The best chocolate spice cake recipe perfect for your fall and holiday celebrations! You’ll love this old fashioned chocolate spice cake recipe - buttermilk, molasses, and warm spices make this a rich, moist, flavorful cake, and then our incredible cream cheese frosting brings it all together!
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Old Fashioned Chocolate Spice Cake Recipe
Look no further for a moist spiced chocolate cake! This is a dark chocolate spice cake recipe with buttermilk, vegetable oil, and an amazing blend of spices. It's so delicious, and perfect for your fall and holiday gatherings! I especially love the way the chocolate and spices combine to create an amazing flavor, and the cream cheese frosting makes it just perfect!
How do you make chocolate flavored cake better?
First, adding a delicious blend of spices and molasses like this one turns a basic chocolate cake recipe into a show-stopping seasonal dessert! I also love the cream cheese frosting we're using for this chocolate spice cake -- it balances out the rich, spicy flavors for an incredible result!
Easy Chocolate Spice Cake Ingredients
- all-purpose flour - make sure to measure your flour correctly! In fact, I recommend using a kitchen scale to measure by weight.
- cocoa powder - adding unsweetened cocoa powder adds a rich chocolate flavor to this chocolate and spice cake!
- spices - ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, black pepper, and cayenne pepper create a bold, yet balanced blend of flavors that complements the chocolate cake so well!
- baking powder and baking soda - these leaveners help give our cake a nice lift and fluffy texture.
- salt - perfect for bringing out all the spicy flavors!
- vegetable oil - the secret to a moist cake! Using vegetable oil also makes our chocolate spice layer cake so easy to mix up!
- eggs - make sure your eggs are at room temperature before mixing them in.
- vanilla extract - for the best flavor, be sure to use a high-quality pure vanilla extract. Also, check out my post on how to make vanilla extract at home with just 2 ingredients!
- granulated sugar - adds a lovely sweetness and texture to this chocolate spiced Christmas cake!
- molasses - no moist chocolate spice cake is complete without the amazing flavor and texture of molasses! It also helps to give the cake layers a rich, dark color.
- buttermilk - I especially love using buttermilk for a moist, tender cake! If you don't have buttermilk, check below for a substitute!
- hot coffee - hot liquid helps to "bloom" the cocoa powder, and making that liquid coffee helps to deepen the richness of the chocolate flavor!
And we're topping our spiced chocolate cake with a lovely cream cheese frosting! So here's what you'll need for that:
- cream cheese - make sure your cream cheese is room temperature -- see below for a tip!
- salted butter - similarly, make sure your butter is softened to room temperature -- tip on that below! Also, if you prefer to use unsalted butter, that's totally fine. Just mix in ½ teaspoon of salt.
- vanilla extract - perfect complement to the cream cheese flavor in this frosting!
- powdered sugar - be sure to measure your powdered sugar by weight if you can, or use the spoon and level method!
To make this recipe for chocolate spice cake, you'll need three 8-inch cake pans -- you can also use 9-inch cake pans, but the cake will bake a bit more quickly. You can also use this electric pepper grinder to crack your black pepper! I also recommend a kitchen scale to measure your flour and powdered sugar, and an electric mixer to whip up your cream cheese frosting!
Tips and F.A.Q.
I haven't tried this cake with vegan substitutes yet, unfortunately. However, if you try it I would recommend trying it out with this egg replacer, and substitute the buttermilk for plant-based milk (create a buttermilk substitute with the tip below!). And you can also make your own vegan cream cheese frosting with a recipe like this one!
It’s important to use room temperature eggs in most baking so that the cold egg doesn’t affect the rise or even baking of your result. However, if you didn’t have a chance to leave your eggs out to get to room temperature, try this tip! Just submerge the eggs in a bowl of lukewarm water for about 15 minutes. That will allow them to get to room temperature more quickly and ensure a great result for this holiday chocolate spice cake!
To soften your block of cream cheese for this chocolate and spice cake, just remove it from the foil and place on a microwave-safe plate. Then heat in the microwave for 15-20 seconds or until softened. It should be ready to add to your chocolate ginger spice cake!
To soften your butter for this spicy chocolate ginger cake, place the stick of butter on a microwave-safe plate and heat on high for 4 seconds. Then turn so another side of the stick of butter is facing up and heat for another 4 seconds. Repeat for a total of 16 seconds.
No problem! You can make a buttermilk substitute! First, measure out 1 cup of whole milk and replace 1 tablespoon of it with lemon juice or vinegar. Then let it sit a few minutes and add it in to your spiced chocolate cake batter!
Store the cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Then to serve, cut individual slices and let them come to room temperature.
Also, this chocolate spiced Christmas cake freezes very well -- it's best frozen in individual slices to make thawing easier. First, place slices in the freezer until frozen solid, then wrap in plastic wrap and then in heavy duty foil. Then freeze for up to two months and thaw, uncovered, at room temperature.
If you try this recipe, I would love it if you could leave a rating and comment below! It’s so wonderful hearing your feedback! And don’t forget to share your creations with me by tagging @chenee_today on Instagram!
More Holiday Desserts You'll Love
- Chocolate Sour Cream Pound Cake
- Marble Loaf Cake
- Mini Basque Cheesecake
- Banana Pudding Cheesecake Squares
- Butter Pecan Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Equipment you may need
- baking spray
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg - freshly grated, if possible
- pinch ground cardamom
- pinch black pepper - freshly cracked
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper - optional
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup unsulphured molasses
- 1 cup buttermilk - room temperature
- ¾ cup hot brewed coffee
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line three 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and spray with baking spray.baking spray
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.2 cups all-purpose flour, ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground cloves, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, pinch ground cardamom, pinch black pepper, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
- Stir in vegetable oil until dry ingredients are well coated, followed by eggs, vanilla, and molasses.⅔ cup vegetable oil, 2 large eggs, 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, ½ cup unsulphured molasses
- Stir in buttermilk until combined, followed by hot coffee.1 cup buttermilk, ¾ cup hot brewed coffee
- Add batter evenly to prepared cake pans and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick entered into the center of the cakes comes out smooth.
- Cool cake layers slightly in cake pans, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before adding frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Beat softened butter and softened cream cheese in a bowl until smooth. Add vanilla extract and mix well.12 oz full-fat cream cheese, ¾ cup salted butter, 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Gradually add powdered sugar while mixing on low until combined. Turn speed to high and mix another 2 minutes.5 ¼ cups powdered sugar
- Spread frosting over cooled cake layers.
Save this spiced chocolate cake recipe to Pinterest!