Mulling Spice Cake, Warm Winter Flavors

While reading the original recipe for this Mulling Spice Cake, I thought that grinding our mulling spice blend would be a fun revision.  This recipe makes a delicious cake resounding with warm winter flavors.  For the first baking, I needed something to gift to our local bank staff who takes such good care of me and corrects my math errors!  The batter was baked it in a special cookie pan that creates a depression for filling or icing.  Since the cake/cookie has deep, rich flavors, I think chopping dried figs to add to the batter would take it to another yummy level.

The original recipe is from New York Times Cooking (recipe from Tara Bench; adapted by Dorie Greenspan; 2nd adaptation by Patty Schulz)

Grind the Spice Tin’s Mulling Spice Blend to add warm winter flavors to this cake!

Ground mulling spice blend for mulling spice cakeFOR THE CAKE:

  •  Nonstick baking spray
  • 2 ¼ cups/290 grams all-purpose flour
  • *4 teaspoons mulling spice, ground in spice mill (see *Note below)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup/225 grams unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 1 packed cup/220 grams light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest (optional if using mulling blend)
  • ¾ cup/180 milliliters unsulfured molasses (not blackstrap)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup/120 milliliters apple cider

*Note: You may substitute ground spices for the mulling spice blend. 


Finishing Touches

  • 8 ounces/340 grams cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup/170 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups/740 grams confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  •  Finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • Whole nutmeg



  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the cakes: Coat two 9-inch round pans with baking spray and line the bottoms with parchment.
  2. Whisk together the flour, spices and salt In a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Using a beater beat together the butter and brown sugar on medium until smooth. Add eggs and orange zest, and beat on medium-high speed, about 1 minute.
  1. In a separate bowl or liquid measuring cup, add the molasses and baking soda. In a small saucepan, bring the apple cider to a boil over high; pour it over the molasses and baking soda and whisk until combined. (The mixture will froth.)
  2. Beat in a third of the flour to the butter mixture on low until combined, then half the cider mixture. When it’s blended, add half the remaining flour, all the remaining cider, then the rest of the flour, beating to blend after each addition.
  3. Divide the batter between the pans, swiveling the pans to level the batter, which will be scant. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean, rotating halfway through. Let cakes cool in pans for 15 minutes, then unmold and transfer the cakes to wire racks to cool fully.


Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese until smooth. At this point  add the butter and beat until smooth. Next add the vanilla and salt, and mix briefly. On low speed, add the confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time. Finally after all the sugar is incorporated, scrape the bowl, then beat the frosting on medium-high for 15 seconds.

  • Place one layer of cake on a serving platter. Top with 1 cup frosting and spread it to the edge of the cake.
  • Lay the second cake layer on top and frost the entire cake with the remaining frosting.
  • Grate whole nutmeg over frosting.
  • Top with a smattering of crystallized ginger bits, chocolate pearls or sprinkles, if desired. Refrigerate for 1 hour (or up to 3 days) before serving.

Serve with Tanner Estate Grown, 2018 Pioneer or Indian Rock Vineyards Ruby Port


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