Nutmeg Cake

This nutmeg cake is essentially spice cake soaked through and through with rum syrup. It’s as simple to make as a quick bread and it makes a lovely (and tipsy) gift when wrapped in parchment paper and tied with a bow.

Slices of glazed nutmeg pound cake on a white cutting board

No ordinary spice cake or quick bread, this deceptively simple nutmeg loaf has a spectacular depth of flavor thanks to it being drenched in a boozy rum-spiked simple syrup. What a lovely gift this quick cake makes when wrapped in parchment, tied with a bow, and packaged with a handwritten recipe. You may wish to make a couple loaves—one to gift, one to keep. You know, just to stave off gifters’ remorse.–Renee Schettler

Nutmeg Cake

  • Quick Glance
  • (6)
  • 15 M
  • 1 H
  • Serves 12 | Makes 1 loaf
5/5 - 6 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Warm Bread and Honey Cake cookbook

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Special Equipment: 1 pound loaf pan


  • For the rum syrup (optional)


Make the nutmeg cake

Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Butter a loaf pan, line the base of the pan with parchment paper cut to fit, and dust the pan and parchment with flour. Tap out any excess.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.

Beat the butter with a mixer or by hand until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.

Whisk the eggs loosely in a small bowl and then add the vanilla extract. Add the egg to the butter mixture in two batches, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.

Use a whisk as you would a spoon to fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk.

Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Make the rum syrup

In a small bowl combine the sugar syrup and rum.

Finish the cake

Remove the pan from the oven and use a skewer to pierce the cake all the way down to the bottom in several places. Slowly pour the rum syrup over the surface of the cake. Let the cake cool for about 5 minutes in the pan and then gently transfer it, right side up, to a wire rack to cool completely. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and let it rest overnight before slicing since the flavor of the cake matures with time. Originally published December 10, 2010.

Print RecipeBuy the Warm Bread and Honey Cake cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

I made this nutmeg cake without the rum syrup, as it was a last-minute “I-have-to-take-something-home-baked-into-work” decision. I can imagine that the syrup would’ve added an extra dimension to the already lovely flavor in this moist cake. It was a great hit—especially with my colleagues who don’t like overly sweet baked goods. The amount of nutmeg is enough to give a flavor that’s identifiable and warming, but not overpowering. I’ll definitely make it again.

This nutmeg cake with rum syrup is perfect for dessert, but it’s also lovely for brunch and with afternoon coffee or tea. It’s a simple recipe, letting the mixer do most of the work. What’s especially nice about this cake is that it’s not overly sweet, alcoholic, or fussy. It’s unassuming but still special.

Make sure that the tester comes out perfectly clean, since the rum syrup will cause a slightly underdone center to become a little gummy. It tastes fine, but doesn’t look very pretty. And use an actual nutmeg or extremely fresh grated nutmeg, since it’s the main flavor.


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  1. Has anyone tried to freeze this cake? If I want to freeze the cake, do I need to add the syrup only after it’s defrosted, or can I follow the recipe as is and freeze. Thanks in advance for any tips.

    1. Hi there ‘bit late the party’, I asked Susan, one of our senior testers, her thoughts on your question. She suggested making the cake as directed, then freezing it. Let us know if you try it- curious minds want to know..

  2. I am saving this recipe for just after the holidays. I have a need for something sweet everyday. This will be perfect for the transition of consuming what seems like “big rock candy mountain” at all of the celebrations to a more focused and well chosen treat.

    1. Penny, I love that you’re already looking ahead to your sweet fix for after the holidays. And in terms of a well-chosen treat, you couldn’t have chosen any better. Our recipe testers and readers have RAVED about this recipe. We look forward to hearing what you think…

  3. Luscious. Complex. The rum drizzle really makes the nutmeg bloom. I use a bundt cake pan to make this cake which renders it a tad dry but that is okay–great excuse for added rum syrup or a curl of rich vanilla ice cream.

  4. I got the baking bug in the middle of the night last night. I must admit I am in love with this cake. However, I suggest this, if you have a largish family (we are five), you should definitely make more than one, as this cake is gone in one sitting!

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