Spice Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting ~ ElephantEats.com

Pardon my lack of posts. There have been so many changes happening in the Elephant Eats household, making me a bit busy and causing me to have insomnia. I’ve been waking up at like 3 or 4 in the morning with my mind racing about various things…hence my finishing up this blog post at 4am. Surprisingly I haven’t been as tired as I would imagine the next day. I guess adrenaline will do that to you!

The house hunting thing is stressing me out a bit. Like how do you know when you like a house enough to want to buy it and that something better won’t come along? I’m obsessively combing the listings on a daily basis.

Spice Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting ~ ElephantEats.com

This past weekend was super busy. It started with a little house hunting Saturday morning with a realtor. It made me realize how expensive things are for how little you get in this area. I’m hoping there will just be something that I fall in love with (that’s in our budget).

Then I rushed off to my friend Emily’s bridal shower and bachelorette! She was one of my maids of honor and I’m one of her bridesmaids. I, along with the other two bridesmaids, planned the whole shower/bachelorette weekend. We put a lot of hard work into it and I think it came out great and went off pretty much without a hitch!

Spice Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting ~ ElephantEats.com

Plus, Emily told us she loved every second of it :) We did any Asian-themed shower because she loves sushi. I got some hanging paper lanterns in her wedding colors to decorate her soon-to-be sister-in-law’s house. They looked great! I unfortunately was too lazy to upload the photos but maybe I’ll add them soon.

The bachelorette went late into that evening and ended with a sleep over. I didn’t get much sleep and was up early to go house hunting some more on Sunday!

Spice Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting ~ ElephantEats.com

Nate told me he doesn’t care at all about the house and that it’s totally up to me. I guess he trusts my judgement.

It was so fun to go in all the houses, and driving around the suburbs on a gorgeous spring day made me dread going back to the city.

This is all completely unrelated to this recipe. I made it when we were down in PA two weekends ago, and it was a perfect way to end to our Easter dinner! (pardon the photos, as they were taken after daylight and I didn’t have my trusty food photography lights!)


Spiced Layer Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

very slightly adapted from Bon Appetit (11/09)

Print this recipe!

Makes one 3-layer cake

1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup orange, peach or apricot jam
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)*

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 9-inch-diameter cake pans. Line bottom of pans with waxed paper. Butter and flour pans; tap out excess flour. Sift first 8 ingredients into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter and orange peel in large bowl until fluffy.

Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture alternately with sour cream and milk. Divide batter among prepared pans.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer pans to racks and cool 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks and cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)

Place 1 cake layer on platter. Spread 1/4 cup jam and then 2/3 cup frosting over. Top with second cake layer. Spread rest of jame and then 2/3 cup frosting over. Top with third cake layer. Cover top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and store at room temperature.)

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
2 8-ounce packages chilled cream cheese
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup chilled sour cream

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until well blended. Beat in sugar, then orange peel and vanilla. Beat in sour cream. Cover and refrigerate until frosting is firm enough to spread, about 30 minutes.

*note that I found the frosting barely covered the cake. In making this again I might 1 1/2 the recipe.


  1. This cake looks amazing!

    Good luck on your house hunt! I completely understand how stressful it can be. Just for fun, lately I’ve been looking online at houses like we may want in 5 or so years or whenever we outgrow our current two-bedroom, and the prices are terrifying. :/

  2. This looks *AMAZING* – I’m totally one of those weirdos who thinks spice cake is like one of the best cakes ever… because IT TOTALLY IS!

    I **hate** when a decision is “totally up to me”… It like really stresses me out… Like REALLY stresses me out. I know it should make things easier but it totally doesn’t.

  3. A spice cake is one of my favorite cakes…your is beautiful. You will know when you find the right house…you will be worried that someone buys it before you can. :)

    • Thanks, Karen! I love spice cake too. Oh how I wish that we didn’t have to commute to Manhattan and we could buy a house up by you where it’s SO beautiful!!!

  4. juanitascocina

    Good luck on that house hunt, chica! <3 Also, cake makes everything better…including insomnia.

  5. I am going to have to try your frosting recipe it looks really soooo good.
    Hope the house hunt goes well, good luck and I am sure the right place is out there for you just waiting to be found.

    • I love cream cheese frosting! The sourness of the citrus is a great way to cut sweetness of the icing. Thank you so much for your house-hunting support :)

  6. So sorry about the insomnia! That’s so rough. I’d be nervous about picking out a house, too. Hope you find one that just calls to you both. Speaking of calling to you – this spice cake has my name all over it. :)

    • Thanks, Nicole. I honestly can’t believe how not tired I am though! Usually if I get even 7 hrs of sleep, I’m crashing the next day. I’m so excited for this house hunting, but so nervous!

  7. From what I’ve heard about house hunting, when you find something you love you just know. But…who knows? Good luck girl! That sounds MISERABLE.

    At least you have memories of this awesome cake to fuel your hunting!

  8. I can completely understand your anxiety Amy – there’s been so much going on from your beautiful wedding (that alone can take a year to recover from ;-)), job hunting, house hunting, celebrating/organizing other big life moments… it’s a lot to process, digest and work through. One piece at a time (though I’d have trouble following that advice when it comes to this cake!). Does it ever look delicious Amy and I’ve always had a thing for spiced cake…your orange cream cheese frosting sounds out of this world too! I’ve got to try this one Amy (can you free up some time for me? – lol).

    • Oh my gosh, you have no idea. I didn’t want to say anything til I got something official in writing (which I did today), but I got a new job offer!!! So add that on to the rest of the stress, and oh my. But at least it’s GOOD stress, right? :) Thanks for the support, Kelly!

  9. okay, a few things here:
    do you know spice cake – and basically this one, minus the orange cream cheese frosting – was one of my two wedding cake flavors? now i’m wishing it had had orange cream cheese frosting. I guess i’m weird like natalie b/c i LOVE spice cake.
    house hunting is so fun and so sucks it at the same time; i spend my life thinking about what i’m looking for in a house and what i may miss if i don’t jump on something, or if i’ll love something enough to buy it. I live in a house that is ours but that was tim’s prior to us getting married, so i’m looking forward soon to when we start for real looking. i know it’s hard, but i think you know when you find it, if that makes sense. You just have to remember there’s more than one perfect house out there for you so you’re not terrified you’ll miss it.
    another thing: Nate says he doesn’t care at all about the house looking and he’s leaving it up to you?? TAKE THAT AND RUN WITH IT, GIRL. house hunting is difficult enough with one person making the decisions, much less two. YOU GO GET THAT HOUSE!

    • My wedding cake was spice cake too!!! you and natalie aren’t weird, obv…we’re all awesome! I know you’re right about the house. Even if there’s a house we love but don’t end up getting, there will be another one out there for us. The issue I’m running into now is that there are more people looking for houses than there are houses available. Haha, it def makes it easier that Nate trusts me completely! :) Thanks, Shannon!

  10. PS: I have written posts at 4 am before due to insomnia/randomness running through my head. it happens to all of us. :)

  11. I love layer cake of all kinds :) Good luck house hunting!

  12. I hope you’re sleeping better now, Amy. House-hunting is a huge endeavor but you’ll end up with a wonderful home at the end of all the effort. Good luck and hope you find something you love!
    Great cake, too! I have never made any more than 2 layers…even if a recipe says to do so, I stay with 2. I think that’s the extent of my ability so I admire you. : )

    • Thanks, Monica. I’m def sleeping better now…all the major stress is behind me, or at least just feeling more normal so I must be adjusting! Hahaha, omg, you have to try 3 layers! If you can do 2, you can def do 3 :)

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