Taking The Cake

People bake more in the fall and winter. Any excuse to heat the house and eat desserts is a good one. Cake Spice is my new favorite blend for baked sweets. I’m familiar with our Pumpkin Spice and Apple Pie Spice. But, Cake Spice? Why haven’t I heard of it before? Where does it come from? What will I make first? All of these questions greased my pan towards a new groove.

Our Cake Spice is inspired by the traditional English baking blend. Cake Spice—sometimes referred to as Pudding Spice—is a blend that can be used in a multitude of British desserts. Sweets so unfamiliar as trifle, clootie dumpling, and spotted dick. Whatever spices are called for in the recipe can be substituted with an equal amount of Cake Spice.

Our blend is a balanced bouquet of fresh ground: Indonesian Korintje cinnamon, star anise, cloves, nutmeg, allspice and ginger. Star anise’s flavor is front and center with a delicious undertone reminiscent of root beer and licorice.

Strong and sweet, this blend is great in the richer dessert mediums. Try adding it to your cupcakes, carrot cakes, coffee cakes, pancakes, French toast, oatmeal cookies, snickerdoodles—although you might need to rename them—banana breads, waffles, bread puddings, souffles, scones, sweet biscuits, and everything else under the stovetop.

I’m no expert baker. Baking is a science… and I’m more of a hungry artist. Yet, Cake Spice looked me in the eye and begged me to build it a fluffy and frosted home. I had to come up with a recipe. The spicing would be easy, the cake would be no walk.

There is a cake recipe phenomenon going on: they all start with three cups of flour, a cup of butter, four eggs, and two cups of sugar. The leavenings fluctuate. Baking soda and baking powder assume a litany of ratios. Then there’s milk, buttermilk, yogurt, or sour cream. All the creamy products are used with preferential discretion. The same funny thing goes for frosting. They all seemed to call for three parts powdered sugar to one part fat. I perused over twenty simple cake recipes and generalized them into one that I liked and made sense…soon enough my kitchen was blooming with a deliciously exotic, but familiar smell.

You may wish to experiment with cake flour instead of the all-purpose flour that I used. Cake flour is extra fine and allows for a fluffier end product. I prefer a heavier, richer cake. For sugar, I always go for the less refined, pure cane sugar.

This is your classic vanilla cake, but with a Spice House spin. Expect a dense body with an upfront embrace of spice. A cup of coffee is in order because this cake is a little too comforting. Next time, I might try adding rum-soaked raisins to the mix. I’ll report back with my findings. For now, I am happy to say that this cake will be making appearances at dessert tables near you. 

If your creativity has finished preheating, we want to know about it! You can always share your recipes with us here. We love to hearing about the delicious recipes you develop with our spices.


Geoff Marshall is Web Content Manager at the Spice House. He loves writing stories and recipes for the blog. When he’s not nose deep in one of Tom and Patty’s many spice encyclopedias, you’ll find him daydreaming of dinner prep or riding his bicycle.

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    I enjoyed your story and look forward to trying your spice cake. Just an FYI – the reason you find these particular proportions of ingredients to be common: It’s the classic 1-2-3-4 cake with 1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour, 4 eggs. (It usually also has 1 cups milk.) It has many variations and has been around for a long time. I first discovered it in an old Joy of Cooking book, and I wrote on the recipe that it was great. Baking cakes (or cupcakes) from scratch has seen a resurgence among younger cooks, and that is exciting to see. (I’m 71.) Thanks again, and I will definitely try your recipe for the holidays!

    Hi Kathy,

    That’s super interesting! The 1-2-3-4 rule you mentioned reminds me of the 1-2-3 pickle rule I was taught: 1 part sugar, 2 parts vinegar, 3 parts water, then salt/spices to taste.
    I should have consulted my copy of J.O.C. too. That book is holy scripture in my parents’ home, and my introduction to cooking as a child. I remember pancake recipe page number by heart, page 326 I believe!

    I’m making this cake again over the weekend, and am going to try adding some sour cream to the batter. If the cake turns out any better, I will update the recipe.

    Thank you for cooking with us,


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