Indonesian Spice Cake (Spekkuk Bumbu)

Serves     one 8" or 9" cake


This is a butter-rich spice cake, and would be made for an important guest or special occasion due to the high amount of butter and eggs. It can be made in one-layer, or a bundt pan, but if you’d really like to get fancy it can be made in several layers as well. It will not taste any different, or better, but it promises a more dramatic look. This recipe gives instructions for the basic one-layer version, but I’ve included the link for the layered version in case you’d like to try that one instead.

1½ cups butter, softened
2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch of salt
1 2⁄3 cups sugar
4 large eggs
3 large egg yolks*, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 325°. Grease and flour either an 8″ × 8″ × 2″ cake pan or a 9” tube pan – if your pan is non-stick no need to grease and flour.

Sift flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, cloves, and salt together into a medium bowl.

Beat 1½ cups butter in a large bowl, using a stand mixer on high speed, (or a wooden spoon), until it is soft and very pliant, about four minutes. Add sugar and beat together until pale and fluffy, five to six minutes. Beat in whole eggs, one at a time, until mixture is light and fluffy, about four minutes.

Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 equal parts, to make a smooth batter. Add egg yolks and vanilla and continue to mix until well combined, about 30 seconds more.

Pour batter into prepared pan, spread evenly and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour, but I’d recommend checking it after 45 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. If necessary, carefully run a thin knife around the perimeter and inner rim of the cake to help loosen it from the pan. Invert the pan onto the rack and lift it off. Turn the cake right side up and let it cool on the rack.

Transfer the cake to a serving platter. Using a fine-mesh sieve dust the top with powdered sugar, if desired.


Notes and Instructions


Make sure to freeze your extra egg whites in ice cube trays and pop into zip-lock bags for use in future recipes.

Recipe source

Cradle of Flavor, by James Oseland

Indonesian Spice Cake – Layered Version