Mrs. Kostyra's Spice Cake


The secret to delicious spice cake is a well-balanced blend of flavors such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. This recipe, brought to us by Martha's mother, is sweetened with a twist of an orange glaze and a dusting of confectioners' sugar.


  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan

  • 4 cups cake flour, not self-rising, plus more for pan

  • 4 teaspoons baking powder

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • ½ teaspoon ground mace

  • Pinch of ground cloves

  • 1 ½ cups dark-brown sugar

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 ½ cups milk

  • Mrs. Kostyra's Orange Glaze

  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-by-8-by-2-inch baking pan. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, salt, nutmeg, mace, and cloves three times.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time, beating to combine after each addition. Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk to the butter mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture.

  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake until cake is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto a plate, remove pan, and invert cake again onto the rack, so it's top side up.

  4. Using a toothpick, poke holes all over the top of the cake. Brush top and sides of cake with glaze while the cake is still warm; let cool.

  5. Dust the cake with confectioners' sugar, place on a serving platter, and serve.

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