Spiced Holiday Cake

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Hi friends! I’m so excited to share a beautiful Holiday Spice Cake recipe with you. This cake is rich with heady spices, but light, soft and fluffy in texture. A thick, glossy cream cheese frosting creates irresistible drips and sugared rosemary and cranberries make it beautifully festive. 

Rich with orange zest, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, the flavour in this moist cake is undeniably Christmas. Scatter some sugared cranberries on top and decorate with some sugared rosemary (see note in the sugared cranberry link) for a beautiful, snow-dusted wintery cake-scape.

5 Tips for Perfecting the Bundt Cake:

1. For greasing: what to use and what NOT to use.

For easy removal of a bundt, I find greasing with a solid fat to be best.

Shortening has been standard for bakers, but it’s sketchy, no? I tried coconut oil and it works beautifully.

Avoid using butter, which contains sticky lecithin and milk solids plus 20% water, which can impede cake removal. Cooking spray likewise can actually gum up the non-stick coating on your bundt over time.

2. For flouring: here’s what to use instead of all-purpose flour.

You could use regular all-purpose, but it isn’t the best choice for cake removal, plus it gets gummy and leaves a white residue on cakes.

Almond flour works beautifully and actually creates more of a barrier between the batter and the walls of the cake pan, like sand vs. a starch paste.It browns up nicely with the cake for an invisible finish.

The cake pan above was with flour, you can see some gummy residue.

The cake below used almond flour, removed more cleanly and has no floury paste. Granted, you’d have to look closely to tell (but for the benefit of easier removal, if you have almond flour on hand, try that instead!)

3. For choosing the right mould: what to look for, what to avoid.

A simpler cake mould makes a big difference.

The intricate ones are more difficult to remove cake from in one piece. Opt for bigger, rounded curves vs. tight corners and details. This one is easy, this one can be a nightmare.

4. For removing the cake from the pan: use steam as a tool.

First, allow your cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes after removing it from the oven.

This permits the cake bottom to steam a bit, and release itself move easily. Then run a soft spatula between the cake grooves and the pan (don’t risk scratching the nonstick with a knife!) before confidently flipping the cake onto a wire rack.

If it doesn’t release easily, wrap the bottom of the cake in a hot, damp towel for a few more minutes to enhance the steaming effect and try again.

5. For getting perfect icing drips on a bundt:

My trick is to practice! Place an overturned small bowl inside a larger bowl. Pretend the small bowl is a bundt cake and practice your icing pour. You want it to be pourable consistency, but thick enough to hold its drips and not just to run and pool.

You can adjust your icing consistency as needed by adding water a tiny splash at a time, or more powdered sugar. Scrape your practice icing back into the bowl to use on the real cake. No waste here!

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Holiday Spice Bundt Cake

This spiced holiday cake with glossy cream cheese frosting is soft and fluffy, while rich with ginger, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg.
1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 10


  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Zest of one orange
  • 11.25 oz all-purpose flour that’s 2 ½ cups of fluffed with a fork, then lightly spooned into a cup and leveled off
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • tsp cloves
  • ¾ cup buttermilk

For Frosting:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 oz softened cream cheese
  • 6 tbsp whipping cream (plus more if needed)
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

For Decorating:

  • Handful of fresh cranberries and rosemary
  • Granulated sugar
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  • Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Prepare a 10 or 12-cup bundt pan by greasing and flouring. (I find coconut oil or shortening and almond flour are the best for easy release).
  • Use electric mixer on medium speed to beat together butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down bowl and fully incorporating each one before adding the next. Beat in vanilla and orange zest.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and soda, salt and spices.
  • Add ½ of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on low speed until incorporated. Add ½ of the buttermilk and beat to combine. Repeat with remaining flour mixture and buttermilk.
  • Scrape cake batter into prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 190ºF, tester inserted comes out clean, and sides are starting to pull away from edges of pan. Let cool 10 minutes in pan, then use a small soft spatula to gently go around inner edge of pan before placing a cooling rack on top and flipping the whole thing over. If cake does not immediately release, let cool another 5 minutes upside down before giving it a gentle wiggle (or see tip in above post)
  • Beat together ingredients for frosting, starting on low speed and then increasing to high. Add more cream if needed to make it thick but pourable.  Pour over cake once completely cooled.
  • Top with sparkly sugared rosemary and sugared cranberries, and/or halved raspberries and pomegranate arils (if serving right away).
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