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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
Keyword cinnamon, creamy, fall favorites, moist, pecans, salty, smoky, spicy
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