Dark Brown Sugar Buttermilk Spice Loaf

by Beat Bake Eat

The spices in this recipe are fully customizable so go ahead and use as much or as little as you’d like. Just keep in mind that the amount of spices you use determine how light or dark the loaf will be, so it may not look exactly like what you see in these pictures.

Grab a cup of tea or coffee, snuggle up, and enjoy.

The inside is soft and moist and the crust is crisp and slightly chewy. | Food Photography

These are the Spices I used

Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice.

The spices I like to use for this recipe are cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and pumpkin spice.

So what Spices do you use?

It’s simple; just use whatever you have. ??

If you’re here then that obviously means you love spice and you know exactly the type of spices that you like. So, just use the ones that you are familiar with! This way you already know how strong they are and already have a good idea of how much to use.

But it’s important to note that spices make the flavor of other spices stronger. 

For example, I find that when cinnamon and ginger are paired together I can taste the ginger much more than if it were by itself and vice versa. The same goes for nutmeg.

I never really thought about this before, but when you really think about it, it’s true.

Anyway, if you still find yourself feeling like you don’t know how much spice to use, just read the recipe notes (located right below the recipe instructions). There you will see exactly how much of each spice I used and you can use that as a guide.

Another thing you can do is, after you’ve added the eggs, taste the batter.

I know, I know. You’re not supposed to eat raw batter but a little tiny bit won’t kill you and this way you can easily add more spices if you need to! This is what I do all the time for my spice recipes.

A brown sugar loaf made with butter, buttermilk, and spices. | Food Photography Diptych

Spice Ideas

I’m just going to jot all of them here, including the ones I mentioned above just so you have the whole list laid out in front of you.

  • All spice
  • Cloves
  • Cardamom
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Ginger
  • Mace 

Serve this loaf plain with coffee or tea.

To learn more about this recipe and to see more pictures, scroll past the recipe card!

The inside is soft and moist and the crust is crisp and slightly chewy. | Food Photography

Dark Brown Sugar Buttermilk Spice Loaf

Beat Bake Eat
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Cool Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Course Breakfast, Snack
Servings 12
Calories 241 kcal


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 tablespoons spices, total (varying greatly depending on personal preference and type of spice used, read recipe notes)
  • 3 eggs, room temp
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temp
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of coarse sugar (or granulated sugar), for sprinkling


  • Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  • To a large bowl add the butter, dark brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices.
  • Using a whisk or an electric mixer, cream until fluffy, about 3 - 4 minutes.
  • Beat in the eggs - make sure they are fully incorporated.
  • Add the buttermilk and mix slowly until blended - this will prevent it from splashing out (the butter may curdle; this is normal).
  • Add the flour and mix until fully incorporated, but do not overmix.
  • Line a 9x5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
  • Transfer the batter to the pan and smooth the top into an even layer.
  • Sprinkle the top with a pinch of coarse sugar (or granulated sugar).
  • Bake for 68 - 70 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with very few crumbs.
  • Cool in pan for 10 minutes.
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool for another 10 - 15 minutes before slicing.
  • Serve warm or cooled completely.


The spices I used:
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ + 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ + ⅛ tsp pumpkin spice
The flavor was strong but pleasant. In my opinion, some will find these amounts too spicy and some will think it’s just right, so adjust accordingly.
If you prefer a mild flavor, cut these amounts in half.

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Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

No Yeast Dark Brown Sugar Spice Loaf | Baking Recipe

Can I just use Light Brown Sugar instead?

I know someone is gonna ask this so you know what… yeah, go right ahead. But here’s what you should know:

  • The outside of the loaf will be crisper
  • The inside will be less moist
  • The loaf will be lighter in color (obviously)
  • It will not taste as rich
  • Because of less molasses present in light brown sugar it may take less time to bake so check at the 60 minute mark just in case

Use your favorite spices.

So how did my loaf taste with the spices that I chose?

Oh, it was good as hell.

We ate it up. The children ate it, no problem. They even asked for seconds. 

And yes, I fed my children this spicy ass loaf. They’ve been eating spice since they were toddlers so it’s not a problem. Gotta start ’em young; prepare them for the real world. It’s spicy out there!

Afterwards, I wrapped up what was left of it. They ate it for breakfast and were even kind enough to leave me half a slice with drool on it. So there you go. That tells you all you need to know.

Yep, it was great.

I love the texture. I love that the spices really stood out and complemented the brown sugar. It has this really comforting, cozy type of vibe. Oh, and it smells amazing. How could I forget that!

And it’s not too sweet. I know the sugar looks like a lot but I tried it before with less sugar and it wasn’t as good. 

What to make with dark brown sugar | Food Photography

What this Loaf is made of and Why this Recipe Works

This section is boring but I know there are science nerds out there who, like me, love to know the how and why behind recipes. If you’re not interested, just skip this part and take a look at the other recipes at the end.

So this recipe is actually adapted from my almond poppy seed version, which I love! It’s a one bowl recipe, also baked in a 9×5 inch loaf pan, and very similar to this, just almond flavored with some poppy seeds thrown in.

I thought to myself that it would be really good with some spices added for flavor. And sure enough, it was.

We’ve already talked about the spice above. Now let’s talk about the other two star ingredients of this loaf; dark brown sugar and buttermilk. Since they are acidic, they tenderize the crumb to make it softer and finer (the size of the crumb can vary greatly depending on the ingredients and the amount of air incorporated). And due to the brown sugar the crust is a little crisp and chewy but in a very good way.

Another ingredient I’d like to highlight is the butter. It plays a rather big role in the texture and flavor of this loaf so I can’t not mention it. Outside of the brown sugar, it makes this loaf taste so rich, and the texture soft and fluffy. You will see just how much the butter affects the texture when you are done mixing the batter; it is so velvety.

You’ll notice that there are no extracts and that’s because I did not want anything drowning out or competing with the flavor of the dark brown sugar or the spices especially.

There is a moderate amount of baking powder for rise and the temperature is lower than average because any higher and the crust will surely burn.

Baking with spices.

What’s up with all the Room Temperature Ingredients??

So listen, the first time I made this both the eggs and the buttermilk were cold and everything seemed fine. But then when I took the loaf out of the oven I noticed that the butter leaked and this is something that is common when you use cold ingredients and it interferes with the warmer ingredients. 

So the next time I made sure to set my ingredients out well ahead of time and as I was mixing everything nothing seemed any different.

It wasn’t until I was spooning the batter into the pan that I noticed how much more silky and velvety the batter was. It was perfect; just the way it should be.

I know having to wait for the ingredients to come up to room temperature is so annoying and such an inconvenient step but sometimes you just gotta do it. 

Click the link or the picture to be taken to the recipe!

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