Christmas Spice Cake

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A fun Christmas layer cake that looks bakery-fancy but is incredibly simple to make at home, today’s Christmas Spice Cake with cinnamon frosting is a decadent and gorgeous dessert that will elicit oohs and aahs from all of your holiday guests.

Our Christmas Spice Cake features a warmly spiced, spongy crumb, luscious cinnamon buttercream and hints of caramel, topped with super simple sugared cranberries for a burst of freshness and acidity. This Christmas cake will definitely be a show-stopper at your next holiday get together.

Christmas Spice Cake Recipe

While every year there are always plenty of dessert fads that go viral, for me, nothing ever beats a classic layer cake.

I love the homey ceremony that surrounds bringing a layer cake out of the kitchen, slicing it up and passing it around the table, but the best part is getting to dig in!

Our Christmas Spice Cake features a warmly spiced, spongy crumb, luscious cinnamon buttercream and hints of caramel, topped with super simple sugared cranberries for a burst of freshness and acidity.

Now, I cheated a bit with this cake because I wanted to focus my time on decorating so I used boxed spice cake mixes. If you’d prefer a from-scratch spice cake I have our apple spice cake recipe here which can be subbed in.

Personally, I don’t think anyone would be able to tell that you used a boxed spice cake in this recipe because the caramel sauce and homemade cinnamon buttercream sandwiched between each cake layer help give this cake a true gourmet taste.

There is a little bit of piping work that goes into this cake – all of the techniques are simple, with the piping tips doing most of the work for you. If you even make two cakes or cupcakes a year, I highly recommend purchasing a basic piping set like this one – you won’t believe how easy it is to pipe gorgeous decorations yourself using the right equipment!

(For just a bit more, this starter cake decorating set is a crazy good deal – basically everything you will ever need for cake or cupcake decorating is in here!)

Can this cake be frozen? The individual cake layers can be frozen before being decorated. Store in airtight freezer bags or freezer containers for up to two months.(This set of freezer containers is a crazy bargain.) The cake layers can be frozen for up to two months. Let the cakes come to room temperature before frosting.

How to get perfectly flat cake layers? I tend to just bake and then use this dental floss hack to remove any domes that occasionally occur with baking. However, you can use cake strips around the cake pans to bake them completely flat. I just ordered a set of these and will report back on how they turn out!

This cake can also be made into a spice sheet cake if you want to skip all of the layering steps!

More Christmas Cake Recipes

Christmas Spice Cake Ingredients

For the Spice Cake:

For the Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting:

For the Sugared Cranberries:

Tip: swap out the boxed spice cake mixes for our homemade apple spice cake, if desired.

Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful

  • Three 9″ Round Cake Pans
  • One 10″ Round Cake Board
  • Large Piping Bag with Star Tip <– a basic piping set like this one will have everything you need
  • Parchment paper
  • Electric mixer <– this is a great hand mixer if you don’t want to make the investment into a stand mixer
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Rubber spatula <– I like these spatulas because they are one solid piece and don’t have removable heads for bacteria to get trapped underneath. Plus they are heat-resistant and have a lifetime warranty.
  • Large bowl
  • Wire cooling rack
  • Serrated knife or cake leveler (if not using the dental floss hack or cake strips)
  • Offset spatula

How to Make a Christmas Spice Cake with Cinnamon Frosting

To Make the Spice Cake:

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Grease three 9″ circular cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside.

Prepare the cake mixes according to package instructions then divide batter evenly between the three cake pans.

Bake according to package directions until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool for a few minutes in the cake pans, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.

To Make the Sugared Cranberries:

Place 1 1/2 cups white sugar in a large ziptop bag and set aside.

In a medium-sized saucepan, combine 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup water over medium-high meat.

Stir until sugar dissolves, then stir in the cranberries and coat completely.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the cranberries from the simple syrup, allow excess to drip off, then transfer to the bag with the white sugar.

Close the bag and shake until cranberries are coated in sugar. You may want to do this in batches.

Set cranberries aside for decorating.

To Make the Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting:

In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds until smooth and no lumps remain.

Add in 6-7 cups of powdered icing sugar and cinnamon and beat for 2 minutes.

Add the vanilla extract and 3 Tablespoons of heavy whipping cream and beat until smooth and completely combined.

Adjust the consistency by adding remaining powdered sugar or cream, as desired.

Scoop 1 cup of the frosting into your prepared piping bag and set aside.

To Assemble the Christmas Spice Cake:

If needed, use the dental floss hack, a serrated knife or cake leveler to remove any domes from the cakes to ensure all layers are even.

Place one cake layer onto the cake board or your serving tray.

Drizzle a generous amount of caramel syrup over the cake and use an offset spatula to carefully and evenly spread the syrup to cover the top of the cake layer, avoiding the edges.

Scoop 1 cup of the cinnamon frosting onto the cake and then use a clean offset spatula to evenly spread the frosting all over the cake, just past the edges.

Repeat with the next two layers of cake.

Frost the entire cake with remaining frosting. I like the semi-naked cake effect created by closely scrapping an offset spatula against the sides of the cake to apply just a small amount of frosting, but you can alternatively apply a thicker and more even layer of frosting to the sides of the cake.

To Decorate the Christmas Spice Cake:

Pipe dollops of frosting around the top edge of the cake using wide circular wrist motions and flicking your wrist up to stop the stream of frosting.

Place a cranberry on top of each dollop.

Line the bottom edge of the cake with sugared cranberries, then add any remaining cranberries wherever you’d like to finish decorating the cake.

 

Pin this Decadent Christmas Spice Cake for a Show-stopping Dessert at your next holiday get-together:

How to make a Christmas Spice Cake with luscious cinnamon buttercream frosting and super simple sugared cranberries. This cake looks bakery quality but is incredibly easy to make at home - no matter your level of cake decorating experience.

Grab your free printable recipe card for our Christmas Spice Cake here:

Yield: 1 Cake, 12 servings

Christmas Spice Cake

Christmas Spice Cake

Our Christmas Spice Cake features a warmly spiced, spongy crumb, luscious cinnamon buttercream and hints of caramel, topped with super simple sugared cranberries for a burst of freshness and acidity. This Christmas cake will definitely be a show-stopper at your next holiday get together.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

For the Spice Cake:

  • 2 Boxes of Spice Cake Mix
  • Plus ingredients called for on the boxes

For the Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting:

  • 2 cups Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 6-8 cups Powdered Icing Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 3-6 Tablespoons Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Caramel Syrup

For the Sugared Cranberries:

  • 2 cups White Sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 - 12oz bag of Fresh Cranberries

Instructions

To Make the Spice Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Grease three 9" circular cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Prepare the cake mixes according to package instructions then divide batter evenly between the three cake pans.
  4. Bake according to package directions until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the cake pans, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.

To Make the Sugared Cranberries:

  1. Place 1 1/2 cups white sugar in a large ziptop bag and set aside.
  2. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup water over medium-high meat.
  3. Stir until sugar dissolves, then stir in the cranberries and coat completely.
  4. Use a slotted spoon to remove the cranberries from the simple syrup, allow excess to drip off, then transfer to the bag with the white sugar.
  5. Close the bag and shake until cranberries are coated in sugar. You may want to do this in batches.
  6. Set cranberries aside for decorating.

To Make the Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting:

  1. In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds until smooth and no lumps remain.
  2. Add in 6-7 cups of powdered icing sugar and cinnamon and beat for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and 3 Tablespoons of heavy whipping cream and beat until smooth and completely combined.
  4. Adjust the consistency by adding remaining powdered sugar or cream, as desired.
  5. Scoop 1 cup of the frosting into your prepared piping bag and set aside.

To Assemble the Christmas Spice Cake:

  1. If needed, use the dental floss hack, a serrated knife or cake leveler to remove any domes from the cakes to ensure all layers are even.
  2. Place one cake layer onto the cake board or your serving tray.
  3. Drizzle a generous amount of caramel syrup over the cake and use an offset spatula to carefully and evenly spread the syrup to cover the top of the cake layer, avoiding the edges.
  4. Scoop 1 cup of the cinnamon frosting onto the cake and then use a clean offset spatula to evenly spread the frosting all over the cake, just past the edges.
  5. Repeat with the next two layers of cake.
  6. Frost the entire cake with remaining frosting. I like the semi-naked cake effect created by closely scrapping an offset spatula against the sides of the cake to apply just a small amount of frosting, but you can alternatively apply a thicker and more even layer of frosting to the sides of the cake.

To Decorate the Christmas Spice Cake:

  1. Pipe dollops of frosting around the top edge of the cake using wide circular wrist motions and flicking your wrist up to stop the stream of frosting.
  2. Place a cranberry on top of each dollop.
  3. Line the bottom edge of the cake with sugared cranberries, then add any remaining cranberries wherever you'd like to finish decorating the cake.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 2325Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 346mgCarbohydrates: 514gFiber: 2gSugar: 486gProtein: 2g

Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.

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I hope your friends and family love this Christmas Spice Cake as much as mine did!

For more scrumptious cakes, check out our full cake recipe collection here:

Or for more decadent desserts, check out our full dessert recipe collection here:

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