Layer Spice Cake

This cake is perfect way to end an autumn or winter meal. It’s flavor is bold with the spices of ginger bread and adding a bit of crème fraîche in the frosting takes the edge of the sweetness. It would easily serve 8, if not 12 or more as it is rich.

David Schmit Photography

Butter for pans
3 cups (13.5 oz / 380 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1 teaspoon double-acting aluminum free baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
3 tablespoons (1.5 oz / 45 grams) cocoa powder, Dutch processed
1 cup unsalted butter (8 oz / 225 g) room temperature
1 cup packed (7 oz / 200 g) light brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup unsulphered molasses
1/2 cup honey
1 1/4 cup buttermilk

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese
½ cup crème fraîche
½ cup (4 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 cups confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter thoroughly 3 (8-inch) round cake pans; line with parchment paper. Set aside.

Make Cake: Set a sieve over a medium bowl and sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, salt, and cocoa powder. Repeat two more times and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Beat in molasses. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with flour mixture, just until flour is incorporated. Divide batter among prepared pans (each pan will have about 525 g of batter).

Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, then invert onto wire racks to cool completely.

Make Frosting: Beat cream cheese, crème fraîche, butter, vanilla, and salt on medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar, scraping down bowl as needed, until well blended and smooth.

Frost Cake: Place one layer on a cake plate and frost top with 3/4 cup frosting. Repeat two more times. Add a thin layer of frosting to sides.

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