If you love the warm flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice but you also love the nutty, fruity texture of a fruitcake, you’re going to love this recipe. It’s the perfect blend of two favorites. And best of all, it starts with a box of cake mix!
The Perfect Christmas Cake!
Is it a fruitcake, a nut cake, or a spice cake? Yes to all of the above! This delicious and easy cake is the ideal combination of three different cake mix recipes and it’s one you’re going to adore!
I recently posted a recipe for a Fruit and Nut cake. It’s delicious but I was looking for something simple, something with a bit more spice. The idea came to me from out of nowhere–why not turn a boxed spice cake into a fruity, nutty cake?
Sounded easy enough! So, I got busy trying to figure out what kind of fruits I would add. I’m not a big fruitcake fan but I do love Craisins. And I love apples in cake. So I settled on both of those.
Then it came time to select the nuts. My decision was a random one: I took a handful of every kind of nut I had in the house and chopped them together, forming a three-nut blend: pecans, walnuts, and almonds. Yum!
Finally, I had to choose my liquid. When I doctor a cake mix I often add milk or cream but in this case I needed something that would merge with the spices. Then I remembered my Carrot Cake recipe. It calls for a yummy liquid. . .orange juice.
Immediately I knew I would enjoy the flavor of orange juice in this spiced cake, as well. And even before I mixed it all up in the bowl I knew I would love it!
Christmas Spice Cake Ingredients
You will find a full printable recipe card at the bottom of this post but here’s a quick peek at what you’ll need for this easy cake. These are simple ingredients, which you can pick up at any grocery store.
- Boxed Spice cake (box mixes are great!)
- Room temperature eggs
- Room temperature butter
- Orange juice
- Apple pie spice (or pumpkin pie spice)
- Chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds or other)
- Craisins (or raisins)
- Apple, finely chopped
- Powdered Sugar
It doesn’t matter which brand of cake mix you use: Duncan Hines, Betty Crocker or other. Just use your favorite!
How to make this Luscious Spice Cake
This cake came together so quickly and easily. I wish I’d thought of it sooner! Cake mixes are perfect for each but unique cakes like this one.
Start by preheating your oven to 340 degrees Fahrenheit.
Prep your bundt pan. I used Baker’s Joy but you can use a thin layer of shortening and a dusting of flour, if you like.
Place your cake mix in a large bowl. I used a stand mixer with paddle attachment, which turned out to be the perfect choice. If you don’t have one you can always use an electric mixer or even stir it by hand with a wooden spoon.
Add softened butter, eggs, and orange juice, as well as the spices.
Mix well at medium speed until everything is fully incorporated.
Finely chop your apple and add it to the batter. Mix well.
Now it’s time to add your Craisins. Stir them in.
Add the chopped nuts, being careful not to over-mix. (Use low speed.) You don’t want to over-work the gluten strands.
Add batter to your prepared bundt pan.
This is a relatively thick cake batter. That’s because we only added a half cup of liquid (in the orange juice). The purpose behind that is twofold: Bundt cakes bake up better when they’re slightly more dense. Also, the addition of the apple will add more moisture to the cake.
Place into preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes or until cake pulls away from the edges and a toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from oven and place the pan on a wire cooling rack.
When you can handle the pan, flip the cake out onto the wire rack and continue to cool.
Once fully cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon mixture.
Slice and enjoy!
Store in airtight container at room temperature up to three days, refrigerated up to four days. You can easily freeze this cake if well wrapped. Thaw at room temperature.
I use cake drums from Amazon as a base for most of my cakes. I highly recommend them because they can hold the weight of the cake.
What to Expect from this Christmas Spice Cake
I honestly can’t believe I didn’t come up with this idea sooner! It’s perfect for Christmas but I can also envision this delicious cake any time during the fall months. It’s got the warmth of autumn spices, rich with cinnamon and just enough nutmeg and allspice to make you swoon!
I love the combination of apple and Craisins in this cake. Unlike a sticky fruitcake, these two fruits offer a variation of textures and flavors that blend perfectly with the spices.
I particularly loved the addition of the chopped nuts. Adding two cups was just the right amount. I always worry that a single cake mix isn’t enough to fill my bundt pan, but with the addition of all of the added ingredients it was the perfect size!
Finally, the mixture of powdered sugar and cinnamon on top sent this cake over the edge. At first I planned to just sprinkle with powdered sugar but I have a bag of Vietnamese Cinnamon that was gifted to me and I couldn’t wait to use it. Am I ever glad I did! Talk about delicious!
I can’t wait to share this easy cake mix recipe with my friends. They’re going to love it!
Variations on this Spiced Christmas Cake
These extra ingredients will really take this cake over the top!
Eggnog Frosting: Check out this easy recipe for Eggnog Frosting. It would be lovely with this cake!
Cream Cheese Frosting: Yum! I think a delicious cream cheese frosting would be perfect. Try 1 stick of butter, 1 block of cream cheese, 2 cups powdered sugar and a bit of milk to thin it all down.
Cinnamon Glaze: Make a simple powdered sugar and orange juice glaze with a pinch of cinnamon. Delicious!
Coconut: I think coconut would be another lovely addition to this rich cake.
Dates: If you’re a date fan, you can substitute some of the Craisins with dates.
Pumpkin cake: You can add pumpkin puree in place of some or all of the butter.
Sour cream: You might consider adding sour cream in place of the orange juice.
Layer cake: You don’t have to bake this in a bundt pan. You could easily make this into a layer cake. You could use two 9-inch round cake pans.
Yellow cake mix: If you don’t have a spice cake mix, no worries! Use a yellow cake and double the amount of pumpkin pie or apple pie spice. You can also add a couple tablespoons of brown sugar to the mix.
Questions People are Asking about Spice Cake
What is the difference between spice cake and carrot cake?
Carrot cake starts with a spice cake base but grated carrots, nuts, orange juice, and other yummy things are added to it.
Why do fruitcakes have such a bad rap?
Let’s face it, there are some really icky fruitcakes out there! Some are too gummy, too dense, or too stale.
Other Spice Cake Offerings from Out of the Box Baking
Easy Pumpkin Spice Cake: If you’re in the mood for those perfect fall flavors–pumpkin and spice–have I got a recipe for you! This is an easy cake to whip up in a hurry, and it all starts with a boxed cake mix! Whether you’re serving it for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other time of year, it’s the perfect blend of flavors.
Apple Spice Skillet Cake: Cake in a skillet? No oven required? Yes, thank you! This Apple Spice Skillet Cake is the perfect gift to take to a family member on a cold winter’s day. And, while I usually do layered or tiered cakes, this simplistic approach really hits the mark!
Carrot Cake: Holiday spice and everything nice! That’s what this carrot cake recipe is made of! Best of all, it starts with a boxed mix!
Cookie Butter Cupcakes: These cookie butter cupcakes are on my top ten list of best cupcakes ever. They’re warm, sweet, and loaded with just enough spice to make you want to grab your cupcake pans and start baking! This recipe starts with a boxed mix but you add all sorts of yummy extras to make it extra-special!
That’s it for this post, friends! I hope you enjoy this easy Christmas cake, rich with cinnamon, spice, and everything nice!
Learn more about doctored cake mixes, the theme of this blog.
For the master list of all doctored cake mix recipes on this site, visit Doctored Cake Mix Recipes, Master List.
About the Author
Janice Thompson is an author, baker, and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 150 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice or to drop her a note, visit her About the Author page.
- 1 box Spice cake
- 4 room temperature eggs
- 1 cup room temperature butter
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 teaspoon apple pie spice (or pumpkin pie spice)
- 2 cups chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds or other)
- 1 cup Craisins (or raisins)
- 1 apple, finely chopped
- TO SPRINKLE
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Start by preheating your oven to 340 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Prep your bundt pan. I used Baker’s Joy but you can use a thin layer of shortening and a dusting of flour, if you like.
- Place your cake mix in a large mixing bowl. I used a stand mixer with paddle attachment, which turned out to be the perfect choice. If you don’t have one you can always use a hand mixer or even stir it by hand with a wooden spoon.
- Add softened butter, eggs, and orange juice, as well as the spices.
Mix well until everything is fully incorporated.
- Finely chop your apple and add it to the batter. Mix well.
- Now it’s time to add your Craisins. Stir them in.
- Add the chopped nuts, being careful not to over-mix. You don’t want to over-work the gluten strands.
- This is a relatively thick batter. That’s because we only added a half cup of liquid (in the orange juice). The purpose behind that is twofold: Bundt cakes bake up better when they’re slightly more dense. Also, the addition of the apple will add more moisture to the cake.
- Place into preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes or until cake pulls away from the edges and a toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and place the pan on a wire cooling rack.
- When you can handle the pan, flip the cake out onto the wire rack and continue to cool.
- Once fully cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar.
- Slice and enjoy!
- Store in airtight container at room temperature up to three days, refrigerated up to four days. You can easily freeze this cake if well wrapped. Thaw at room temperature.