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Buttermilk Spice Cake with Whipped Ganache

This Spice Cake is super-tender thanks to the buttermilk in the batter. The cake has incredible flavor from a unique mix of warm spices. The same spices flavor the whipped-ganache icing for a light as a feather finish.

a slice of 4 layer spice cake with spiced ganache on a plate

I absolutely love the flavor of this buttermilk spice cake. This recipe is a version of one of my favorite cake flavors from my custom cake business. Although it has been a few years since I closed Cake Art Studio, I’m happy to continue sharing some of my best cake recipes with you.

I tinkered with the original recipe a bit to add buttermilk for extra moisture and tenderness. Check out this post to see how I create the best cake recipes using the “baker’s formula”.

So how is this cake different than the other 1001012029 spice cake recipes in the world? Well, in addition to the super tender texture, an unusual mix of spices sets it apart from the pack.

Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves are what you’ll find in most spice cake recipes. But I think you’ll agree with me that the anise and cardamom in my spice mix create an exotic and addicting flavor.

I use the same mix to flavor the spiced ganache that I use to fill and frost the cake. The whipped ganache is so light and airy that it just melts in your mouth.

Tips for making the best 4 layer Spice Cake ever!

  • Use the reverse creaming method for the softest cake crumb.
  • Buttermilk tenderizes the cake and adds wonderful flavor.
  • Use fresh spices for the best flavor. Old spices won’t “go bad”, but they will loose flavor over time.
  • The cake can be baked a day ahead. Wrap the cake and keep it at room temperature until you’re ready to assemble.
  • To work further ahead the cake can be frozen for up to 3 months. Do not refrigerate the cake as this accelerates the staling process.
  • The ganache will whip up best if it is completely cooled but not set.
  • Once you whip the ganache you need to use it immediately. The whipped ganache will set up very quickly.
  • If you find that the ganache as set up before you wanted it to, you can microwave it briefly to liquify it, then allow it to cool before whipping.
  • Spice cake is best served at room temperature.
  • The cake can be stored, covered, at room temperature for 2-3 days.
  • For longer storage, you can cut, wrap and freeze individual slices for up to 3 months.

Scroll through the photos to see how to whip the spiced ganache frosting:

a closeup shot of spiced ganache in a bowl
Chill the ganache until it’s beginning to set around the edges and is still liquid in the middle.
a bowl of whipped ganache with a whisk
The whipped ganache will have the texture of whipped cream
A closeup of a whisk with a dollop of whipped ganache on the end
The whipped ganache sets quickly, use it to fill and frost the cake immediately
a spice cake frosted with spiced ganache on a glass cake stand
a slice of spice cake on a plate with a fork

Check out these other popular layer-cake recipes: Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake, Luscious Lemon Mousse Cake, Marble Mochaccino Cake, Snow White Coconut Cake, Apple Upside Down Layer Cake, Better Carrot Cake.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

a slice of spice cake on a white plate

Buttermilk Spice Cake with Whipped Spiced Ganache

Yield: 12-16
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

A tender buttermilk cake scented with a mix of warm spices. The same spice mix flavors the whipped, white-chocolate ganache.

Ingredients

Spice Mix

  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground anise seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Spice Cake

  • 6 large yolks
  • 1 cup (8 oz, 240ml) buttermilk 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (9 oz, 252g) cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 oz, 336g) granulated sugar, divided 
  • 4 teaspoons spice mix
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 sticks + 2 tablespoons (9 oz, 255g) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1" chunks
  • 3 large egg whites at room temperature

Spiced Ganache

  • 1 cup (8 oz, 240ml) heavy cream
  • 4 teaspoons spice mix
  • 16 oz (448g) white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon brandy

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two 8" round cake pans with a round of parchment paper (don't butter the sides of the pan).

Make the spice mix & batter

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all the spices and set aside.
  2. In another small bowl, whisk together the yolks, 1/2 cup of the buttermilk and the vanilla, set aside.
  3. Sift the flour, 1 1/4 cups of sugar, spice mix, baking powder, salt and baking soda into a mixer bowl. Mix on low speed to combine the dry ingredients. Toss the chunks of butter into the flour mixture.
  4. Add the reserved 1/2 cup of buttermilk increase the speed to medium. Mix on medium high for 2 minutes to aerate the batter. Scrape the bowl. Add the yolk/buttermilk mixture in 3 batches, scraping the bowl between each addition.
  5. In another bowl, whip the egg whites on medium high until they form soft peaks. Turn the mixer to medium low and slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Turn the mixer to medium high and whip the whites to full peak. Fold the whites into the base in 2 parts, folding just until there are no streaks of egg whites. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and spread the batter to level.
  6. Bake until the cake springs back when lightly pressed or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
  7. Cool for 5 minutes in the pans. Invert the cakes onto a cooling rack and cool to room temperature.

Make the Spiced Ganache

  1. Combine the cream and the spice mix in a microwave proof bowl. Heat the cream in 1 minute increments until it is scalding hot (this could also be done on the stove).
  2. Immediately pour the cream over the chopped chocolate, add the brandy and let it sit for 2-3 minutes. Gently stir the ganache until it comes together and all the bits of white chocolate are melted. If some of the chocolate doesn't melt, remove 1/2 cup of the ganache and heat for 30 seconds in the microwave. Stir the heated ganache back into the bowl. Repeat until all the bits of chocolate are melted.
  3. Chill the ganache until the edges are starting to set and the center is cool but still liquid. (If you let the ganache set completely it won't whip up as light.)

Assemble the Cake (see note)

  1. Trim the tops of the cakes so they are level. Split each cake into 2, horizontally, so you have 4 layers. Place the first layer onto the serving platter.
  2. Whip the ganache until it is light and fluffy with the texture of whipped cream.
  3. Stack the cake, spreading 1/4 of the ganache between each of the layers. Place the 4th layer on the cake. Ice the top and sides of the cake with the remaining ganache.
  4. The cake is best served at room temperature. The cake can be stored at room temperature for a day. By the second day the leftovers should be refrigerated or frozen.

Did you make this recipe?

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Patricia

Monday 29th of March 2021

Hi Eileen, Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful recipes with us! I was wondering if this spiced cake recipe can be made into a churro cake or a cinnamon cake? what do you recommend?

Thank you for your help.

Patricia Zendejas

Wednesday 31st of March 2021

@Eileen Gray, Thank you for replying. I have a convention ove , what temperature should it be? Thank you for your help.

Eileen Gray

Tuesday 30th of March 2021

I'm not sure what you mean? Do you mean to use just cinnamon instead of the spice mix? If that's the question, yes.

Jeff Beaudry

Tuesday 27th of October 2020

I'd love to try this, but I'm am bit confused. What eggs in para 4? There are the six yokes mixed with the buttermilk. The instructions at para 5 say to whip the egg whites. So, is that all six, or are they separated with step 4?

Eileen Gray

Tuesday 27th of October 2020

Ooops, I can see how that is confusing. I've updated the wording to be more clear. The "eggs" should be the yolk/buttermilk mixture.