Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting


You haven’t lived till you’ve tried this delicious spice cake with brown sugar frosting. Easy and delicious, made super moist with apple sauce and fresh apple, this cake is the perfect Fall dessert!


For more dessert ideas, head on over to my popular posts for Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Sugar Frosting, Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, and Zucchini Sheet Cake. For a while I’ll fight the inevitable change of the seasons from summer to fall.

I’ll balk at the Halloween candy appearing in the grocery in July, cringe when I see fall clothes on sale, and insist we can still go to the pool even if our teeth are chattering. But then, eventually, all these things wear at me and I give in. I mean REALLY give in – all the fall deco goes up and all the warm, cozy foods come out. Like this delicious spice cake with brown sugar frosting.


Why This Recipe Works

Brown sugar frosting – I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…once you’ve made brown sugar frosting you’re going to want it on ALL THE THINGS for eternity. There just isn’t a better icing and when you add it on top of this spice cake? Tears, my friends, tears of joy.

Perfect for fall – potlucks and bake sales and family gatherings don’t stop just because there is a little chill in the air. When you need to bring something to the party, make it this spice cake. It will be the star of the show.

Simple ingredients – Don’t let the list of ingredients scare you off. You probably have many of the spices and other ingredients right in your fridge, pantry, or spice drawer right now.

Apples – The addition of both applesauce and grated apples makes this spice cake moist and sweet without having to add too much additional sugar. Plus, the slightly tart apple flavor really shines through.


Here’s How You Make It

Pull out all the fall spices and get cooking – this spice cake can be yours in just an hour.

Making the cake

  1. First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and then grease and lightly flour a 9-inch round or square cake pan.
  2. Next, whisk together the dry ingredients and spices in a medium size bowl.
  3. Then, in another bowl, combine the brown sugar, apple sauce, oil, grated apple, eggs, and vanilla and stir together.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix til thoroughly incorporated.
  1. Pour the batter into the greased pan and put in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  2. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to cool at least 20 minutes before gently turning out onto a plate to cool completely. Once it’s completely cooled, frost with the brown sugar frosting and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar (optional), cut, and serve OR cover and store at room temperature up to three days or in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Making the brown sugar frosting

  1. Now to make that frosting. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and stir in the brown sugar, continuing to cook and stir for 1 minute.
  2. Add in the heavy cream and stir for 2 minutes longer or until the sauce mixture is smooth like caramel. Remove butter/sugar mixture from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour it into a heat-safe bowl and then add in the powdered sugar and mix.
  3. Stir in the milk 1-2 tablespoons at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition until the frosting is light, fluffy, and easily spreadable. Spread the brown sugar frosting all over the cooled spice cake.
  4. Enjoy!

Ideas for Customizing this Cake

Want to mix this spice cake up a little? Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • For a little bit of texture and chew, consider adding in a half a cup of raisins into the batter before baking.
  • Feeling nutty? Add a ¼ cup of chopped walnuts or pecans into the cake batter before baking. Sprinkle more nuts on top of the icing for extra crunch and texture.
  • If you find nutmeg, allspice, or cloves overpowering, it’s perfectly fine to skip one. It will still taste just as delicious!
  • If you want to skip the brown sugar icing or are running out of time, simply use a vanilla or buttercream icing in a can. I won’t tell!
  • Instead of grating the whole apple, grate only half of it and dice the rest for to get some apple pieces in every bite.

Expert Tips

  • This cake can easily be doubled to fit in a 9×13 pan to feed a crowd. Bake 5-10 minutes longer until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. 
  • Be sure to allow the cake to cool completely in the pan before turning it onto a pan to cool the rest of the way and frost. This helps the cake to contract and pull away from the edges so you can better turn it out without breaking into pieces.
  • In that same vein, wait till the cake is totally cooled off before icing or your brown sugar frosting will melt and slide off the cake.

More Fall Dessert Recipes

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