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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

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 for Molasses-Spice Cake
  • Brown-Sugar Glaze


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 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 Add a comment

  • feralgreens
    26 MAR, 2015
    Tasty, but a fork-bender. I followed the recipe, but had to bake it for more than 45 minutes because the center wasn't done yet. I brought it along to a get-together, and the somewhat puny metal forks there literally bent when used for eating this cake. Luckily I have sturdy forks here at home, with which to eat the leftovers.
  • 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.