Auntie Gay’s Traditional Spice Cake Recipe

This vintage spice cake recipe is full of comforting fall flavors but, not overwhelming. Just right for fall and the winter holidays. It would go perfect with a glass of mulled cider. You won’t believe how easy it is to make this spice cake from scratch! Just like Auntie Gay did! So much better than from a mix.

Vintage recipe card for Spice Cake. Very worn and stained.

For my father in laws birthday I decided to make him his present. I just love giving gifts that I’ve made whether it is something I’ve knit or crocheted, a quilt, or food! Who doesn’t love a homemade gift? I knew for sure I’d make him Hamburger Pie, his favorite thing his mother used to make but, of course I couldn’t just stop there! I started looking in his mom’s, Grandma R’s, recipe box for inspiration.

I had intended to make him a German Chocolate Cake but didn’t plan ahead so, I not only was missing the right size cake pans but also the right chocolate. Time to rummage through the recipe boxes, one of my most favorite things to do! As soon as I saw this traditional spice cake recipe I knew it was what I was going to make. Clearly it was well loved! Look how worn this recipe card is!

Several of Grandma R’s recipes are attributed to “Mrs. Gay”, I wasn’t sure exactly who she was! Not to spoil my surprise after I gave my father in law his food gifts I asked him. Growing up he called Mrs. Gay Auntie Gay. Not because she was an aunt but a close family friend. Auntie Gay lived on the same street as his grandparents and parents so she was one of the adults he saw often but because he was a child didn’t know well. He remembers that she always made popcorn balls for Halloween. Yum!

My inlaws declared this cake tastes exactly what they remembered! So many of these recipes aren’t of things I’ve ever tasted before so I worry they aren’t just right. It’s so reassuring when I hear they are like they should be. It’s such a joy to have and try all these family recipes.

Close up of Traditional Spice Cake with cream cheese frosting.

How to make spice cake

This is a really easy spice cake recipe! No fancy appliances or ingredients needed!Add all ingredients in order mixing as you go, pour into 9×13, and bake! That’s it! The recipe wasn’t super clear on exactly how to mix this up so that’s what I did and it turned out great. From now on you will always make your spice cake from scratch! I’ll insert the whole recipe as a printable card below.

Spice Cake Tips

It surprised me to see this recipe call for 1/2 to 2/3 Cup eggs instead of saying how many eggs to use. I have never seen that before! So just to be sure I cracked them into a measuring cup and needed 3 large eggs. 2 was just under and 3 was slightly over. Use your best judgement! Next time I’ll likely skip measuring and call 3 close enough.

Spice cake additions

  • Try adding a Tablespoon of molasses for a deeper flavor.
  • Substitute brown sugar for half or more of the sugar.
  • Add 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of ginger.
  • Frost with cream cheese frosting. This recipe is so easy and my favorite!

To me the combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves just screams fall! Starting about the middle of August I’m ready for the season change and all the goodness that comes along with it. Fine cooking really sums up how I feel about this classic spice trio.

Separately or together, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves work magic in baking and desserts, heightening flavors and aromas. What would apple pie be without cinnamon? Rice pudding would taste flat without its pinch of nutmeg, and pumpkin pie just couldn’t thrill without clove’s special zing. Used alone, each of these spices announces its presence in a dish. When used together, the personality of each is subdued, but in turn, the combination is greater than the sum of its parts.

A Spice Trio by Fine Cooking

Auntie Gay's Traditional Spice Cake Recipe

  • Servings: 15
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Print

This vintage spice cake recipe is full of comforting fall flavors but, not overwhelming. Just right for fall and the winter holidays.

1/2 to 2/3 Cup eggs is equal to approximately 3 large eggs.


  • 1 1/3 Cup sugar
  • 1/2 Cup shortening
  • 1/2 to 2/3 Cup eggs for me that was 3 large eggs
  • 2 Cups sifted flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Add ingredients to a large mixing bowl in order, mixing between each one.
  2. Pour into a greased 9×13 baking pan. Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes.
  3. Let cool completely and frost with cream cheese frosting or your favorite.


Per Serving: 295 calories; 18.9 g fat; 25.3 g carbohydrates; 7.5 g protein; 182 mg cholesterol; 231 mg sodium.

If you enjoy this Spice Cake Recipe you will want to be sure to check out this Chocolate Wacky Cake recipe. Another vintage family recipe!

I’d like to invite you to join me in my Vintage Recipe Test and Share group on Facebook. We are working together to make and preserve more vintage recipes here! I can’t make them all myself and would love your help!

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Be sure to find me on Pinterest! I save all my recipes there and share others that I can’t wait to try!

You also can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! I’d love to hear about your families recipes!

3 thoughts on “Auntie Gay’s Traditional Spice Cake Recipe

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