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  • Writer's pictureDawn Hames

Spice Cake

This recipe is from my vintage Alberta Women of Unifarm cookbook. This cookbook is a collection of Alberta mom’s and grandma’s home-cooking recipes, many of which have been handed down or shared with them. Prairie grandmas knew how to turn basic and simple ingredients like flour, butter, and eggs into a delicious cake. Spice cake is one of the earliest cakes I remember. My mom always made it with coffee buttercream icing, which is amazing on spice cake. She used instant coffee for the flavour in the icing. When she made a spice cake with coffee icing, it usually meant that company was coming. There is another great icing for a spice cake. I remember going to bridal showers and church potlucks in which ladies of the community brought various cakes. Spice cake was one that was often brought, with a coconut caramel-type icing, and yes it was very good. Another icing is a buttercream using icing sugar, brown sugar, butter and cream. I am always torn as to what type of icing to put on a spice cake. You may have to try all these icings and decide for yourself which one you like the best on spice cake.

Spice Cake

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup milk

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon cloves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar together, add the eggs. In a separate bowl combine the flour, spices and salt. Beat or stir in half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then add half of the milk, then the remaining flour mixture followed by the remaining milk. Pour into an 8” x 8” cake pan. This cake puffs up a bit more in the middle, so to have a more even cake top, put a little less batter in the middle of the pan and a little more batter around the edge. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. If you use a glass pan the time will be longer.

Coconut Lace Icing

1/4 cup melted butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened medium coco


1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon flour

Combine all the ingredients in the order given and spread over the warm spice cake, broil until just starting to be bubbly (about 2-3 minutes)

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