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This easy spice cake is perfectly moist and bursting with flavor! Perfect for holidays and special occasions, and so easy to make from simple ingredients you might already have on hand.

When it comes to desserts, chocolate is usually my favorite flavor. That changes when the weather cools down and the holidays start to approach. These days I’m all about warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. This spice cake is perfect for when those cravings kick in!

Easy Dessert Recipe

Another thing I love about this cake, besides the flavor, is how easy it is to make. This one isn’t fancy or as visually stunning as a layer cake, but that’s okay. The flavor will knock your socks off!

The batter gets mixed up by hand. No electric mixer needed! This is a big plus for me, as having to dig the mixer out of the cabinet always makes me think twice about a recipe.

The entire cake is baked in one large rectangular pan, and, if you choose, slathered with frosting. I served mine with my homemade vegan vanilla buttercream frosting.

How to Make Spice Cake

Start by mixing your dry ingredients in a large bowl. You’ll need flour, brown sugar, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Your wet ingredients get mixed up in a separate container — a large liquid measuring cup works great, but you can use a bowl if you don’t have one. You’ll need applesauce, oil, non-dairy milk, molasses, and vanilla extract.

Use a spoon to form a little well in your dry ingredients, then pour in the liquid mixture. Mix everything up just until the batter is fully combined and has no lumps.

Spread the batter into a lightly oiled baking pan and smooth out the top with a spoon. Bake your cake until it’s done. This will take about 30 minutes.

Serve your spice cake plain, or top it with your favorite frosting, cinnamon, and some nuts, like I did.

Vegan Spice Cake Tips & FAQ

  • I like a lot of spice in my spice cake! I didn’t find the spice level in this cake to be too intense, but if you’re not into strong spicy flavors, consider cutting down on the spices by a third to a half.
  • Can this recipe be made gluten-free? Perhaps! I’ve had luck with Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose gluten-free flour in other cake recipes, but I haven’t tested it with this one, so no promises!
  • Can this recipe be made oil free? I’m really not sure. You might be able to replace the oil with extra applesauce, which sometimes works as an oil substitute, but I haven’t tested it with this recipe.
  • Can this be made as a layer cake? The recipe should work just fine baked in two 9-inch round layer pans, but the cooking time will likely be different. My recommendation is to keep a close eye on the cakes and test them frequently after about 20 minutes in the oven.
  • Can this recipe be made as cupcakes? Again, probably, but the cook time will vary. Keep an eye on your cupcakes while baking. Test them for doneness by pressing gently on the top of one with a finger. It should spring back when it’s done.
  • Why does the sugar need to be organic? Most sugar in the U.S. is processed using animal bones, so it’s not considered vegan. Organic sugar is processed differently.
  • My cake didn’t rise. Why not? Usually this is due to your baking powder and/or soda being dated. Test baking soda by sprinkling it in a glass of vinegar, and test baking powder by sprinkling it in water. The soda and powder should both start fizzing. If either one doesn’t, it’s time to toss and replace it.

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4.87 from 15 votes Print

Spice Cake

This easy spice cake is perfectly moist and bursting with flavor! Perfect for holidays and special occasions, and so easy to make from ingredients simple ingredients you might already have on hand.

CourseDessert CuisineAmerican Prep Time 15 minutes Cook Time 30 minutes Total Time 45 minutes Servings 12 Calories 285 kcal Author Alissa Saenz


  • 2 ½cupsall-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼cupsorganic brown sugar
  • 1tablespoonground cinnamon
  • 1 ½teaspoonspowdered ginger
  • ½teaspoonground nutmeg
  • ½teaspoonground cloves
  • 2teaspoonsbaking powder
  • 1teaspoonbaking soda
  • ½teaspoonsalt
  • 1cupunsweetened applesauce
  • cupcanola oil,or baking oil of choice
  • ½cupunflavored and unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 2tablespoonsmolasses
  • 2teaspoonsvanilla extract

For Topping

  • Vegan vanilla buttercream frostingor organic powdered sugar

US Customary – Metric


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly oil a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

  3. In a separate bowl or liquid measuring cup, stir together the applesauce, milk, oil, molasses, and vanilla.

  4. Use a spoon to form a well in the flour mixture, then pour in the applesauce mixture.

  5. Stir the ingredients together just until fully combined and there are no lumps.

  6. Pour the batter into the baking pan and smooth out the top with a spoon.

  7. Place the baking pan into the oven and bake the cake for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  8. Remove the pan from the oven, transfer it to a cooling rack, and allow the cake to cool completely.

  9. Optionally, top with frosting or powdered sugar. Serve.

Nutrition FactsSpice CakeAmount Per Serving (1 slice (1/12 of recipe))Calories 285Calories from Fat 113% Daily Value*Fat 12.6g19%Saturated Fat 1g5%Sodium 215mg9%Potassium 205mg6%Carbohydrates 40.7g14%Fiber 1.4g6%Sugar 18.8g21%Protein 2.8g6%Calcium 7mg1%Iron 9mg50%* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.« Mashed Red Potatoes with Roasted Garlic & DillVegan Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwiches »

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This is in the oven as I type this. The aroma is fabulous!!! I hope it tastes half as good as it smells. I didn’t have brown sugar. Only maple sugar. Here’s hoping!!!!


  • Today is the second day in a row I’m making this cake!!!! In a row!!!! I made last night for a church supper and it was GONE!!! This time I’m adding a Vermont spin on it. I know it will be wildly delicious!!! After you grease your pan, pour a 1/4 inch layer of pure maple syrup in the bottom of the pan. Put your cake batter on top and bake til a toothpick comes out clean. You can turn the cake out onto a nice big plate and pour the syrupy mess over the cake. HEAVEN!!!!


    • Thank you for the recipe! I just made this, this evening and the family ate it for dessert. It is a resounding success with ahh’s and Mmm’s happening with every bite.


    • Can’t wait to try this!
      One question though- I’m in the UK and applesauce here is a little different to US applesauce I think…
      Please could you advise how to make US style applesauce? Is it just simmered apple slices with sugar?
      Please excuse my lack of knowledge.
      Thanks so much


      • I JUST made this cake and it is…… OUTSTANDING!!!! Now for frosting!!! Thanks for this recipe… you NEVER disappoint!


      • Made this for my family early Christmas celebration. I used Nog Creamer from Califa Farms in place of plain milk and I only had whole cloves so I swapped for garam masala. I also did a double layer of 9inch round pans. It was so easy and simple to put together. I have to say, it smelled SO good while baking and it rose quite nicely for thick, fluffy cake layers. And most importantly, my family LOVED IT.

        It turned out amazing. My 3 year old niece had 2 slices and then stole her mom’s piece and yelled at her for trying to eat it! Even my brother, who can be a big critic, said it was amazing. My mom said it should be my signature cake, but I give all the credit to YOU.

        I just had another piece for breakfast. It’s soooo good. Thank you for this amazing recipe.


      • This type of cake is my favorite, I love spiced desserts. Do you think this would pair well with a cream cheese style frosting?


        • Ever since I’ve discovered this recipe, I bake it for Yule and Christmas because it fits perfectly with the season. This year I’ll use the frosting from pumpkin muffins to top it (also from this site) and I bet it will be super yummy.


          • This came out so dense and heavy, is that normal??


            • This came out soo yummy. I added freshly ground spices. I’m going to try next time with less sugar only because my glucose goes up. But honestly my husband snd I loved every bite of it. Thank you!!


            • Hi, I’m Alissa! I’m a former attorney turned professional food blogger. I love creating vegan recipes with bold flavors!

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