spice cake layer cake on a cake plate
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Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Smoked Pecans

Moist spice cake with a tangy cloud of cream cheese frosting and salty smoked pecans update this autumn favorite dessert.
Course Dessert - Cake
Cuisine American - Southern
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 503kcal
Author Marye Audet-White



  • 2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 11/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar firmly packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 -1/4 cups buttermilk

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 -3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Smoked Pecans

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon smoked sesame seed oil
  • 1 tablespoon bacon fat
  • Coarse Sea salt


  • Prehea the oven to 350F.
  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and cayenne.
  • Cream butter in the bowl.
  • Add the brown sugar and sugar and whip until creamy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
  • Beat in the vanilla.
  • Whip on high speed until light and fluffy, 3 minutes or so.
  • Scrape sides a few times during beating.
  • While mixing on lowest speed, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture alternately with the milk mixture.
  • Pour batter into two greased and floured 8-inch cake pans.
  • Bake at 350F for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick comes out clean.
  • Let cool in pans for 10 minutes.
  • Turn out to finish cooling.

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Beat the cream cheese and butter together.
  • Add the flavoring.
  • Whip until fluffy.
  • Add the confectioners' sugar slowly until you reach the consistency that you like.
  • Whip until very fluffy.
  • Add cream as needed for consistency.

Smoked Pecans

  • Saute the pecans in the combined oil and fat until toasted but not scorched.
  • Sprinkle with about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of sea salt.
  • Saute another minute or so to bind the salt to the pecans
  • Let cool before sprinkling on the cake.


  • Place one cooled cake layer on the cake plate.
  • Cover with a thick layer of frosting.
  • Top with the second layer and cover the top and sides with the remaining frosting.
  • Sprinkle the pecans on top if desired.


  • Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature
  • This cake will likely have a rounded top. Just carefully slice off the top to make it even.
  • Don't overmix or the cake will be tough.
  • This cake freezes well unfrosted.
  • You can make one layer by using a 13x9-inch pan. Fill it 3/4 of the way up and if there is left over batter use it for cupcakes.


Calories: 503kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 380mg | Potassium: 315mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 799IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 144mg | Iron: 1mg