Buttermilk Spice Cake With Vanilla Mascarpone Icing

Moist brown sugar buttermilk spice cake with smooth, creamy vanilla mascarpone frosting and Lindt chocolate decorations, perfect for the festive season.

We are fully into December now and I can’t quite believe just how quickly this year has vanished. Despite being initially resistant to the idea that it is nearly Christmas (see this post!), I have begun to accept it, and even to look forward to it (mulled wine may have played a part…); I still haven’t had my first mince pie though, although I have been craving one (or three (or five)).

Festive brown sugar buttermilk spice cake with vanilla mascarpone icing - Domestic GothessI have been doing some Christmas baking however; my Christmas fruitcake is baked and is maturing (post coming soon), but I also wanted to make a celebratory cake for those who don’t like fruitcake (it’s a very divisive cake). I thought about making gingerbread, but although I love it I had made some fairly recently; I stuck with the spiced theme though and made a buttermilk spice cake. It is lighter than gingerbread, with a mixed spice flavour which you can adapt to suit your tastes, I went heavy on the nutmeg but if you aren’t as much of a nutmeg fan as I am you can reduce that and use extra ginger, cinnamon or cardamom in it’s place.

Christmas brown sugar buttermilk spice cake with creamy vanilla mascarpone frosting and Lindt chocolate decorations - Domestic GothessThe cake is moist from the buttermilk and brown sugar and is really delicious on it’s own but is made even better by the addition of a light vanilla mascarpone frosting. It is a simple mixture of mascarpone (or you can use cream cheese), double cream, icing sugar and vanilla, which are whisked together until thick and fluffy; the result is smooth, creamy and insanely delicious; it is impossible to resist eating at least a few spoonfuls straight from the bowl… I decorated the cake with a selection of Lindt Christmas chocolates (the teddy bears are my favourites) and some chocolate shards which I sprinkled with freeze dried raspberry pieces, white chocolate stars and edible glitter; because if you can’t eat glitter at Christmas then when can you?!

Festive layered buttermilk spice cake with creamy vanilla mascarpone frosting

Buttermilk Spice Cake With Vanilla Mascarpone Icing

Serves 10-12
Author Domestic Gothess



  • 150 g (1/2 cup + 2tbsp) softened butter
  • 300 g 91 + 2/3 cup, packed) light brown soft sugar
  • 300 g (2 + 1/2 cups) self raising flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 180 ml (3/4 cup) buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves


  • 500 g (17.5 oz) full-fat mascarpone
  • 300 g (3 cups) icing (powdered) sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200 ml (1/2 + 1/3 cup) double cream

To Decorate

  • 100 g (3.5oz) milk or dark chocolate
  • freeze dried raspberry pieces
  • white chocolate stars/sprinkles
  • edible glitter
  • assorted chocolates


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Grease three 15cm/6in tins (or two 20cm/8in ones) and line the bases with baking parchment.
  2. Beat together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until no lumps of sugar remain. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and beat until it forms a smooth batter.
  3. Divide the mixture between the tins and bake for 25-30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  4. Beat together the mascarpone, icing sugar and vanilla extract with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth; turn up the speed and gradually add the cream, whisk until it forms stiff peaks but be careful not to over-whip it. Cover and place in the fridge until needed.
  5. To make the chocolate shards, melt the 100g of chocolate and spread it out onto a sheet of baking parchment so that it is a couple of millimeters thick; sprinkle with freeze dried raspberry pieces, sprinkles and glitter then set aside until set (you can pop it in the fridge to speed this up if needed).
  6. Once the chocolate has set, use a sharp knife to cut it into shards and some smaller pieces.
  7. Place one of the cooled cakes on a cake stand or serving platter, spread over a generous dollop of the icing then place another cake layer on top, press it down gently, spread over another dollop of icing then place the remaining cake layer upside-down on top.
  8. Spread a layer of icing round the sides and over the top of the cake, making sure that you fill in any gaps. Arrange the chocolate shards and assorted chocolates on top of the cake and cascading down the side. Keep refrigerated but allow to come to room temperature before serving.

Christmas brown sugar buttermilk spice cake with creamy vanilla mascarpone icing and chocolate decorations - Domestic GothessI am sharing this with Saucy Saturdays hosted by The Flavour Bender, Take Two Tapas, La Petit Chef and Mid-Life Croissant,Β  Fabulous Foodie Fridays, Fiesta Friday hosted by French Gardener Dishes and Spades, Spatulas and Spoons, Foodie FriDIY, Foodie Friends Friday, Friday Favourites and Friday Features

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39 Comments on Buttermilk Spice Cake With Vanilla Mascarpone Icing

  1. Lil Deville
    December 3, 2015 at 11:23 am (3 years ago)

    That is a stunning looking cake!
    (Don’t forget to make a wish when you have your first mince pie πŸ˜‰ )

    • hannahhossack
      December 8, 2015 at 11:52 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you! I didn’t know that you were supposed to make a wish when you had your first mince pie! I’ve missed out on a lot of wishes… πŸ™

  2. Julie is Hostess At Heart
    December 3, 2015 at 2:00 pm (3 years ago)

    Just gorgeous! You are so creative. I love the thick frosting in between the layers and all of the creative chocolate used to decorate.

    • hannahhossack
      December 8, 2015 at 11:51 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks Julie, the frosting is so delicious I could just eat a bowl of it!

  3. bakeplaysmile
    December 4, 2015 at 6:15 am (3 years ago)

    You honestly make the most gorgeous looking cakes! Just stunning. This would blow everyone away!! Thanks so much for linking up with our Fabulous Foodie Fridays party! xx

    • hannahhossack
      December 8, 2015 at 11:50 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks Lucy πŸ™‚ x

  4. Katie
    December 4, 2015 at 8:14 am (3 years ago)

    What a lovely cake. Such a showstopper.

    Katie xoxo

  5. Loretta
    December 4, 2015 at 3:38 pm (3 years ago)

    So dramatically tall and decadent!

  6. Johanne Lamarche
    December 4, 2015 at 4:04 pm (3 years ago)

    Welcome to FF Hannah and thank you for bringing this stunning layered cake! I am swooning and thinking you must have baked it just for me since it is filled with all the flavors I love! Brilliant to lighten up traditionally heavy gingerbread and whipping mascarpone into the icing. The cascading chocolate details are festive, whimsical and a decadent addition! And edible glitter? Enough said! I’ll have a slice,PLEASE!

    • hannahhossack
      December 8, 2015 at 11:47 pm (3 years ago)

      Ha ha! Thank you Johanne πŸ™‚ I can’t say no to cake with edible glitter! πŸ˜›

  7. The Kiwi Fruit
    December 4, 2015 at 7:22 pm (3 years ago)

    Wow this is just absolutely fantastic!! I love the subtle flavours and the amazing decorations.. just WOW!!

    • hannahhossack
      December 8, 2015 at 11:45 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you!

  8. June @ How to Philosophize with Cake
    December 5, 2015 at 3:48 am (3 years ago)

    Wow that is one gorgeous cake! Perfect winter flavor, and I love the way you decorated it with the candy–very elegant πŸ™‚

    • hannahhossack
      December 8, 2015 at 11:44 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks June πŸ™‚ it is a really delicious flavour, my fiance had become a bit bored of cake recently as I bake so often but he devoured this one straight away!

  9. Linda
    December 5, 2015 at 3:11 pm (3 years ago)

    Wonderful presentation on the cake…it looks scrumptious! πŸ™‚

    • hannahhossack
      December 8, 2015 at 11:43 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks Linda πŸ™‚

  10. Liz @ spades, spatulas, and spoons
    December 5, 2015 at 11:07 pm (3 years ago)

    Ok, where is a bakery where I can purchase this cake? It looks professional and is gorgeous! What a wonderful and creative job of decorating. Thank you for bringing it to FF.

    • hannahhossack
      December 8, 2015 at 11:41 pm (3 years ago)

      Aww thanks Liz πŸ™‚ the decorations were very much a case of making it up as I went along!

  11. Christine | Mid-Life Croissant
    December 6, 2015 at 4:21 pm (3 years ago)

    Your stuff is just stunning. I’m doing double duty here. Visiting as a guest at #recipeoftheweek and a co-host of #SaucySaturdays. Thanks so much for joining us. AND what is it about fruitcake that gets folks so upset, anyway? We are so weird. No one wants to talk about guns but we’ll get the boxing gloves out over fruitcake!

    • hannahhossack
      December 8, 2015 at 11:40 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks Christine πŸ™‚ People do get really funny over certain foods don’t they? Humans are so strange…!

  12. tentimestea
    December 9, 2015 at 12:56 am (3 years ago)

    What an adorable and festive presentation! The chocolate shards look like a sparkly mountain range, a perfect place to live for chocolate bears. And that marscapone icing sounds incredible..! Happy holiday baking! πŸ™‚

    • hannahhossack
      December 22, 2015 at 6:09 pm (3 years ago)

      Ha ha! What a lovely description:) The mascarpone icing IS incredible… πŸ˜›

  13. Meghan | Fox and Briar
    December 13, 2015 at 3:39 am (3 years ago)

    All I can think when i look at this cake is “WOW!” It is truly spectacular. And also the flavors sound amazing. I am right there with you on the christmas spirit. Totally looking forward to it, but sort of can’t believe it is almost here! Pinning this cake though, beautiful!

    • hannahhossack
      December 22, 2015 at 5:52 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you! I feel like it should still be October…Christmas has just come around way too fast!

  14. Louise | Cygnet Kitchen
    December 13, 2015 at 8:22 pm (3 years ago)

    I love the idea of this spiced cake Hannah! The mascarpone icing sounds just perfect. x

    • hannahhossack
      December 22, 2015 at 5:51 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks Louise πŸ™‚ the icing is amazing! So creamy and not too sweet, I could just eat a bowl of it… x

  15. FrugalHausfrau
    December 14, 2015 at 4:54 pm (3 years ago)

    Oh my gosh, just look at that waterfall of candy! I love spice cake, too! I am still trying to find the right little tin for your mini chocolate cake, the one with the sugar coated hazelnuts!

    I see you’ve brought this to a few link parties – please bring it to Throwback Thursday! We’d love to have you there! Here’s the link for this week’s party!


    • hannahhossack
      December 22, 2015 at 5:47 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you! It’s a truly delicious cake, just the right level of spice and the icing is amazing! The tin I used for the mini cake had spinach in originally I think, I’ve also seen ones with mango and tomatoes, most big supermarkets should have a few in the right size πŸ™‚

    • hannahhossack
      December 22, 2015 at 5:39 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks Sally πŸ™‚ xx

  16. Eb Gargano
    December 18, 2015 at 1:38 pm (3 years ago)

    Really love the decorations on this cake – so cute – my kids would think this was brilliant!! Eb x

    • hannahhossack
      December 22, 2015 at 5:30 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you! It is really easy to do as well πŸ™‚ x

  17. efwalt
    December 18, 2015 at 8:49 pm (3 years ago)

    Wow how cool is this cake! I’ve been watching your amazing bakes for a while now and am always very impressed with your photos πŸ™‚ I wish I could decorate a cake that well!

    You’re right about traditional fruitcake though – it really is a love hate kinda thing. I could take it or leave it but THIS I would devour! Great job πŸ™‚

    • hannahhossack
      December 22, 2015 at 5:26 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you πŸ™‚ I’ve had a lot of cake decorating practice! I’m still not as neat as I would like though… better make more πŸ˜›

  18. Sarah
    December 21, 2015 at 5:42 pm (3 years ago)

    This is absolutely stunning! Beautiful photos and I really just want to dive in. Love the twinkly lights in the photos. Thanks so much for linking to #FestiveFoodFriday. This is one of my most fave cakes to see this festive season!

    • hannahhossack
      December 22, 2015 at 5:13 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you! It was my first attempt at photographing with lights in the background but I loved how they turned out so I’m going to be doing it a lot more!

  19. Annie Allen
    July 11, 2016 at 1:01 pm (2 years ago)

    So I finally got round to making this cake. I made it as a birthday cake for someone who is not a big cake eater nor has a very sweet tooth (but who does like spices etc). He said it was the best cake he’s ever tried. totally delicious. very moist cake. incredible and very complimentary icing. my decorations were nothing on the above (obviously), but i did use lindt lindors on top, which really went well with the whole thing! very easy recipe to follow. i made a two layer cake with the bigger tins. everything worked perfectly (except it didn’t look very good compared to yours hannah, but it tasted amazing). Annie xxx

    • hannahhossack
      July 15, 2016 at 12:35 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks Annie, that’s really lovely feedback and I’m so glad that you enjoyed the cake! xxx


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