Skip to main content

Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream for Festa delle Donne #TheCakeSliceBakers


Here we are the March 2021 edition of the Cake Slice Bakers. For 2021; we are baking from Little Everyday Cakes: 50+ Perfectly Proportioned Confections to Enjoy Any Day of the Week by Candace Floyd.* I can't believe that we're already in a new year. In many ways 2020 dragged on as the shelter-in-place orders continued month after month; on the other hand, it was a completely blur because there weren't milestones to mark the passage of time.

In this group, we are given a selection of three cake recipes. We each choose one cake to bake, and then on the 20th - never before - we all post about our cake on our blogs. There are a few rules that we follow, but the most important ones are to have fun and enjoy baking & eating cakes!

Follow our FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest pages where you can find all of our cakes, as well as inspiration for many other cakes. You can also click on the links below to take you to each of our cakes. If you have a blog and are interested in joining The Cake Slice Bakers and baking along with us, please send an email to thecakeslicebakers at gmail dot com for more details.

The Cake Slice Bakers also have a new Facebook group called The Cake Slice Bakers and Friends. This group is perfect for those who do not have a blog but want to join in the fun and bake through this book.

Here's the line-up for this third month of 2021...

Crumb Cake

Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting

Jam Cake

    Feste delle Donne

    All over Italy, on March 8th, women don yellow clothing and head out to eat, drink, make merry, and celebrate Feste delle Donne, or Women's Day. In the middle of the 20th century, Italian feminists adopted the mimosa flower as the day's symbol, representing both strength and femininity. So, mimosa corsages and bouquets abound and foods in all shades of yellow grace the restaurant menus from mimosa eggs (what we in America called 'deviled eggs') to saffron-dyed crocchette di patate (potato croquettes). I only lived in Italy for one year, but that day - with all its yellow steeped in the struggle for women's rights - left quite an impression.

    And, at the end of the day, there's cake. Torta Mimosa is a layered sponge cake brushed with limoncello, slathered with lemon-infused pastry cream or lemon curd, covered with cubes of sponge cake to mimic the small blossoms of the mimosa flower, and dusted with powdered sugar.

    This isn't that! But I decided to take our assigned Cake Slice Bakers cake and decorate it with buttercream mimosa flowers...or  at least my approximation of them. You'll have to use your imagination. Sorry. Cake decorating is a work in progress for me.

    Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream
    inspired by and adapted from Floyd's recipe - makes a two-layer 9" cake

    I typically think of spice cakes as flavors of autumn or winter. Don't get me wrong: I love a good spice cake. But I wanted this to be a litttle bit more Spring-y, so I made a few changes, including adding a smear of lemon curd between the layers. I am, however, now a convert to the brown sugar buttercream. That tiny crunch from the larger sugar crystals is magical.

    • 1-1/2 C flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground all-spice
    • 1/2 cup butter, softened
    • 1 cup organic dark brown sugar, lightly packed
    • 3 eggs, separated
    • 2/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
    • Also needed: two 9-inch round baking pans, parchment paper, lemon curd
    Brown Sugar Buttercream
    • 3/4 cup butter, softened
    • 1/3 cup organic dark brown sugar, lightly packed
    • 2 cups organic powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or  extract
    • 1 to 2 Tablespoons buttermilk as needed (you can use whole milk or cream also)
    • Also needed: food dyes of your choice, if using

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 9" round baking pans by buttering them and lining the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside. Note: I was making two two-layer cakes, so there are lots more cake layers in that photo above than you need!

    In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. 

    In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until lightened and fluffy, approximately 3 minutes. Add in the eggs yolks and vanilla paste. Mix again, then pour in the buttermilk and whisk to combine.

    Sift the dry ingredients into the batter and fold in gently with a spatula until just moistened.

    In another mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until medium peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter, taking care not to deflate the egg whites too much. Divide the cake batter evenly between two cake pans. 

    Place pans on baking sheets and place them in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through, until the layers are firm and golden. Remove the trays from the oven and cool the cakes completely on wire racks.

    Place butter and brown sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat until smooth, approximately 3  to 4 minutes. Add in the powdered sugar a little bit at a time. Beat between each addition until smooth. Add in the vanilla paste and buttermilk. Beat until well-combined. Add more buttermilk as needed to get the consistency you need to spread.

    Once your buttercream resembles what you think of as buttercream, add in the food coloring. I pulled out about 1/4 of the buttercream and dyed that yellow; I dyed the rest green.

    For Finishing
    Once the cake layers have cooled completely, use a serrated knife to cut the layers flat. Spread a generous amount of curd between the layers and place them on your serving platter.

    Smooth the green buttercream over the top and along the sides, keep about 2 to 3 Tablespoons of the green for the stems of the mimosa flowers. Dye the remaining green a little darker green; I actually ran out of green and had to use blue. So, my dark green verged on dark teal. Oh, well. 

    Pipe stems on the cake, then add yellow dots to emulate the blossoms of the mimosa tree. Place cake in the fridge to let the buttercream set. Remove from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before slicing and serving. 

    That's a wrap for the March #TheCakeSliceBakers' event. We'll be back next month with three more cakes to inspire you.

    *This blog currently has a partnership with in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to and search for the item of your choice.


    1. Very pretty! You went all out for the holiday!

    2. I love the idea of adding lemon! And so fun to learn about celebrations around the world! Lovely cake, Camilla!

    3. This is so pretty and thanks for sharing this Italian tradition with us.

    4. Your cake is stunning - I love that you added lemon curd!! And your decorating skills are far superior to mine - decorating scares me! :D

    5. Love the background story for your inspiration. Wonderful!

    6. Thanks for sharing this tradition with us. I'll bet the lemon was lovely with this cake

    7. Such a pretty cake! At first I thought the flowers may have been Australian wattle. I have not heard of mimosa flowers but they are beautiful.


    Post a Comment

    Popular posts from this blog

    Jamaican Stew Peas #EattheWorld

      Here we are at November #EattheWorld event. What a year this has been! This challenge has been one that gave us some excuse for virtual travel as we've been sheltered-in-place with the coronavirus epidemic for most of 2020. So, we've been able to read about different parts of the world and create a dinner, or at least a dish, with that cuisine. This Eat the World project is spearheaded by Evelyne of  CulturEatz . Read more about  her challenge . This month, Evelyne had us heading to somewhere tropical: Jamaica. I have actually been to Jamaica, but it was almost thirty years ago...and it was just a jumping off point for the rest of our Caribbean exploration. I don't remember eating anything at all! Pandemonium Noshery: Pumpkin Rice   Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Jamaican Stew Peas  Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Jamaican Chicken & Pumpkin Soup   Palatable Pastime: Jamaican Jerk Chicken Burger   Sneha’s Recipe: Jamaican Saucy Jerk Chicken Wings With Homemade Jerk Seas

    Quick Pickled Red Onions and Radishes

    If you've been reading my blog for even a short amount of time, you probably know how much I love to pickle things. I was just telling a friend you can pickle - with vinegar - or you can ferment - with salt - for similar delicious effect. The latter has digestive benefits and I love to do that, but when I need that pop of sour flavor quickly, I whip up quick pickles that are ready in as little as a day or two. I've Pickled Blueberries , Pickled Asparagus , Pickled Cranberries , Pickled Pumpkin , and even Pickled Chard Stems ! This I did last night for an upcoming recipe challenge that requires I include radishes. Ummmm...of course I'm pickling them! Ingredients  makes 1 quart jar radishes, trimmed and sliced organic red onions, peeled and thinly sliced (I used a mandolin slicer) 3/4 C vinegar (I used white distilled vinegar) 3/4 C water 3 T organic granulated sugar 1 T salt (I used some grey sea salt) 6 to 8 grinds of black pepper Proce

    #comfortfood: Jamie Oliver's Ossobuco with Bean Ragout

    As one of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Day Ambassadors ( I'm the Monterey #FRD2014 rep! ) I will be sent a copy of his latest cookbook - to cook from and write about. I can't wait. I do have to laugh though, because its title is  Comfort Food . And, according to a good friend:  I only make uncomfortable food . Oh, well. I can learn! To celebrate launch day - today - I'm sharing one of the recipes. Here's Jamie Oliver's Ossobuco alla Milanese recipe from his new cookbook, Comfort Food. And here's my adaptation. I typically don't eat veal, so I went to our local butcher for some lamb shanks sliced into an osso buco-style cut; but they had just sold their last shanks. Darn. But then I noticed the "never to roam" on the veal package and decided to go for it. I added in shelling beans to make a ragout and served it over wild rice instead of risotto. Also, I used lots of different herbs in my gremolata instead of just pa