Molasses Spice Cake

Cream Cheese Frosting for Molasses-Spice Cake
Photo: John Kernick
1 9-inch cake

An array of aromatic spices—including ground cinnamon, mace, and black pepper—make this molasses cake perfect for a fall dessert. It's frosted with a rich cream cheese buttercream, then finished with a drizzle of brown sugar glaze.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ¼ teaspoon ground mace

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • Pinch of ground cloves

  • 4 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten

  • cup sour cream, room temperature

  • 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 ⅓ 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.

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