A true snacking cake, this simple, one-bowl gluten free spice cake is packed with the flavors of everyone’s favorite warm spices, and is just sweet enough. Slice it into squares, and watch it disappear!

Why this is the best spice cake recipe

This spice cake has a dense, but incredibly moist, crumb that’s rich with brown sugar and warm spices. It’s made with a combination of melted butter for flavor and and a touch of oil for moisture.

The result is a super tender crumb in a cake that stays fresh for days. You know the type of cake where the crumbs are always in clumps, never alone, and stick to the tines of the fork? This is that cake.

It only takes one bowl to make this delicious gluten free spice cake

We want a super moist cake, but one with a tighter crumb than, say, a gf vanilla cake. For that, we don’t want to beat room temperature butter with the sugars, which would make a more open crumb.

That means we make this cake in one single bowl by combining all the dry ingredients, plus the sugars, first, and then adding all the wet ingredients one by one on top. The melted butter warm water make a soft cake batter that bakes evenly and quickly in the oven.

Powdered sugar on light brown spice cake in pan with a couple pieces missing

Tips for making gluten free spice cake

It’s a straightforward recipe that happens to be very forgiving, but here are a few tips to help you nail this recipe and make a perfect gf spice cake the very first time.

Properly measure out your ingredients

Always measure your ingredients by weight, not volume. Measuring ingredients on a simple digital kitchen scale, cuts down on dishes to wash (just zero out the weight of each ingredient before you measure the next), and ensure precise measurements.

Even water can be measured by weight, since it’s the one liquid where weight and volume measurements are the same. One fluid ounce (volume) of water weighs one ounce (weight).

Use warm or room temperature ingredients for better results

Pay special attention to the temperature called for of each ingredient in the recipe. The butter should be melted but cooled so it’s not hot to the touch, the eggs room temperature, and the water warm. At these temperatures, the ingredients will combine with each other fully. 

Which gluten free flour blend to use

The cake works really well when made with Better Batter classic blend gluten free flour, but you can also make it with Cup4Cup. Your cake will just be a bit fluffier, since Cup4Cup has more starch. Please see our all purpose gluten free flour blends page for full information.

Almond flour spice cake?

This recipe isn’t designed to be made with almond flour, and almond flour cakes require a recipe developed specifically to be made with that flour. Try our almond flour sponge cake, if you’d like to make a cake with almond flour.

Let’s talk about spices

This cake calls for a fragrant combination of warm ground spices: ground cinnamon, grated nutmeg, ground cloves, and a touch of ground ginger. It’s similar to pumpkin pie spice, but without allspice.

You can use pumpkin pie spice, apple pie spice, or even just ground cinnamon in this recipe. Just be sure to use the full amount of spices called for (nearly 3 teaspoons), since this is a spice cake, after all! You want the rich flavors of the spices to shine through.

How various sugars make this work

This gf spice cake takes a couple of types of sugars to create the right flavor and texture. Here, we use a combination of granulated sugar and brown sugar (heavy on the brown sugar), and dust the top of the cooled cake with some confectioners’ sugar for extra sweetness and visual interest.

For a more layered, robust sugar flavor, try our gluten free gingerbread cake. Here, we use only light brown sugar for depth of flavor.

Raw light brown cake batter in 9x13 inch cake pan

Choosing a pan for your gluten free spice cake

This is a really forgiving recipe and can be baked in a variety of cake pan sizes. I like baking it in a 9-inch x 13-inch cake pan, since it bakes so quickly and makes generous but not oversized slices.

You can also bake this cake in 2 8-inch round cake pans, if you prefer. Just divide the batter evenly between greased pans, spread into an even layer, and bake until set in the center (it will take about 30 minutes, but may take a bit longer).

Let your gluten free spice cake cool before dusting with sugar (or frosting)

Never dust a warm cake with confectioners’ sugar! If the cake has any warmth at all, the sugar will melt right into the cake. You’ll still taste it, but you won’t see it.

The same goes for frosting, if you wanted to make this cake with a cream cheese frosting. Try the frosting recipe from our gluten free zucchini cake for a soft, tangy, and decadent gf spice cake experience, but double it for this larger-size cake.

Baked light brown spice cake in 9x13 inch cake pan

Storing leftover gluten free spice cake

Before this cake has been sliced at all, it will stay fresh for days if wrapped tightly and stored at room temperature. This special cake can even be stored in the refrigerator, if the weather is warm and you’re concerned about its spoiling.

For longer storage, slice the cake into squares, wrap each tightly in freezer-safe wrap, and store in the freezer for up to 2 months, if not longer. Defrost at room temperature or in the microwave, briefly.

Gluten free spice cake: ingredients and substitutions

Dairy free, gluten free spice cake

To make this cake dairy free, you’ll only need to replace the butter with a nondairy alternative. I recommend vegan butter; my favorite brands are Melt and Miyoko’s Kitchen.

This is such a forgiving recipe, though, that you may be able to use Earth Balance buttery sticks here. They have too much moisture, though, so you might want to reduce the water by 1 to 2 teaspoons. And reduce the salt by half, since they’re very salty.

Egg free, gluten free spice cake

There are only 2 eggs in this recipe. You should be able to replace each of them with a “chia egg.”

To make one chia egg, combine 1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds and 1 tablespoon lukewarm water in a small bowl. Mix, and allow the mixture to sit until it begins to gel.

Vegan, gluten free spice cake

To make a vegan gluten free spice cake, follow the instructions for replacing the dairy and the eggs in this recipe. Make sure your sugars are vegan, and your cake will be vegan!

Substituting the sugars in this gluten free spice cake recipe

This cake has two granulated sugars: white, and light brown.  I haven’t tried replacing either of them with liquid sugars, but it might work. You’ll have to experiment!

If you’d like to try replacing the granulated sugars with liquid sugar, you’ll have to rebalance the recipe, since liquid sugars are sweeter, and have more moisture.

Try replacing the 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar with 75 grams corn syrup (for its neutral flavor), and the 1 cup (218 g) light brown sugar with a total of 165 grams liquid sugars (I’d try 125 grams honey and 40 grams unsulphured molasses).

I don’t recommend trying to replace the sugars with something like applesauce. That isn’t nearly sweet enough to replace sugar, and your cake will be dense and not at all tender.

Gluten free spice cake additions and variations

Try mixing some of your favorite flavors into this simple cake. Here are some ideas (go easy, though, so you don’t alter the cake’s chemistry too much):

  • 3 ounces chopped soft nuts, like walnuts or pecans
  • 3 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
  • 3 ounces Thompson raisins or dried sweetened cranberries

Piece of spice cake on small white plate with fork and bite taken


What’s in spice cake?

Spice cake is a soft, fragrant, and simple cake that’s made in one bowl and packed with warm spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s often melted with oil and/or melted butter for an extra tender crumb.

Are spices gluten free?

Most pure, single-ingredient spices are free of gluten ingredients, but they may not always be safely gluten free. If you’re especially sensitive and are concerned about cross-contamination with gluten-containing ingredients, stick to Badia brand spices, which prominently claim gluten free status.

McCormick brand spices are also gluten free as long as they contain all safe ingredients, which will be prominently displayed on the label, so check your labels!

Is spice cake gluten free?

Unless it’s made with gluten free ingredients in a gluten free environment, no, spice cake is not naturally gluten free! Use this recipe, and you’ll make yourself a gluten free spice cake—as long as the equipment and ingredients you use are safely gluten free, of course.

What’s the difference between gluten free spice cake and carrot cake?

Gluten free spice cake has a similar texture to gluten free carrot cake, but there are no carrots in this gf spice cake. Plus, spice cake has lots of spices, where carrot cake has only cinnamon.

Can I use a different gluten free flour mixture to make this gf spice cake recipe?

I’ve perfected this recipe using Better Batter’s classic gluten free flour blend, so I recommend using that blend for perfect results (measuring the flour blend by weight, as always). But Cup4Cup gluten free flour blend should also work well here, and only result in a slightly more bouncy, springy cake.

Can I use this gluten free spice cake mix recipe to make cupcakes?

I haven’t tried making this spice cake recipe as cupcakes, but I think it might work! The batter is quite adaptable. But watch that baking time, since this cake bakes quickly!

Can I use this recipe to make a gluten free spice bundt cake?

I don’t know if this recipe would make a proper gluten free spice bundt cake, since it’s very, very moist all the way through, and the best gluten free bundt cake has a crispier, buttery edge.

It may bake up similar to our gluten free vegan chocolate crazy cake, which has a similar texture. Just multiply all the ingredients by 1.5 to make enough batter.

How do I know when my gf spice cake is ready?

This cake bakes pretty quickly and evenly, and the crust is as tender as the inside crumb, so when it’s done baking, it will look set in the center. You can test doneness by inserting a toothpick or other cake tester into the center to ensure that it comes out clean, or press the cake gently in the center. If it springs back, it’s done.

How do you keep gluten free cake moist?

Good gluten free baked goods don’t dry out faster than conventional baked goods, and this cake in particular stays moist and tender, if wrapped tightly, for at least 2 days at room temperature. For longer storage, wrap pieces tightly in freezer safe wrap and freeze.

Square slice of spice cake with powdered sugar being lifted out of pan

Moist and Perfectly Spiced Gluten Free Spice Cake, step by step



Homemade Gluten Free Spice Cake | Easy, From Scratch Recipe

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Make a delicious gluten free spice cake from scratch with this simple recipe. Enjoy the tender crumb and flavorful spices of this tasty gf spice cake.
Course Cake, Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword gluten free spice cake
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Cooling time 45 minutes
Servings 18 servings
Author Nicole Hunn


  • 2 ¼ cups all purpose gluten-free flour blend (I used Better Batter)
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum omit if your blend already contains it
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg freshly ground nutmeg is best
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil (vegetable, canola, grapeseed, etc.)
  • 2 eggs at room temperature, beaten
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease or line a 9×13-inch baking pan and set it aside.
  • In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices, and granulated sugar and whisk to combine well.
  • Add the brown sugar and mix to combine, breaking up any lumps.
  • Add the melted butter, oil, beaten eggs, water, and vanilla, and mix to combine. The batter will be relatively thick, but soft.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it into an even layer with a moistened spatula. Shake the pan back and forth a bit to ensure even distribution of the batter.
  • Place the cake in the center of the preheated oven and bake until set in the center, about 25 minutes. A toothpick should come out mostly clean (never wet; may have a few moist crumbs attached).
  • Remove the pan from the oven and allow the cake to cool completely in the pan completely. It will take about 45 minutes at room temperature until completely cool.
  • Once the cake is cool, dust the top of the cake with a thin layer of (the optional) confectioners’ sugar. Slice into squares and serve.

The post Homemade Gluten Free Spice Cake | The Most Tender Crumb appeared first on Great gluten free recipes for every occasion..

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