic two-layer carrot cake with tangy-sweet cream cheese frosting! For anyone who loves carrot cake, this cake looks and tastes so impressive but is EASY to make! Perfect for Easter, springtime, or any carrot cake cravings you have!

Pumpkin Poke Cake — Easy and the BEST PUMPKIN CAKE ever!! Two kinds of CARAMEL sauce, TOFFEE bits, CHOCOLATE CHIPS, whipped topping and more!! A total WINNER you must make!!

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