Bourbon Spice Layer Cake (gluten-free)


Like any proper housewife, I spend a lot of my time looking forward to my next drink.  Between doing the laundry and making sweets, my mind often wanders to the “Is it five yet? Oh, it’s only noon? Same difference” zone and I have to reign myself back in. Luckily, I’ve found a way to get the whiskey in while not looking like I have too much of a problem.

Introducing, Bourbon Spice Layer Cake.  This cake really puts the “bourbon” in “Honey, I swear I’m not drunk, look… I made a cake!”


Ok, ok, so I’m actually not *that* much of a drinker and this cake won’t get you drunk at all (well I guess it depends how much you eat), but if you’re a bourbon lover and have any inkling of excitement over the idea of it finally being fall, this cake is for you.  It’s got layer upon layer of crumbly yet seductively moist spice cake, a bourbon-clove glaze for added moistness (it’s only my first post and I’ve used moist twice in one sentence send help) and a simple fluffy buttercream loaded with bourbon flavor.


 However, for those of you who aren’t crazy about bourbon, shame on you, this cake can be made easily without the sweet stuff.  The bourbon isn’t in the actual cake batter at all, and I’ll include instructions below on how to make this recipe totally whiskey-free *sigh*.


Spice Cake Batter

*if you prefer to not make this cake gluten-free, simply substitute [2.25 cups cake flour + 2 T corn starch] for the rice flour, potato starch and xantham gum.

  • 1.5 cups white rice flour                     
  • 2/3 cups potato starch                       
  • 1.5 t xantham gum                              
  • 1 T baking powder                             
  • .5 t salt                                                
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar                  
  • 1 cup buttermilk                                 
  • 1 cup melted butter, cooled
  • 4 lg eggs
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 2 T cinnamon
  • 2 T nutmeg
  • 1 T allspice
  • 1 T grated ginger
  • 2 T orange zest


Bourbon Clove Glaze

  • 1/3 cup bourbon* (I used Buffalo Trace cause it’s a great quality and cheapish)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water

* If you aren’t using alcohol, replace the bourbon with a tablespoon of vanilla and use ½ cup of water instead of the 1/3 cup listed

Bourbon Buttercream

  • 1/3 cup bourbon*
  • ½ stick butter, softened and at room temperature
  • 1lb confectioner’s sugar, sifted to remove lumps

*if you aren't using alcohol, substitute heavy cream for the bourbon + a teaspoon of vanilla




  1.  Preheat your oven to 350º and grease up your pans. 
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine all of the glaze ingredients, stirring until you can no longer see individual grains of sugar.  Bring to a boil and lower the heat to low.  Allow to simmer for 5 minutes and set aside to cool. 
  3.  In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (a handheld mixer will do), beat the brown sugar and eggs on medium speed until fluffy, usually about two minutes. 
  4. Sift all dry ingredients (rice four, potato starch, xantham gum, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice) into a bowl and add the orange zest and ginger. 
  5.  Add half of the dry mix into the egg mixture and beat to combine, about 30 seconds on medium speed.  Add buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla to this mix and beat again to combine. 
  6. Add rest of dry mix and finish it off with another 30 second beating (thank goodness cake isn’t sentient or I would feel awful about all of this). 
  7. Fill your cake pans and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out mostly crumb-free. 

Bourbon Buttercream

  1. In a stand or hand-held mixer, beat the butter on medium speed for about one minute, until it’s gotten slightly fluffy.  Add one cup of the confectioner’s sugar and beat until combined, scraping the bowl as necessary.  Add a tablespoon of bourbon and beat again.  Repeat this process until you have used all of the sugar and bourbon.  
  2. The icing should be fluffy and sturdy. Beat on medium-high heat for two minutes.  
  3.  Once your cakes are ready, and have cooled to the touch, cut them horizontally to create an additional layer from each original cake.  If this sound like more work then you’re willing to commit to after your third old fashioned, that’s fine, you can skip this step and it just means you’ll have fewer layers in the cake. 
  4. Brush our spoon the syrup onto each layer and fill with buttercream.
  5. Ice the cake to your liking, drink whatever left over bourbon you have laying around.  

I would say this is our bar keeper's look of approval, but it's kind of just her look for everything.

I would say this is our bar keeper's look of approval, but it's kind of just her look for everything.