Homemade pie … is there anything better? Apple, cherry, blueberry, lemon, pecan. Can anyone out there make a good pie crust? I can’t. The best pie crust I ever made was my first many years ago and it was beginners luck, as I have not made a good pie crust since. I am not alone judging from the ready-made pie crusts and pre-made pie dough on the grocery shelves. The Contessa on The Food Network makes her pie crust in the food processor and she makes it look easy. I’ve tried her method and still no success. The secret to a good pie crust is practice and most of us roll out dough once a year at Thanksgiving. So the holidays are rolling around and as your thoughts turn to pie, do you find yourself cringing at the thought of rolling out pie dough?  Here is an alternative to pie and a superb autumn dessert for your Thanksgiving table. 

This Cinnamon Spice Cake is a nice combination of my favorite baking spices … cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves with brown sugar and cake flour for a delicate confection. This cake is topped with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting. If you prefer, add a touch of orange or gold food coloring to reflect the colors of the season.

Cinnamon Spice Layer Cake
2½ cups Softasilk Cake Flour (or 2-1/3 cups Flour), sifted
1 cup Sugar
1 tsp Baking Soda
1½ tsp Cinnamon
3/4 tsp Nutmeg
3/4 tsp Cloves
1 tsp Salt
1 cup Brown Sugar
2/3 cup Crisco Shortening
1 cup Buttermilk
3 Eggs
Buttermilk Substitute: Add one cup of milk plus one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar.

Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans
Mix Flour, Sugar, Baking Soda, Cinnamon, Nutmeg Cloves and Salt.
Add Brown Sugar, Shortening and Buttermilk. Add Eggs.
Pour into cake pans. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes until cake tester comes out clean.
For cupcakes bake at 400 for 18-20 minutes. Makes 24 cupcakes.
[This recipe is the New Duchess Spice Cake in the 1950 Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook]

White Buttercream Icing
4½ cups Confectioner’s Sugar, sifted
1/2 cup Crisco Shortening
5-10 tbsp Cream or Milk
2¼ Tsp Vanilla (use clear extract for white frosting)

Place all ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. Add small amounts of milk if icing is too stiff.
[This recipe is from the 1950 Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook]



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  1. Joan we are in the same boat:/ I made the best pie crusts for a few years and now all I hear is 'what happened?' I don't know! In fact for Thanksgiving I'll make the brinded turkey, the sourdough bread stuffing, the homemade cranberry sauce, and gravy, but I now assign out the pies - which are inevitably purchased at Sam's or Costco...It is a quest I intend to win, as soon as I catch up on my blog and finish my second novel. So, I think it may down the list, so I hope you figure it out and teach me PLEASE:) I love your blog and all the goodies here, they are eye candy for sure. Carrie, A Mother's Shadow

    1. Hi Carrie, I like your idea of assigning guests the dessert items. I do plan to tackle pie crusts again once I have the extra time. Your Apple Bar Cookies look delicious. Good luck with your novel and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. Joan,
    So much pressure to produce the best of everything during Thanksgiving and Christmas. I think if we are able to assign dishes, purchase pies or cakes which lessen the pressure, it is a winning combination.
    Beautiful recipes here today.
    Happy Thanksgiving,

    1. Hi Jemma, We all want the holidays to be special for our families and we confuse it with perfection, and thereby create stress. Spending time together is what makes it special. I hope you have a lovely holiday season.

  3. Joan, This is a great dessert for those guests who don't like pumpkin pie, like me. It's also a nice fall cake and I love anything with buttercream icing. Thanks for sharing. Katie

    1. Hi Katie, This cake is perfect for this time of year and is one of my favorites. Let me know how you like it. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. This sounds absolutely delicious!! I'd love to serve this for either Thanksgiving or Christmas. Thanks so much for sharing your cake with "Best of the Weekend." I'm pinning and will feature you this Friday.

    1. Hi Paula, Thank you! This recipe always comes out perfectly. Let me know how you like it.. Thank you and much appreciate the pin and the feature this week.


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