Semi-Homemade Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Caramel Icing – Old-Fashioned Comfort At It’s Best!

It’s funny how our sense of taste can be inextricably lined to memories and seasons, isn’t it?  I don’t know why, but most of my favorite things are tied (in my mind’s taste buds) to Fall.  For me, this can be especially true of desserts.  Just the litany of wonderful treats made with all the fruits of the harvest alone are enough to put a strain on my jeans, and that’s just the fruit category!  Don’t even get me started on chocolate…don’t even go there, my wardrobe can’t afford it.

Chocolate desserts are, by and large, my favorite overall.  But, truth be told, theimg_20160926_151600re is a different, very special dessert cake that has always held a special place in my heart.  I don’t know why really, but the flavor is just intoxicating to me and very much “Fall”.  It’s filled with warm sweet spices and smothered in a rich, creamy caramel icing that makes you want to curl up by the fire and snuggle with it!  Yes, it’s really that yummy, my mouth is watering just writing this post.

The problem is, I rarely have time to mix up any cake from scratch.  Recently, when the crisp Fall weather started settling in, I got such a craving for my favorite cake that I just had to have it – problem…not enough time to make it.  Well, it takes a pretty serious dilemma to motivate me into using a cake mix, and I only had a yellow cake mix on hand (for emergencies).  But I was desperate, you see, so I got to thinking how I could somehow merge that yellow cake mix with my old recipe for spice cake in order to get what I wanted despite the short time :).  Hey, I keep a couple sizes of jeans on hand just in case of a case, you know what I mean? Sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!

My experiment worked like a charm, so I want to share it with you.  I made a sheet-style cake because I didn’t want to mess with multiple pans that day, but you can just as easily make a layer cake with this recipe as well.  Happy baking!

Semi-Homemade Spice Cake

1 Yellow Box Cake mix
1 Tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground allspice
¼ tsp. ground cloves
Oil per box instructions
Eggs per box instructions
Replace ¾ cup of water called for on box with ¾ dry white wine
1 Tbsp. molasses

  • Preheat oven to 3500, and prepare your cake pan(s) according to box directions.
  • Place cake mix into a medium mixing bowl.
  • Add cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves to the cake mix, whisking to combine well.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the oil and eggs called for on the boxed mix.
  • Add water called for on mix, replacing ¾ of the water with dry white wine
  • Add molasses, and whisk wet ingredients well.
  • Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mixing well.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake per box instructions.
Brown Sugar Caramel Icing

½ cup butter or margarine
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 – 4 Tbsp. Milk
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan.
  • Add brown sugar, and cook over low heat until sugar is dissolved, stirring constantly.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients and beat until smooth, adding more milk if necessary for proper spreading consistency.
  • Spread between layers and on top/sides of layer cake; spread over the top of sheet cake.

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