Sour Cream Spice Cake is everything you love about fall baking in one delectably simple dessert. The warm spices we associate with autumn and the holidays, (namely cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and clove), are delicately balanced with citrus. in this moist and tender cake. Dark brown sugar brings caramely richness and pecans add delightful texture.
The velvety smooth cream cheese frosting is Sour Cream Spice Cake’s crowning glory. Mmmmm…you’re going to love it!
A Note About the Ingredients
You’re reading the recipe correctly. There is only dark brown sugar in this cake. It creates a richer, more caramely flavor that you wouldn’t achieve with just white sugar.
The sour cream is important, again for richness, but also for moisture in this batter. You could probably substitute plain Greek yogurt, though I haven’t tried that in this recipe.
I used a large orange for this recipe. It netted me well over 1/3 cup of juice, but not quite a half cup. Be sure to zest the orange before juicing it. If you just have orange juice in the fridge and want to use that, you could make it work, but the real citrus flavor comes from the oils in the zest. In my opinion, omitting it will definitely change the flavor.
The applesauce doesn’t add tons of apple flavor. It is more for moisture and to cut back on the amount of fat needed. I use unsweetened because that’s my preference. If you have sweetened applesauce on hand, it should be fine.Print
If fall and the holidays could be baked into a cake, this moist and delicious spice cake would be it! The light citrus notes are a beautiful complement to the warm spices and the tangy cream cheese frosting is pefection!
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 3/4 cups dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 large orange, zest and juice
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 eggs
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting (see in notes)
- Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 9x13 cake pan.
- Cream the butter and brown sugar together in the bowl of your stand mixer.
- Add the apple sauce, sour cream, eggs, orange juice, zest and vanilla and beat until the ingredients are incorporated.
- Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices. Mix until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated into the batter.
- Mix in the pecans.
- Bake in a greased 9x13 pan, for 35–45 minutes at 350°.
- Remove the cake from the oven when the edges have pulled slightly away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool the cake, in the pan, on a cooling rack.
- When completely cool, frost it with one recipe of Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe in the notes, below) and if desired, sprinkle with a few additional chopped pecans.
Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe (enough to ice a cake in a 9x13 pan)
In the bowl of your stand mixer beat a softened 8 oz bar of cream cheese, 1 Tablespoon of vanilla, and 1 pound of powdered (confectioners) sugar, until the frosting is smooth and creamy. If the consistency is too thick for you, add 1–3 teaspoons of milk, a teaspoon at a time, until you achieve the desired consistency.
Frost your completely cooled cake.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Category: Dessert, Cake
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
How to Make Sour Cream Spice Cake
You won’t believe how easy this spice cake is to make and how quickly it comes together!
- Start by creaming the butter and brown sugar together in the bowl of your *stand mixer. You can certainly whip this up by hand, but I used my Bosch. A mixer just makes the process quick and easy.
- Add the applesauce, sour cream, orange juice and zest, eggs and vanilla. Mix until they are well incorporated.
- Mix in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
- When the batter is mixed, stir in the chopped pecans.
- Bake the sour cream spice cake in a 350° oven.
Finishing Your Spice Cake
The Sour Cream Spice Cake will need to cool on a rack. Unless I’m making this for some special occasion, I leave it right in the pan to ice it. The recipe in the card, below, makes the perfect amount of Cream Cheese Frosting for that scenario. If you are baking the cake in two layers, or you are removing the 9x13 from the pan to ice the sides, too, you will need to double the frosting recipe.
When there’s no hint of heat left in the cake it’s time to finish it off. Beat up the softened sour cream, vanilla, milk and powdered sugar for the most delicious Cream Cheese Frosting.
Spread the frosting over the Sour Cream Spice Cake. I like to sprinkle a few extra chopped pecans over the top, because well…delicious. You do you. I you have extra and love them like me, it really is spectacular. I keep this cake in the fridge because I love how it tastes served cold. Not a necessity, but in my opinion, it’s when it’s at its ultimate best.
How easy is that? And you guys, it’s SO good!