Easy Chocolate Chinese Five Spice Cake Recipe

4.54 from 39 votes
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Easy Chocolate Chinese Five Spice Cake Recipe – bring your Holiday dinner a global flare with The Spice Hunter’s Chinese Five Spice blend and tons of rich chocolate!

chocolate cake with cinammon sticks on it and holly around it and spices around it.

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chocolate cake slice on a plate, Chinese five spice in a jar above it.

This Chinese Five Spice Chocolate Cake Recipe is loaded with rich, delicious holiday flavors like clove, fennel, star anise, and cinnamon – with a bit of zip from pepper!

Five spice is a bit earthy, a bit spicy (thanks to the clove and pepper), and has a ton of holiday flavor that pairs perfectly with a rich, decadent chocolate cake to bring a lot of layers of flavor the whole family will love!

This chocolate cake is a great addition to your holiday table – it is easy, but totally unique and sure to become the star of your dinner!


I get a lot of questions and comments on my site, since I have readers from all levels of comfort and experience in the kitchen.

As a commitment to readers of Sweet C’s, I try to put as much helpful information as possible into my posts.

If you would rather skip over this information, please scroll to the bottom where you will find the easy printable recipe.

chocolate cake with sprinkles and cinnamon sticks on it and Chinese five spice in a jar.


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To save time this holiday season, I recommend preparing as many dishes ahead of time as possible.

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With plenty of preparation, you can save tons of time on holidays by preparing dishes ahead of time – like this Chinese Five Spice Cake that is perfect when chilled ahead of serving – using ingredients with tons of fresh flavors – like The Spice Hunter’s Global Blends – to cut down on prep work without sacrificing flavor!


The Spice Hunter’s Chinese Five Spice Blend consists of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fennel, black pepper.

This cake has just the right amount of spice – it is unique and flavorful – but balanced with chocolate so picky eaters can ease themselves into trying different flavor combinations from across the globe.

While we’re using this Chinese Five Spice blend in a cake – it is traditionally used to flavor duck, pork, chicken, and fish – but is delicious in desserts, too!

The clove, cinnamon, star anise, and fennel pull out a rich chocolate flavor – and the pepper gives a little unexpected zip to this cake, especially paired with notes of coffee and rich buttermilk.

To find The Spice Hunter’s products please click here.

slice on cake on a plate with sprinkles on it.


While we’re not using this application in this cake, one of my favorite ways to incorporate Chinese Five Spice into my cooking is by preparing a simple seasoned salt – it is a great way to bring the Chinese Five Spice flavor to the rest of your Christmas dinner, before you serve the cake!

Simply toast the blend of salt and five spice listed below, and place in a shaker to add to meats, vegetables, french fries, and fish – it’s even great as a popcorn topper for the holidays!

In a small pan, lightly toast a 2:1 mixture of salt to Chinese Five Spice until fragrant.

Do not let seasoned salt burn.

Let fully cool and place in a shaker, top meats, fish, side dishes, or other recipes as desired!

chocolate cake with cinammon sticks on it and holly around it and spices around it.


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chocolate cake with cinammon sticks on it and holly around it and spices around, one slice on a plate

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A Chinese Five Spice cake with chocolate ganache and cinnamon stick garnish.

Easy Chocolate Chinese Five Spice Cake Recipe

Easy Chocolate Chinese Five Spice Cake Recipe – bring your Holiday dinner a global flare with The Spice Hunter’s Chinese Five Spice blend and tons of rich chocolate!
Course cakes
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword chinese cake, chinese chocolate cake, chocolate cake, five spice cake, five spice chocolate cake, spicy chocolate cake
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 389kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon celtic or kosher salt
  • 2 tsp The Spice Hunter Chinese Five Spice Blend
  • cup finely chopped or grated bittersweet chocolate
  • ¼ cup brewed coffee or espresso chai tea, or apple cider vinegar (if you don’t have coffee on hand)
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup sugar

For The Ganache:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, The Spice Hunter Chinese Five Spice Powder and baking soda in a bowl.
  • In a small bowl, mix the coffee (or chai tea/apple cider vinegar) and diced chocolate.
  • Stir vigorously until the chocolate has fully melted – don’t leave any lumps of chocolate.
  • Add vanilla extract and buttermilk to mixture, and blend well.
  • Set mixture aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat the egg and sugar in a bowl until light and airy, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the chocolate mixture and mix well with a large spoon.
  • Add the flour mixture and stir until fully mixed with no lumps.
  • Pour mixture into two greased 9-inch round cake pans (I prefer to use cake spray for the easiest release – but you can also line the pan in parchment paper or use silicone cake pans.)
  • Place cake pans in oven and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Remove cake pans from oven and let cool fully to room temperature.
  • Remove from cake pans when pans are cool to the touch, let sit on cooling rack at least another hour. Chocolate ganache will melt if cake is still warm.
  • Begin to make ganache by gathering a medium sized nonstick pan and large bowl.
  • Heat heavy cream to boiling.
  • Pour over chocolate chips and let sit for 4-5 minutes – do not stir.
  • Whisk the mixture until it thickens and becomes a rich, dark chocolate brown.
  • Pour a small amount of ganache over top of one layer of cake and top with other layer. Let set as ganache cools.
  • Let ganache cool to room temperature, so it is thick and can be spread instead of poured over cake.
  • Generously coat cake in ganache, running a flat spatula along the sides and top to make a smooth cake.
  • Top with chocolate sprinkles and Spice Hunter Cinnamon Sticks, and a very light dusting or five spice powder or cinnamon sugar.
  • Chill for 2 hours, up to two days before serving.
  • Cut into slices and serve.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 389kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 39mg | Sodium: 137mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 33g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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4.54 from 39 votes (39 ratings without comment)

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  1. David says:

    Would be useful to know the cake pan size could you tell me?

    Thank you

    1. Katherine says:

      You will want to use two 9 inch cake pan. I love these ones.