Cake Spice is a British spice blend that is typically composed of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and cloves, but sometimes it has star anise as well. The amounts of each of these varies greatly throughout different recipes, with some cooks refusing to buy it pre-mixed and insisting on making it themselves. When mixed by oneself, you can prioritize which flavors you would like to be more strongly represented in your mix. There are a few Americans who may say it is not cake spice without cayenne pepper, but those people might just belong to the chile head cult that is ever growing in America.
This spice is popular all over Europe and it has crossed the waters to America with little difficulty. It is very popular with the baked goods associated with Christmas, such as Christmas pudding in Britain or spice cake in the United States. It is also culturally considered essential for mincemeat in English cooking.
Cake spice is sometimes called mixed spice or pudding spice. It is very similar to the French "quatre-épices," which means "four spices" and is made up of ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and ground white pepper.
When the nights start rolling in earlier and the oven's warmth becomes a frequent guest in your home, you will probably start to think about the holidays. What should I do this year? Visit family or friends? Should I make presents or should I buy them? Should everyone come to my house? You will think these things as you pull a warm, thick cake out of the oven and the familiar, vaguely "holiday" scent rises into the air. Since cake spice is primarily used in baking and elicits memories of family gatherings to many people with just one whiff, it is easy to guess why maybe your head floated off in the holiday direction. Beautifully, this reaction is a shared experience with people all over the world, it is not singular to the experiences inside your perfectly toasty kitchen.
Cake Spice is commonly used in making mixed spice fairy cakes, more properly known as British Butterfly Cakes, which are tiny cupcakes of the British persuasion with a very light glaze icing or topped with powdered sugar. The cakes are called such because they almost always have a quarter sized piece of cake cut from the center to make room for a light cream, and then the removed cake is cut in half and placed on top to resemble tiny wings. These are a delight at many European children's birthday parties. They are smaller than the American cupcake and characterized by their light sweetness, which is dissimilar to the thick buttercream Americans often think of as appropriate cupcake frosting.
European desserts, especially from British cooks, are lighter and enjoyed more for the flavor than the sugar rush. In America, we douse our sweets in as much frosting and sugar as possible. The British really take the time to enjoy the other flavors of their dishes without concerning themselves too much with sugar. This is due to the cost of sugar dropping in the US at a time when the British palette was more focused on the fancy, savory pastries and dishes from the French. Cake spice is popular because it provides a flavorful mouthful reminiscent of those times where French desserts were revered. Had the British been focused on sugary confections instead of more mildly sweet ones, perhaps cake spice wouldn't be popular there at all.
Our cake spice is comprised of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove and star anise.
Cake spice is a sweet spice blend. It compliments sweet foods well, and pairs well with foods that taste good with cinnamon.
One huge advantage to using cake spice is having access to the many different spices it contains without needing the hassle or worry of having each individual spice.
Cake spice can be used to make biscuits, sweets, cakes, fruit salad, pancakes, carrot cakes, etc. Cinnamon is the dominating force and flavor in this spice mix, and as such it assumes the flavor pairings that go well with cinnamon quite easily. This spice can take the place of cinnamon in almost any recipe as cinnamon is frequently the first ingredient in cake spice anyway, but with the added, nuanced flavors of the other spices that are present. As cinnamon has the talent to marry sweet and savory flavors, cake spice can be added to stews or soups with little hesitation.
For some reason, Americans have the tendency to think this is allspice, which it is not. Allspice is a single spice made from a berry, whereas cake spice is a blend of spices. Add this spice blend to your homemade applesauce or to pumpkin butter. Much like apple butter, pumpkin butter can be made with just a few ingredients and is perfect for spreading on toast at breakfast.
This blend is excellent in cheese or dairy based desserts, as it gives the usual mellow flavors a little bit of a punch.
Cake spice has many of the same characteristics of Pumpkin Pie Spice, and the latter can be used as an alternative to cake spice in a pinch as it contains many of the same ingredients.
Cinnamon is a hugely important ingredient in cake spice. Use it to replace cinnamon to give some new life to your favorite recipes starring cinnamon.
A British woman living in Japan was searching for cake spice and came up with what she feels is the perfect blend for the best blend when one has to improvise. In Japan, spice blends like this are uncommon. Mostly you will find single spices, but as one woman laments, there is simply not as much selection. She suggests using 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder, 1 teaspoon of ground coriander, ¾ of a teaspoon of ground nutmeg, ½ teaspoon of ginger powder, ½ teaspoon of allspice powder, and ¼ teaspoon of ground cloves for just enough mixed spice for a recipe or two. If you don't have any cake spice on hand, this would be a good recipe to use to whip up your own. She believes, like we do, that spices are best when kept fresh and thus suggests you keep your resulting cake spice in an airtight jar to be used up as quickly as possible. We would have to agree with her.
Allspice has been suggested as an alternative on a few of the baking websites I have encountered, but I don't suggest using that. Sometimes allspice can make a dish too "peppery" and that may not be what you are looking for in your fairy cakes.
Serving Size1 tsp
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*