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Molasses Spice Cake

An array of aromatic spices makes this molasses cake enticing, with or without the cream cheese frosting and brown-sugar glaze.

  • Yield: Makes one 9-inch cake
Molasses Spice Cake

Photography: John Kernick

Source: Martha Stewart Living, October 2007


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1 to 2 lemons)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 1 1/3 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Brown-Sugar Glaze


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9-by-2-inch round cake pan. Line bottom with parchment, and butter the parchment.

  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, sour cream, molasses, ginger, lemon zest, and vanilla.

  3. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Beat in flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the sour cream mixture.

  4. Scrape batter into prepared pan, and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Turn cake out onto rack, remove parchment, and turn right side up. Let cool completely. (Cake can be wrapped tightly in plastic and refrigerated for up to 1 day.)

  5. Spread frosting over top of cake. Drizzle with glaze. Serve immediately.

Reviews (6)

  • FerraB 23 Feb, 2013

    Terrible cake. I turned it into a double layer cake, making two individual cakes. It was dry, bland, and thick in the mouth. The Frosting was HORRIFIC! It tasted like I had just smothered it in cream cheese, couldn't taste the sugar at all.

    I've been a huge fan of Martha Stewart since I was a kid, and this was the first of her recipes I tried to back. Martha, for the first time in decades, you have LET ME DOWN.

  • booandollie 29 Feb, 2012

    We loved this cake, it was moist and full of flavor :-)

  • Omemee 30 Dec, 2010

    Tried this wonderful cake and the center was not cooked through so put back in oven for 20 more minutes.

  • shiloh78 27 Oct, 2008

    Super delicious!! The best homemade cake I have ever had. Perfect for the season, and great to serve as a dessert for a dinner party. Make the caramel sauce just before serving--takes about 10minutes for it to thicken.

  • pedro 21 Dec, 2007

    i love this cake.just the right amount of kick.just wonderful.

  • foodiegalore 26 Nov, 2007

    What a great cake..moist and yummy. The frosting and the glaze make this a real keeper for all who love spice cake.

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