Bourbon Spice Toffee Layer Cake

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This Bourbon Spice Toffee Layer Cake is one of my favorites! I’ve made it several times and I think I love it more and more every time! The combination of chocolate, toffee, maple, cinnamon and the spice from the bourbon are a party for your taste buds!

For another fun celebration cake, give my Strawberry Champagne Layer Cake a whirl!

Best Bourbon Spice Toffee Layer Cake

Bourbon Spice Toffee Layer Cake

This delicious cake recipe is the perfect way to celebrate today – the one year anniversary of the release of my cookbook – Simply Beautiful Homemade Cakes!

So this is a big week for us around here. The first thing going on is that we figured we didn’t have enough to do with planning for twins and decided to buy a house and move. We’ve totally lost our minds! You may remember that we’ve been looking at homes for almost a year now, but we put moving on hold when we found out we were having twins.

Well, a couple weeks ago, a real estate agent we’d been working with let us know that the model home in a neighborhood we almost bought in last year was going on the market that night. We knew it’d go fast, so we went to look at it again the next day and see if we would really want to make the move. The fact that it’s so move-in ready is a big plus for us right now.

They got three offers over the next couple of days, including ours. I was convinced there wasn’t a chance we’d get it. We loved the house, but with so much going on we weren’t really willing to be terribly aggressive. But to my surprise, we got the house! And now it’s a whirlwind trying to pack and get ready to move and sell our current house. Especially considering I’m limited in what I can do, being so pregnant. We’ve spend the last couple of weeks packing and getting things ready and the house will be on the market by the end of the week. Let’s hope it sells fast! I’m ready to move on and get ready for these babies!

slice of Bourbon Spice Toffee Layer CakeFavorite Spice Toffee Layer Cake recipe

The other thing going on this week, which is really more of a celebration than anything, is that today is officially the one year anniversary of the release of my cookbook, Simply Beautiful Homemade Cakes! It’s hard to believe it’s already been a whole year!

I have wanted to share this cake with you for forever! It’s seriously one of my faves from the book. It might seem like there’s a lot going on, but it all comes together in the most amazing cake. Like seriously, so good.

Why I Love This Layer Cake Recipe

The chocolate cake isn’t as intense of a chocolate, which is perfect with everything else going on. It’s also a little denser of a cake than mine usually are, but I really enjoy it in this cake. It’s got the flavor of the bourbon baked right in there too. And if you’re thinking you may not be into this cake because you don’t drink bourbon, think again. I totally do not drink bourbon – I leave that to the hubs – but I do steal it and put it in baked goods. A good spiced bourbon adds so much flavor! You don’t so much taste the alcohol as you do that spiced flavor. Love it!

The frosting is a maple cinnamon frosting and it alone is good enough to eat with a spoon. Then there’s the toffee sauce made with brown sugar and a touch more bourbon. Drizzle that stuff on everything! And the toffee bits? Yes, please! Layer them all together and it’s seriously heaven in a cake.

All the flavors come together so magically! If you can’t tell, I’m in love with this cake. And it’s just one of many from my cookbook that I love. If you haven’t gotten the cookbook before now – or didn’t even know I had one – there’s no time like the present! Plus, the holidays are coming up, so it’d make a great gift. You could even bake someone this cake and give them the book with it. Then you get to enjoy the book and cake too. Win-win. 🙂

Bourbon Spice Toffee Layer Cake recipeslice of delicious spice cake
[adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”v2Hvlt51″ upload-date=”Fri Nov 03 2017 15:30:27 GMT+0000 (UTC)” name=”Bourbon Spice Toffee Layer Cake” description=”This Bourbon Spice Toffee Layer Cake is a wonderful combination of chocolate, bourbon, maple and cinnamon! Perfect for fall!”]
Read transcript

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Image of a Slice of Bourbon Spice Toffee Layer Cake

Bourbon Spice Toffee Layer Cake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 Slices
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


This Bourbon Spice Toffee Layer Cake is one of my favorites! I’ve made it several times and I think I love it more and more every time! The combination of chocolate, toffee, maple, cinnamon and the spice from the bourbon are a party for your taste buds!



  • 2 cups (260g) all purpose flour
  • 2 cups (414g) sugar
  • 3/4 cup (85g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup (224g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/2 cup (115g) sour cream
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) milk
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) bourbon
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) hot water
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  • 1 1/4 cup (280g) salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups (237g) shortening
  • 10 cups (1150g) powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp maple extract
  • 56 tbsp (75-90ml) water or milk


  • 10 tbsp (140g) salted butter
  • 3/4 cup (108g) unpacked light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy whipping cream, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) bourbon
  • 1 tbsp flour, sifted
  • 2 cups toffee bits, divided


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Line the bottom of three 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper and grease the sides.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
3. Combine wet ingredients in another medium sized bowl, then add to the dry ingredients and beat on medium-low speed until well combined. The batter is thin, so be careful of splashing.
4. Divide batter evenly between the cake pans.
5. Bake for 23-26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few crumbs.
6. Remove cakes from the oven and allow to cool for 3-4 minutes, then remove from pans to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
7. To make the frosting, beat the butter and shortening until smooth.
8. Slowly add about half of the powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
9. Add cinnamon, maple extract and 3 tablespoons of water or milk and beat until smooth.
10. Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
11. Add additional water or milk a tablespoon at a time as needed to get the right frosting consistency.
12. To make the toffee sauce, melt the butter and sugar over medium heat in a large saucepan.
13. Slowly bring mixture to a boil allowing the sugar to dissolve, about 10-15 minutes.
14. Once it begins to boil, slowly add the heavy whipping cream and bourbon, whisking constantly. The mixture will be bubbly.
15. Whisk for 2-3 minutes, allowing it to come back to a boil. Once boiling, stop whisking and let it boil for 1 minute.
16. Remove from heat and whisk until smooth. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool a bit.
17. To put the cake together, use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the top of the cakes.
18. Place the first layer of cake on your serving plate or a cardboard cake circle. Spread 5-6 tbsp of toffee sauce evenly onto the cake layer. It should soak into the cake a bit.
19. Pipe 1 cup of frosting into an even layer on top of the toffee sauce, starting along the outside edge and spiraling inward. With the toffee sauce on top of the cake, spreading will be tough, so piping works best.
20. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of toffee bits evenly over the frosting. Repeat process with the second layer of cake, toffee sauce, frosting and toffee bits, then add the final layer of cake on top.
21. Frost the outside of the cake with the remaining frosting, then press toffee bits into the sides of the bottom of the cake.
22. Pipe swirls of frosting around the top edge of the cake, then drizzle toffee sauce sauce the sides and fill in the center with more toffee sauce. Sprinkle with some additional toffee bits.
23. Refrigerate cake until ready to serve. Cake is best served at room temperature and is best for 2-3 days when well covered.


  • Serving Size: 1 Slice
  • Calories: 1235
  • Sugar: 123.6 g
  • Sodium: 439.4 mg
  • Fat: 70.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 144.4 g
  • Protein: 6.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 154.9 mg

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Bourbon Spice Toffee Layer Cake - bourbon, maple, toffee, cinnamon and chocolate all come together in this amazing cake!

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  1. Stephanie Harris

    My daughter loves bourbon in things but is not a fan of chocolate. Can I make this cake without the cocoa powder and if so, do I need to add anything additonal?
    Thanks so much! I’ve made several of your recipes and they are always so delicious and turn out perfect everytime!

    1. Lindsay

      It can be tough to just swap out the cocoa powder and say for sure that the cake will work well. It’s not always a one to one swap. You could certainly give it a try though. You could also use my vanilla cake and swap out some of the milk for bourbon. You don’t want to swap out too much because you’re going to lose some fat from the milk that tenderizes the cake, but you can substitute some.

  2. Monica Swift-Hjerrild

    So, this cake has become the main staple of birthdays and Thanksgiving (the neighbors put their request in months ahead!!!) for the last several years. I wrote a review, but felt like I had to come back and just say again what a fantastic cake this is. Super easy to follow and so yummy. I’ve doubled the recipe for three 9 inch pans and it’s perfect every time. Thanks again, Lindsay.

    1. Lindsay

      It’s hard for me to say from a distance if they turned out normal or not. But I will say that the layers of this cake are on the more dense side.

  3. Jennifer Nemz

    Everyone at work absolutely LOVED and raved about this cake. Wish I could send you a picture. I made pecan brittle for the top and crushed between layers

  4. Elizabeth Evans

    This is probably the 6th cake I’ve made from your amazing website. They have all been unbelievably delicious and beautiful. I’ve now got a reputation for making incredible cakes and I feel a pang of guilt knowing that they are all your recipes! So, of course, I tell everyone it’s you and send them links to your site. I’ve got to be honest. LOL. So, I made this for my son’s 18th birthday and… well… WOW. This was SO incredibly good. I’m not sure words can describe it. Each item- the cake, the toffee sauce, the frosting were, by themselves, divine. There was a thought that maybe it was going to be too sweet when they all came together, but, as you said, the cake adds the perfect balance. Thank you in providing a very special recipe for a special birthday!

  5. Dani

    Hello.. excited to see how this comes out!! Smells wonderful. My question is why isn’t there any baking soda.. just curious if this will make the cake denser and not rise as much.. thanks a bunch!

    1. Lindsay

      It’s been quite a while since I made this recipe, so I can’t say I remember my exact thinking. But you are correct that it is a more dense chocolate cake. Super tender, but not as on the fluffy side.

  6. Andie

    I made this cake for my husband’s birthday and everyone loved it! He loved the cake itself and the bourbon (we’re from Kentucky so you know we love our bourbon). I even used the cake to inspire my decoration! Great recipe, and maybe my FAVORITE buttercream (anything maple is always a favorite). I would LOVE to send you a pic of the cake ☺️Thanks for the great recipe! 

  7. Mineeta Patel

    Hi quick question can you do a replacement for the shortening with any other ingredients?

    Making the cake for my birthday, and looking forward to sharing it with the family.

  8. Alyssa

    Do you think a Swiss meringue buttercream frosting would work just as well for this cake? What measurements would you recommend for it?

    1. Lindsay

      I really don’t make SMB, so it’s hard for me to say. I will tell you that this cake is fairly dense with a lot of flavor, so if you think it would compliment it, give it a try!

  9. Kortney

    I recently bought your cookbook and have just been drooling over all the recipes and pictures! I want to make them all!! I want to make this one for my family but I’m afraid they’ll be adverse to the fact that there’s actual bourbon in it (even if the alcohol gets cooked out). I’m wondering if it’s possible to substitute it for bourbon extract? Would it give it the same flavor? And if you think so, what would be the conversion amount for this recipe? Thanks in advance! 

    1. Lindsay

      Thanks Kortney! Glad to hear you’re enjoying the book! I haven’t ever tried Bourbon extract, so I’m not really sure about the flavor. You could swap out the bourbon in the cake for additional water or milk and then in the sauce, use additional heavy whipping cream. I’d think maybe 2 tsp of the extract in the cake and about 1/2 tsp in the sauce should be good. Just a guess though.

  10. Monica Swift-Hjerrild

    Again, another hit for our family. I made this for my son’s 20th birthday and everyone said that it was the best cake they had ever eaten…except for my son’s girlfriend, who doesn’t like it, but she loved your Cinnamon Swirl Cupcakes that I made especially for her. I did add one tablespoon of espresso powder and agree, probably not the best for cupcakes due to the denseness. Thanks again, Lindsay!!!

    1. Monica Swift-Hjerrild

      Ugh… I just read my review… my son’s girlfriend doesn’t like chocolate. She didn’t try the cake because of that reason, hence the Cinnamon Swirl Cupcakes. Gotta read my stuff better before posting!!!

  11. Jamie

    I made this! WOW! I received so many compliments. Thanks. I would not make this cake into cupcakes (as it is dense), but would love to see that recipe ????. I had no problems with the sauce. Low and slow and it came out perfect. Even put the extra on Ice cream ????

  12. Bruce

    When I make this, I’ll use an Italian meringue buttercream instead of this American buttercream (especially because of the shortening you use in it). Everything else sounds fantastic, though. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Lindsay

      Certainly you can use an Italian meringue buttercream. However, it’s also very easy to swap out the shortening for additional butter.

    2. Kristen

      I had the same thought about the buttercream since I’m not a fan of American buttercream.I may do a swiss meringue buttercream, use less sugar, and add the maple syrup in at the end. I’ve done this before for a French toast maple bacon cupcake and it turned out amazing.

  13. Sadie

    I haven’t made the cake yet, but I did make the toffee sauce to pair with a pumpkin layer cake. The sauce is good, but it lacks the rich, deep flavor of a true caramel. It comes together quickly and with little effort. It only took about 2 minutes for the butter/sugar mixture to come to a boil, and once the heavy cream was added, the mixture came back to a boil in less than 2 minutes. My sauce is the same color as the one pictured, but it seems to be a thinner consistency.

    1. Lindsay

      Toffee sauce isn’t going to have the same deep flavor as caramel. They are different. If you’d like to make a true caramel sauce, I’d suggest this recipe. One of my favorites. If you’d like to thicken your sauce, you can always add a little powdered sugar. Just keep in mind that the sauce will thicken as it cools.

      1. Sadie

        Yes, it’s true. A toffee sauce like yours, which is made from brown sugar, butter and cream, isn’t going to have the same deep, rich flavor of a true caramel. I’ve made caramel many times, but was intrigued by the lengthy 10 – 15 minute cook time of your toffee sauce so went with it this time to compare. Most brown sugar/butter toffee sauces have a much shorter cook time, and I found that yours came to a boil much quicker than the recipe indicates. The tip about adding powdered sugar as a thickener is a good one. The sauce pictured on the top layer of your beautiful cake has a matte finish, which is common to toffee glazes and sauces where powdered sugar has been added.

  14. Jennie Gemignani

    We’ve had the cookbook since it came out and love it. I can’t believe how much has happened for you all in that year. ????

    We’ve got a family birthday coming and the kids love choosing their cake from your cookbook.

    Have fun settling into the new house!!

    1. Lindsay

      Hey Jennie! I know – I can’t believe it’s only been a year either! So much change!

      I hope they love the birthday cake and that all is well with you guys!

  15. Isadora Guidoni

    Wow, this toffee cake looks so delicious! I’m not that good with baking cakes, but I’ll just have to try this. Thanks for sharing the video and the recipe!

  16. Julie

    Wow! This looks fantastic! One question – I would REALLY like to make this cake but I’ll allergic to chocolate. I know, I know – the HORRORS!!! Anyhoo, could I substitute the cocoa powder with a white chocolate powder? If not, do you know of an alternative I could add? I know that it will change the consistency of the recipe if I leave it out so I would definitely need to replace it with something. Thanks!

    1. Lindsay

      I wouldn’t suggest swapping out the cocoa – it normally changes the cake quite a bit. I’d try using a vanilla cake like this one and adding some bourbon to it. If you use that one, you could replace the water and some of the milk with the bourbon. I hope that helps!

    1. Kat

      Where do I get toffee bits? Can I make toffee bits? My friends at the club just swooned over the Best Chocolate Cake Ever but one guy whispered to his wife “maybe she can make a spice cake next” so this looks like the perfect recipe. So glad I found you!

About Lindsay

I'm a wife and a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29