This brown sugar spice cake is just the right combination of sweet and spicy with brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves–complete with a browned butter frosting. We felt the amount of spice was perfect in this spice cake, but you can increase the spices or even leave them out completely.

A Professional Grade Spice Cake

This recipe is made from a professional spice cake formula adapted for home use. You’ll find this cake served in restaurants and institutions. We left the basic formula the same but sized and modified it so that you can make it in your kitchen.

We made this cake at 4000 feet but the formula from which it was derived was developed for use at sea level. It should work well in kitchens in most areas of the country.

The Brown Sugar Spice Cake Recipe


  • 2/3 cup butter (10 2/3 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 2/3 cup all-purpose or cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x13-inch baking pan.

  1. Cream the butter and brown sugar together. Add the salt. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy, six to eight minutes.
  2. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices together.
  3. Add one-fourth of the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until it is almost combined.
  4. Add one-third of the liquids and beat at low speed until it is almost combined.
  5. Repeat with the dry and liquid ingredients scraping down the sides as necessary. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until done. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Browned Butter Frosting for the Spice Cake

This is a very easy cooked brown sugar and butter frosting that is very good.


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 cups powdered sugar


  1. Cook the butter and brown sugar together, stirring often with a bell-shaped whisk, until the mixture is bubbly. Remove from the heat and add the milk. Beat by hand until smooth.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and continue beating by hand until the frosting is smooth and stiff. Immediately frost the cake.

(Updated from May 14, 2014)

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