Sweet Cakes & Puddings

Dune-inspired Spice Cake

Whoever controls the spice cake, controls the universe.

As you have probably noticed if you read this blog, I’m a fan of all things cozy and fall-related; if you can think of an autumn cliché, it’s probably something I enjoy. I’m also a huge fan of science fiction books – which is where this spice cake comes in. I first read Dune by Frank Herbert the summer after graduating high school. I was entranced by this world in which a mysterious spice is the foundation of economies and of interstellar travel. Why not make a cake that incorporates delightful autumn spices, but is also reminiscent of a favorite book?

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Note: This page contains affiliate links to Bookshop.org. I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.

This spice cake features a profoundly moist crumb, a filling resplendent with spices, and a rich cream cheese icing. It’s based on my recipe for classic coffee cake with a few key adjustments – namely, the addition of a mélange of spices to give it a more warm and cozy flavor. (And, of course, to make it more suited for an Arrakeen table.) This spice cake also uses a heavier frosting compared to the coffee cake’s light glaze – making this much more suitable for dessert than for breakfast.

A Bundt spice cake sits on a glass cake stand; the cake is covered with dozens of thin strands of cream cheese frosting. One slice of spice cake is being lifted from the plate with a metal spatula. A spice and sugar filling is barely visible at the center of the rising slice.

“He who controls this spice, controls the universe.”

– Frank Herbert, Dune

While I can’t guarantee that this spice cake will allow you to control the universe, it will likely make your family and friends pretty happy. It’s a nice cake to bring to fall gatherings, and would be an excellent Thanksgiving dessert if your loved ones wanted an option besides pie. Homemade Bundt cakes seem to have become less popular in recent years, but this one may help remind your friends what they’ve been missing.

This cake is part of our series of Bookish Bakes; click here to see more nerdy bakes inspired by works of fiction. If you’re interested in more information on the books themselves, they’re all collected in my affiliate shop on Bookshop.org.

Ingredients

You will create this spice cake in three distinct parts: the cake, the filling (which will be added before we bake the cake) and the icing.

For the cake you will need:

  • A box of yellow cake mix
  • Instant vanilla pudding mix
  • Unsalted butter
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Vanilla bean paste
  • Spice mix – cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice

The filling is pretty simple – you should recognize a few of these ingredients from above:

  • Brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Allspice

For the icing, you’ll need:

  • Cream cheese (softened)
  • Butter (softened)
  • Sugar
  • Milk
  • Vanilla bean paste

How to make a Dune-inspired spice cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a Bundt pan…and make sure you’re thorough! I often miss a few spots and parts of my cake remain in the pan after removal. Fortunately, we’ll be using lots of frosting…and it will cover up any mistakes.

Combine the cake mix, vanilla pudding mix, spices, melted butter, vanilla, and milk using an electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time, beating between each addition. Continue to beat for an additional 7 minutes; the batter should be relatively fluffy.

In a separate bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Pour half of cake batter into the Bundt pan. Evenly cover the batter with your spiced sugar mixture before covering with the remaining cake batter. 

Bake your cake for 45 – 55 minutes; the cake is done when a skewer placed in the depths of the cake comes out clean. Allow the spice cake to cool in its pan for 10 minutes before carefully removing from pan to cool completely.

While the cake is cooling, prepare your icing. Beat together the softened butter and cream cheese before mixing in granulated sugar. Beat in the vanilla bean paste and, if you would prefer a thinner icing, milk. Ice the spice cake as desired once it has cooled completely.

Slice your cake and serve! It can be cut into 12 generous pieces, but absolutely could serve more – this cake is fairly rich, and if anyone in your circle is on a diet, they’ll be satisfied with thinner slices.

Whether you made this spice cake for your Thanksgiving table, or for your next Dune re-read or movie viewing session, I hope you enjoyed it. Please tag your photos on social media @WhiskAverseBaking, or leave a message in the comments below to let me know how it turned out! You can also click “Pin Recipe” in the card to save this cake for later.

Dune-inspired Spice Cake

He who controls the spice cake, controls the universe.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Cooling time 40 mins
Total Time 2 hrs
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 slices

Ingredients
  

Cake

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 3.4- ounce box instant vanilla pudding
  • ¾ cup butter melted (1.5 sticks)
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 4 eggs

Filling

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon allspice

Icing

  • 8 oz softened cream cheese
  • ¼ cup softened butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk omit for a thicker icing
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a bundt pan.
  • Combine cake mix, vanilla pudding mix, melted butter, vanilla, and milk using an electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time, beating between each addition. Continue to beat for an additional 7 minutes; the batter should be relatively fluffy.
  • In a separate bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon.
  • Pour half of cake batter into bundt pan. Evenly cover with cinnamon sugar mixture before covering with the remaining cake batter.
  • Bake for 45 – 55 minutes; the cake is done when a skewer placed in the depths of the cake comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes before carefully removing from pan to cool completely.
  • While the cake is cooling, prepare icing. Beat together butter and cream cheese before mixing in sugar. Beat in vanilla bean paste and, if you would prefer a thinner icing, milk. Ice cake as desired once the cake has cooled completely.
Keyword bundt, cake, spice cake

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