Spice Cake with Buttermilk Nutmeg Icing

    1 hour 10 min

    An old-fashioned spice cake, scented with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice, and studded with pecans or walnuts. The layer cake is then topped with a rich buttermilk nutmeg icing. The recipe is from my favourite aunt.

    30 people made this

    Serves: 16 

    • 170g butter or margarine
    • 300g dark brown soft sugar
    • 200g caster sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 340ml buttermilk
    • 375g plain flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
    • 120g chopped pecans or walnuts
    • Icing
    • 50g butter
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 375g icing sugar, sifted
    • 60ml buttermilk

    Prep:30min  ›  Cook:40min  ›  Ready in:1hr10min 

    1. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Grease and flour two (23cm) cake tins. Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarb of soda, salt, cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg, cloves and allspice. Set aside.
    2. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine, dark brown soft sugar and 200g caster sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, mixing just until incorporated. Stir in pecans. Pour cake mixture into prepared tins.
    3. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in tins for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
    4. To make the icing: In a large bowl, combine butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla and about 125g of the icing sugar. Beat well, then gradually beat in the remaining icing sugar alternately with 60ml buttermilk. Beat until smooth and creamy and spread on cake.

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    Reviews & ratings
    Average global rating:

    Reviews in English (18)


    This was a really easy cake to make and nice and moist with lots of flavour. I love nuts and used walnuts. I was worried about the icing as it tasted overly sweet and wasn't sure about decorating the cake with it but went ahead and decorated just one half of it. My family loved it and didn't think it too sweet but for me I think I will use a little less icing sugar on the other half and see how that goes. This cake will definitively be made lots in our home. Thank you so much for a great recipe.  -  10 Dec 2013


    At the request of the recipe submitter, we have edited this recipe to list 2 teaspooons baking powder instead of 2 tablespoons. Happy Cooking!  -  12 Aug 2004  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    I can't speak for this baked as a layer cake, nor can I speak for the frosting, which I didn't make because, frankly, it didn't appeal to me. But baked as cupcakes with my own flavored buttercream frosting, these were some "D" good cupcakes. I used a half recipe for 12 cupcakes, filled half full. A generous amount of both shortening and buttermilk should ensure moistness, but still be careful not to overbake. For this half recipe, I made this buttercream: 2-1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 cup butter, a capful of Watkins caramel flavor, several good shakes of apple pie spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, or pumpkin pie spice would have been good too) and enough buttermilk to get it to the consistency I wanted - didn't measure, just added dribble by dribble. These are light and fluffy with a deliciously delicate caramel-spice flavor. This current Africa hot weather, and this recipe made me in the mood for fall and fall baking!  -  05 Jul 2012  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)