1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground clove
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon finely ground espresso or instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole milk
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 shot espresso
Make the cake: Prepare a 9-inch round cake pan by buttering the inside, lightly dusting with flour, and lining the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
Place a sifter into a large bowl. Then, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, clove, nutmeg, salt, and cardamom. After the dry ingredients have been sifted, carefully pour them onto a large piece of parchment paper. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter on medium speed until pale and fluffy in texture, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides, as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until combined, then add the finely ground espresso and vanilla. Follow by adding in half of the dry ingredients. Mix on medium until incorporated, scraping down the sides as needed. Next, mix in half of the milk. Then mix in the remaining half of dry ingredients and finish by incorporating the remaining half of the milk. Mix until cohesive.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 20 to 28 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 20 to 30 minutes.
While the cake cools, make the buttercream: Sift the confectioners’ sugar to remove any lumps. In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment or a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat together the butter, maple syrup, salt, and 1 cup of the confectioners’ sugar on medium until a firm pale paste is formed. Then, add in the remaining 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar and beat to combine. Lastly, pour in the whipping cream and shot of espresso and, as this just begins to incorporate, increase the mixer speed to high and whip for 3 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to smooth and fold the buttercream until a velvety texture is reached.
Once the cake is room temperature to the touch, place the cooling rack atop the exposed part of the cake pan. Then, lightly press your palm atop the cake and carefully flip the cake out. The cake should slide out easily. Frost your cake and enjoy!
Elise Smith is a baker, recipe developer, and food writer based in Columbia, Maryland. She’s passionate about crafting inspired food that fosters connection between people and encourages others to take a more sustainable approach in the kitchen.