This gluten-free spice cake is perfect for spice lovers! It has all your favorite flavors – cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger – and every bite has rich and bold flavors. The recipe is easy to make, and you can add fun mix-ins like raisins or white chocolate chips to make it even more enjoyable.

This is a cake for my spice lovers! Every bite is filled with rich cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger flavors! I didn’t lighten the spices because I love a strong spice cake!

One of the best things about this cake is that it’s made with applesauce, which helps keep it moist. The apple flavor adds a little more sweetness to the cake, and since it doesn’t use any dairy ingredients, it’s allergy-friendly. So, if you’re looking for a dairy-free spice cake with all the same great flavors, this recipe is for you.

You can use this gluten free spice cake batter to make a loaf, layered, or cupcake. You can also pair it with vanilla buttercream frosting or cinnamon buttercream frosting found in my pumpkin cupcakes recipe.

If you love cake as much as I do, check out my delicious gluten free cake recipes!

Why This Recipe is Great:

  • It has a lot of flavors. I am a nutmeg fan, and I did use it liberally. The beauty of this recipe is you can modify how much spice you add, making it the way YOU like it!
  • This cake tastes great without frosting, too, so if you are cutting back on how much sugar you use, this is a great-tasting cake!
  • This homemade gluten free spice cake is so much better than a store-bought boxed spice cake mix!
  • You can freeze this cake, which will keep fresh in the freezer for up to 4 months!
  • This is also a dairy-free spice cake so that everyone can enjoy it.

This turned out so yummy , loved it will try with the icing next time. Just sprinkled powdered sugar on top.”

Nicole L., Pinterest comment
Top Pick
King Arthur, Measure for Measure Flour 3 lbs

This is one of my favorite gluten-free flour blends for cookies, cakes, pie crust, biscuits, and muffins! (Do not use this flour blend for yeast recipes.)

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Ingredient Notes:

This recipe makes one gluten free spice cake without almond flour.

Pictures of the spice cake ingredients.
  • Gluten Free Flour Blend – I tested this recipe using Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Flour Blend and King Arthur’s Measure for Measure Gluten Free Blend. That doesn’t mean others will not work; I have not tested other flours, and I can not guarantee the recipe will work if you use other mixes.
  • Xanthan Gum – If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain xanthan gum or guar gum, please add 1 teaspoon.
  • Sugar and Brown Sugar
  • Baking Powder – I recommend using aluminum-free baking powder.
  • Applesauce – I used unsweetened applesauce.
  • Oil – I recommend canola or avocado oil. Be sure to use an oil without a strong flavor.
  • Eggs – Size Large
  • Vanilla Extract – I always recommend pure vanilla extract over imitation.
  • Nutmeg, Cinnamon, and Ginger – Use ground spices of high quality. Spices in jars go bad over time, so if you have spices over two years old, they have probably lost much of their rich flavors.
  • Raisins – I recommend brown, not yellow.

Tips For Sucess:

  • Do not use a stand mixer for this recipe. If you want a fluffier cake, mix the batter by hand. A stand mixer will overmix your batter and make your cake denser.
  • Let the cake batter sit for 15 minutes to let the rice in the flour blend to soften. This will help prevent your cake from tasting gritty.

For more tips, check out my Gluten Free Cake Troubleshooting Guide. I also share all of my favorite Tools For Making Gluten Free Cake.

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Did you know?

Your oven temperature may be off. Periodically, check your oven temperature to make sure it’s accurate. This inexpensive oven thermometer will tell you if your oven temperature is off.

Substitutions:

  • You can substitute unsalted butter for the oil in this recipe.
  • If you cannot eat xanthan or guar gum, use my DIY Gluten Free Flour Blend. It is a great gum-free blend that works well in my cake recipes.
  • Substitute chocolate chips for the raisins.
  • Add chopped walnuts or pecans if you like.

How To Make Gluten Free Spice Cake:

Photos of steps 1 and 2 of making spice cake.

Step 1: In a large mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients and whisk to blend. To measure your gluten free flour, I recommend using either the spoon method or leveling method.

Spoon Method: You can also use a spoon to fill the measuring cup. Use a knife to level along the top to remove the extra flour.

Leveling Method: Put the measuring scoop into the flour and fill. Do not pack the flour. Use a knife to scrape along the top to remove the extra flour.

Step 2: In a smaller mixing bowl, mix the wet ingredients well.

Photos of steps 3 and 4 making spice cake.

Step 3: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and add the raisins. Mix the two together.

HINT: For best results, mix the ingredients until they are just barely mixed. This will make your gluten free spice cake fluffier!

Step 4: This is what your batter should look like. Note that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch-to-grain ratio. You may need to add more flour blend or liquid depending on the consistency of your cake batter.

Spice cake batter in a loaf pan ready to bake.

Step 5: Put the spice cake batter into a greased loaf pan. (Note: you can also line the pan with parchment paper.) With this spice cake batter, you can also make cupcakes, a sheet cake, or a layer cake.

Step 6: Bake the cake at 350º F for 30-35 minutes. The actual baking time will vary greatly depending on if you use a loaf pan, layer cake pan, or cupcake pan.

To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is done baking. If you see batter or crumbs, the cake needs to be baked longer.

Step 7: Remove the cake from the oven and cool it on a cooling rack.

A photo of the front of a whole spice cake on a rack.

If you love this spice cake with applesauce, you will also love my Gluten Free Fruit Cake recipe!

Variations:

  • Add white chocolate chips to the cake batter!
  • Dust the cooled cake with powdered sugar.
  • Drizzle melted white chocolate or icing over the cake.
  • Top this cake with this easy Gluten Free Frosting recipe.

Make Gluten Free Spice Cake Mix:

I love to keep pre-blended cake mixes on hand in my pantry to make a cake quickly. It also makes a great gift with the printed recipe. If you want to do this, here are the simple steps:

  • Add all of the dry ingredients one at a time into a mason jar. The layers are pretty. Don’t forget the raisins or other mix-ins!
  • Close the lid on the jar tightly.
  • If you are giving it as a gift, wrap a bow around the lid and print out the recipe to include in an envelope!
A stack of four slices of gluten free spice cake.

Storage:

Store the leftover cake in an airtight container. This gluten free spice cake will keep fresh for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. You can also freeze this cake. To freeze it. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap, then put it into a freezer-safe zip-style bag.

Recipe FAQ:

What is spice cake made of?

Spice cake is made from strong spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. They give the spice cake a delicious, sweet spiciness.

Are spices gluten free?

In general, most spices are gluten free. It is important always to check the labels as some spices are made on shared equipment with gluten. My favorite gluten-free spices are Penzey’s, McCormick, and O Organics brands.

What is the difference between a spice cake and a carrot cake?

A spice cake has some similarities in flavor to a carrot cake, but the carrot cake has less spice and less of spiciness. The carrot cake also contains carrots, which a spice cake doesn’t.

Can you freeze a spice cake?

You can easily freeze this spice cake! Wrap the cooled cake in plastic wrap. Next, wrap it with aluminum foil. If the cake isn’t too large, you can fit this into a freezer-safe zip-style bag.

I like to freeze my spice cake in slices to grab and thaw a slice instead of freezing the cake whole.

A sliced loaf of spice cake.

More Gluten Free Cake Recipes:

A stack of four slices of gluten free spice cake.

Gluten Free Spice Cake

Sandi Gaertner
A flavorful moist gluten free spice cake recipe that is really easy to make.
5 from 10 votes
dairy free allergen icon
gluten free allergy icon
nut free allergen icon
soy free allergy icon
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Gluten Free Cake Recipes, Gluten Free Dessert Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 12 slices
Calories 361 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 ¾ cups gluten free flour blend * see note
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder * see note
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • cup light oil * see note
  • 3 eggs size large
  • cup applesauce * smooth, not chunky
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup raisins

For the Optional Frosting:

  • ¼ cup butter * room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons cream * you can also use water.

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350º F.
  • In a bowl, add the dry ingredients and whisk to blend.
  • In a smaller bowl add the wet ingredients and mix well.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and add the raisins. Mix the two together.
  • HINT: Mix the ingredients until they are just barely mixed. This will make your gluten free spice cake fluffier!
  • Put the spice cake batter into a greased loaf pan. You can also make cupcakes, a sheet cake, or a layer cake with this spice cake batter.
  • Bake the cake at 350º F for 30-35 minutes. The actual baking time will vary greatly depending on if you use a loaf pan, layer cake pans, or a cupcake pan.
  • To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is done baking. If you see batter or crumbs, the cake needs to bake longer.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and cool it on a cooling rack.

Notes

  1. I have tested this recipe with King Arthur Measure for Measure GF, Cup4Cup, and Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 GF blend. That doesn’t mean others will not work, I just have not tested other flours. 
  2. Xanthan Gum – If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain xanthan gum or guar gum, please add 1 teaspoon.
  3. Baking Powder – I suggest using an aluminum-free brand.
  4. I recommend using a light oil like canola or avocado in this recipe.
  5. This cake will keep for up to 3 days in an air-tight container or up to 4 months in the freezer.

SPECIAL NOTE

Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn’t test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 361kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 3gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 150mgPotassium: 113mgFiber: 2gSugar: 35gVitamin A: 217IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 65mgIron: 1mg
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Nutrition Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.

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17 Comments

  1. I’m wanting to make this recipe in perhaps a sheet cake as you mention in Step 6 of the instructions in the recipe. The only thing is I’m not seeing what size pan or how long to bake it for. Would you be able to give me details for what size of sheet cake pan you would recommend and how long to bake it? Thank you for your reply.

  2. Out of curiosity (as I am not smart on this stuff, lol) could you use olive oil? Not sure if that is a light oil. Thanks!

    1. Hi Maureen, that is a totally valid questions. I feel olive oil has a strong flavor that can change the flavor of what you are baking. For this recipe a light oil (as in flavor), like avocado or canola (with no flavor) is best.

  3. 5 stars
    Thank you for this wonderful recipe, best cake I’ve made being gluten free. I highly recommend this to anyone who is looking for a great easy tasty cake recipe. My daughter paired it with salty caramel icing. So good!

  4. 5 stars
    Super delicious! I wish I could share a picture of how great it looks. It’s golden brown, crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside! I did omit the raisins (my family and I aren’t a huge fan) and it still turned out delicious. This is also the first baked dish I’ve made that required applesauce which is very exciting for me! Thank you for sharing this awesome recipe!

      1. Hi Paula, I haven’t tested this recipe without apples. If you are looking for just a caramel cake, you could use my gluten free caramel cupcakes batter to make cake.