Buttermilk Spice Cake With Brown Sugar Frosting

Buttermilk spice cake with brown sugar recipe

The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 55 mins
Servings: 12 to 16 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
275 Calories
7g Fat
51g Carbs
3g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12 to 16
Amount per serving
Calories 275
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 39mg 13%
Sodium 368mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 51g 19%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 37g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 69mg 5%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 98mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This buttermilk spice cake is a delicious two-layer cake filled with a fabulous brown sugar frosting. The acidity of the buttermilk is balanced with baking soda, which adds to the luscious texture of this cake.

This cake will please everyone at your next family celebration, dinner party, or to take to a potluck and wow the crowd.

If you prefer a cream cheese frosting, feel free to use your favorite or this cream cheese frosting recipe.


For the Buttermilk Cake

  • 10 ounces sifted cake flour, about 2 1/2 cups

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk

For the Frosting

  • 2 large egg whites

  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar

  • 1/3 cup cold water

  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this cake is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and baking.

Make the Cake

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Cake ingredients
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.

    Grease pan
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. Set aside.

    Sift together flour, baking soda
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  4. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy.

    Beat the butter creamy
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  5. Add the 1/2 cup of brown sugar, the granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Beat at high speed of an electric mixer for 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl frequently while you are mixing.

    Add brown sugar
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  6. Add the sifted dry ingredients, alternating with buttermilk, mixing at lowest speed just until smooth.

    Add dry ingredients
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans.

    Pour batter into pan
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.

    Bake in preheated oven
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  9. Cool the cake in the pans on a rack for 5 minutes.

    Cool the cakes
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  10. Then turn the layers out onto the racks to cool completely.

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

Make the Frosting and Assemble

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for frosting
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  2. Combine the egg whites, brown sugar, the cold water, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla extract in the top pan of a double boiler. Use an electric mixer to beat the ingredients for 1 minute at high speed.

    Combine egg whites
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  3. Heat about an inch of water in the bottom section of the double boiler to a rapid boil.

    Heat an inch of water
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  4. Place the frosting pan on the double boiler over the rapidly boiling water and heat while beating constantly, for 7 minutes or until peaks form.

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  5. Remove the frosting from the heat and continue beating until spreading consistency is reached.

    Remove frosting from heat
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  6. Frost the tops and sides of the cooled spice cake.

    Frost the tops
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  7. Slice, serve, and enjoy.

    Slice and serve
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel


  • You'll need a double boiler to make the brown sugar frosting, or fashion one with a stainless steel pan that will fit over a saucepan. Just make sure the top pan or bowl does not come in contact with the boiling water.

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