This spice cake is a delicious Fall inspired dessert that is full of warming spices and topped with a cream cheese frosting! Made in just one bowl, yet incredibly impressive- No butter, eggs, or milk needed!
Fall Spice Cake
When it comes to fall cakes, I love making an applesauce cake, caramel apple cake, and this simple spice cake.
I’m not the biggest fan of Autumn. People lament about how pretty the leaves are and how they can start wearing trendy outfits but really if I could skip straight to Winter, I would. The one saving grace of Fall is the excuse to bust out ALL the recipes using the famous Fall spices- cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
Something I love doing during the cooler months is host dinner parties and ensure everyone leaves in a food coma. Besides the standard slow cooked entree, I ALWAYS prepare a seasonal dessert. While on other occasions I’d typically make a warm pudding or fruit crumble, I’ve recently been obsessed with making a Fall spice cake.
Now, this spice cake may look incredibly impressive, but I promise you, it’s the most foolproof cake you could ever make. No fancy ingredients and no kitchen gadgets needed.
No butter, no eggs, and no milk is needed, but you’d never be able to tell. The texture is moist, fluffy, and full of spices, and the cream cheese frosting complements it perfectly. It’s flavor is sweet and spicy, without being too overpowering.
I served this after our dinner and EVERYONE was begging me for the recipe- No one believed me it was vegan and made without eggs!
Ingredients for an Autumn spice cake
Here is what you’ll need to make this spice cake. Please note that I recommend using a mix of white and brown sugars. While it is fine to use either all white or all brown, the latter will yield a much darker cake. Please avoid any substitutions unless specifically stated.
For the cake
- All purpose flour– Plain flour or even whole wheat all purpose flour. This cake also works very well with gluten free all purpose flour (just be sure it has added xanthan gum in it!).
- Brown and white sugar– A combination of the two sugars keeps it sweet and moist. If you use all brown sugar, you will have a much darker cake.
- Spices– A combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice.
- Baking soda– Works with the vinegar to give the cake some rise, and replicate what an egg traditional would.
- Salt– Brings out the sweetness of the cake, and enhances all the spices.
- Oil– Any neutral flavored oil can be used. I like using vegetable oil or canola oil, and even refined coconut oil.
- Vanilla extract– A must for any good cake recipe.
- Vinegar– Use either white or apple cider vinegar.
- Water– Combines all the ingredients together. If you’d like to use milk (like unsweetened almond milk), you are welcome to do so.
For the spice cake frosting
- Cream cheese– Use a good quality dairy free cream cheese, with minimal added water and sugar.
- Vegan butter– Try to use vegan butter from a block, instead of a tub. The latter often has added water in it, which can affect the creamy texture of the frosting.
- Vanilla extract– Just a dash, to give it a light vanilla flavor.
- Powdered sugar– Also known as confectioners sugar.
- Cinnamon and nutmeg– Intensifies the sweet spice flavor.
How do you make a spice cake with cream cheese frosting?
Start by preparing your cake batter. In a large mixing bowl, mix together your dry ingredients until combined. Then, add your oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract, before adding your water. Mix together very well, until combined. Transfer your cake batter into a greased 8-inch cake pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Finally, remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool completely.
Once the cake has been cooled, prepare the frosting. In a large glass bowl, add your cream cheese, vanilla extract, and softened butter. Beat on low speed until pale, before slowly adding in your powdered sugar and spices.
Tips to make the best spice cake
- The ingredients included yields a single layer cake, with frosting. For a double or triple layer cake, simply double or triple the ingredients.
- For a sweeter spice flavor, omit the cloves and add extra cinnamon to it.
- If you don’t follow a vegan or dairy free diet, you can use dairy based cream cheese and butter.
- Oven makes and models differ. Check on your cake around the 25-minute mark, and only cook longer if a skewer doesn’t come out clean from the center.
Is this a gluten free cake?
Yes, if you use gluten free baking flour, this cake is suitable for celiacs.
Please ensure your flour mix contains xanthan gum, or the cake will be gummy.
Can I make this without grains?
This recipe hasn’t been tested with any grain free flours.
If you are after a low carb or keto cake, you can make this vanilla cake and add the spice cake mix to it.
Can this be made sugar free?
Yes, this cake can easily be made sugar free.
Simply use monk fruit sweetener or erythritol in the cake, and use sugar free powdered sugar for the frosting.
How to store a Fall Spice Cake
- To store: If you plan on eating the cake within 3 days, it can be stored at room temperature, covered. However, if you want to keep it longer, store it in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to 2 weeks.
- To freeze: Store slices of the cake in a shallow container and store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
More delicious cakes to try
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour gluten free, if needed
- 3/4 cup white sugar * See notes
- 1/4 cup brown sugar * See notes
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon all spice
- 5 tablespoon oil vegetable, canola, or refined coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon vinegar white or apple cider
- 1 cup water
For the spiced cream cheese frosting
- 8 oz cream cheese dairy free or standard
- 1/2 cup butter dairy free or standard, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease an 8-inch cake pan with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add your dry ingredients and mix well. Add the rest of your ingredients and mix until combined.
- Transfer the batter into the greased cake pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool completely, before frosting.
To make the frosting
- Combine the cream cheese and butter in a bowl, and beat until creamy and combined. Add the vanilla and beat once again. On low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar and spices until combined. Spread over the top of the cake.
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I can’t say enough about this cake! I am a chocolate and vanilla cake lover and really am not into fruit flavors. But this cake was perfect for fall and I had just made applesauce from all of the apples I picked. It is a 10 out of 10. So unbelievably moist and fluffy! I made it dairy and gluten free and the cake itself was sugar-free. I actually left off the frosting and just used the caramel because I couldn’t wait. Crazy good! Thank you Arman!!
You are so welcome! 🙂
Delicious recipe, cut the portion of frosting by a third since I only made 1 layer. 8oz of cream cheese seemed like a lot so that was my only adjustment. Delicious!!!
Thanks for the feedback, Will!
What kind of vinegar do you suggest using for your recipes (such as: apple cider vinegar or white vinegar)?
If you noted this somewhere on your pages…sorry…I’m a little over-stimulated and have been skimming while trying to take in all your exceptional recipes!!!
White is always best 🙂
I made this gluten-free and dairy-free style for my girlfriend’s birthday and it BLEW us both away. So so delicious with just the right amount of sweet and spice. I made a two-layer version so doubling the dry ingredients was perfect, I’d say you could probably get away with just one portion of the icing though (for two layers at least) because I had so much left over. Thanks so much Arman, we’ll be making this cake again and for years to come.
I made this for my boyfriend’s birthday and he brought the rest into work to share. It was a HUGE hit. So much so that it was requested I remake it this year for his bday. Thanks for a great recipe?!