Spice Cake

It was in 1963 that I first tasted the Spice Cake. I prepared it in the cookery lab as part of my nutrition and cookery course I had taken for my undergraduate studies. In those days we did not have spice powders like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg; these spices had to be crushed on a grinding stone (ammi) and then sifted. Because of this additional labour involved in making this cake I didn’t attempt the spice cake at home for a long time. Now we are able to get very fine powders of cinnamon and cloves in the stores. Life has become easy for me to take up the baking of spice cake. Though nutmeg powder is also available it never tastes fresh. Therefore I grate the nutmeg on a fine grater just before adding to the flour.

Spice Cake - Kalas Kalai

Spice Cake

The concept of icing the cake came from a book called The Celebrity Cookery Collection – Hot and Spicy, which is why I chose this recipe. I have also adapted their recipe to suit the Indian kitchen where we don’t have cake mixing machines. I have also omitted the beating of the egg whites separately because I found that it did not add any value to the texture of the cake. The icing sugar that is available in Indian stores give only a dirty white shade to the frosting therefore I have chosen to add colouring.

Nutritive Value

As all cakes do, the spice cake also provides a lot of energy, protein, and fat. The icing adds an extra bonus of calories. The cake itself gives a glorious mouth feel and flavour. Therefore the frosting can be omitted in the diet of weight watchers.



  • 400 g/3 C + 1 T sifted Maida (Refined Wheat Flour)
  • 1 ½ tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • 300 g/1 C + 3 T Sugar
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp freshly grated Nutmeg
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon Powder
  • ½ tsp Clove Powder
  • 225 g/1 C + 2 T Butter plus extra for greasing
  • 200 ml Buttermilk/Sour Curds (well beaten)
  • 3 Hens’ Eggs


  • 50 ml Cream (Amul)
  • 300 g/2 C Icing Sugar
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Essence
  • Colouring



  1. Grease a 9 inch deep tube pan/Bundt pan with butter.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180° C/350° F.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and the spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, clove). Sift thrice.
  4. Beat the eggs to a fine foam.
  5. In a large bowl, cream the butter until soft and fluffy. Add the sugar and continue creaming till the sugar is almost dissolved.
  6. Add the beaten egg little by little and blend well.
  7. Add the spiced flour little by little and stir, alternating with the buttermilk. You should get a fluffy, drop batter.
  8. Transfer the batter to the tube/Bundt pan and bake for about an hour or until an inserted cake tester comes out dry.
  9. Remove the pan and leave it on a wire rack to cool till you can touch the pan with your bare hands.
  10. Invert the pan on the wire rack and gently remove the pan. Allow the cake to cool before icing/frosting.


  1. Sift the icing sugar.
  2. Pour the cream in a large microwave bowl. Heat in a microwave oven for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the sifted icing sugar, salt, vanilla essence, and colouring, and beat or whisk till it is well blended.
  4. Pour over the cake and smoothen it with the spatula.


  1. If the tube/Bundt pan is not deep enough use 2 pans.
  2. Grate the nutmeg just before sifting with the flour to get the maximum delicious flavour of the nutmeg.
  3. I used orange-red colouring to achieve the brown look in the photo.

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