This chocolate spice cake with cream cheese frosting is perfect for both fall and holiday celebrations! The cake is super moist, chocolatey, and filled with warm spices.
This moist chocolate spice cake has all of those delicious spices we love this time of year mixed into a decadent and fudgy chocolate cake. The cream cheese frosting even has a little bit of cinnamon and nutmeg in it too!
An easy spice cake recipe, that includes chocolate, will sure to be a new family favorite for you! Plus, it makes for an amazing birthday cake.
Why You'll Love This Cake
- Ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves are all in the moist cake layers.
- It's easy to make using just mixing bowls.
- The cinnamon cream cheese frosting pairs perfectly with the rich chocolate.
- It would go well for both fall and holiday gatherings!
I used my favorite homemade chocolate cake recipe as inspiration for this cake, so there is plenty of chocolate!
What Is Lifeway Kefir?
Lifeway Kefir is a tart and tangy cultured milk that is high in protein, calcium, and vitamin D.
The consistency of the milk reminds me of a combination of yogurt and buttermilk, making this cake extremely moist and tender. That's why I love using Lifeway Kefir in my baked goods!
Expert Baking Tips
- Cake Pans: For this recipe, I used three 6-inch cake pans, but you could also use two 8-inch or two 9-inch cake pans (the baking time may be different). Prepare each cake pan by lining them with parchment paper and then non-stick spray.
- Measuring Flour: To help ensure you don’t add extra flour, follow these three simple steps: 1) Fluff up the flour using a fork. 2) Spoon the flour into your measuring cup. 3) Scrape a knife across the top of the measuring cup to level out the flour.
- Crumb Coat: This is where we add a thin layer of frosting on the cake in order to catch the crumbs and keeps them secure. You’ll want to chill the cake in the refrigerator or freezer for 10 minutes after the crumb coat has been put on before the final frosting layer.
- Cake Decorating Tools: I like to use a turntable, cake scraper, and an icing spatula to help assist me when assembling a cake.
Here are some notes on the ingredients we'll be using. For the full ingredients list, look at the recipe card below.
- All Purpose Flour: Adds structure and stability.
- Cocoa Powder: I used Scharffen Berger unsweetened cocoa powder. Make sure to sift the cocoa powder before using.
- Spices: I used a combination of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves throughout the cake and frosting.
- Leavening Agents: Both baking soda and baking powder are used.
- Lifeway Kefir Plain Whole Milk: Makes the cake batter super moist. Be sure this is at room temperature.
- Oil: Use either vegetable oil or canola.
Here are the step by step instructions on how to make this holiday chocolate spice cake.
Step 1: Dry ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, salt, nutmeg, and cloves.
Step 2: Wet ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the warm water, Lifeway milk, eggs, oil, and vanilla extract until combined.
Step 3: Combine the ingredients. Slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry flour mixture, whisking until a wet batter forms.
Step 4: Bake. Divide the batter amongst the three prepared cake pans and bake for 23-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cakes come out clean.
Step 5: Make the frosting. Beat together the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until light and creamy using an electric mixer.
Add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and vanilla extract and mix on low until combined. Then beat on high for 1-2 minutes until creamy.
Assembling The Cake
Make sure the cake layers are completely cooled before assembling and decorating.
First, level off the tops of each cake layer to create a flat surface using a serrated knife. Place one cake layer on a cake stand or plate and spread about ⅔ cup of frosting (I use my offset spatula to make it easier).
Repeat with the second layer. Top the cake with the last layer and spread on about ¼ cup of frosting.
Next, frost and smooth the outside of the cake with a thin crumb coat. Place the entire cake in the refrigerator or freezer for 10 minutes to chill.
Finish frosting the cake with the remaining buttercream and top with leaf sprinkles (optional).
Keep any leftover cake slices in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
You could also wrap each individual cake slice in plastic wrap before placing it into the refrigerator. This helps the cake to not dry out.
Frequently Asked Questions
You could use two 8-inch or two 9-inch cake pans instead of the 6-inch pans.
Yes you can. Simply bake the cake layers the day before, wrap them in plastic wrap, and leave them on the counter at room temperature overnight. Frost and decorate the next day.
It brings me so much joy to see you make my recipes. 🙂
More Cake Recipes
Chocolate Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Three 6-Inch Cake Pans
- Mixing Bowls
- Electric Stand Mixer
Chocolate Spice Cake
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- ¾ cup cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 cup Lifeway Kefir Plain Whole Milk
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil (or canola)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Spice Cream Cheese Frosting
- 12 ounces block-style cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- fall leaf sprinkles (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line three 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper then nonstick spray. Set aside.
Chocolate Spice Cake
- Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, salt, nutmeg, and cloves.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the warm water, Lifeway milk, eggs, oil, and vanilla extract until combined. Slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry, whisking until a wet batter forms (do not overmix).
- Divide the batter amongst the three prepared cake pans and bake for 23-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing and placing them on a wire rack to cool completely.
Spice Cream Cheese Frosting
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer using the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on high speed until combined and creamy (2-3 minutes).
- Add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger and beat on low speed for about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for an additional 1-2 minutes until smooth and creamy.
- If needed, use a serrated knife to level off the tops of each cake layer to create a flat surface. Place one cake layer on a cake stand or plate and spread about ⅔ cup of frosting. Repeat with the second layer.
- Top the cake with the last layer and spread on about ¼ cup of frosting. Frost and smooth the outside of the cake with a thin crumb coat. Place the entire cake in the refrigerator or freezer for 10 minutes to chill.
- I used a Wilton 1M piping tip to decorate the top of the cake, along with some fall leaf sprinkles.
- Refrigerate the cake for at least 15 minutes before serving so it's easier to cut. Keep any leftover cake slices in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.