Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two or three cake pans (depending on how many layers you'd like) with parchment paper. To measure the parchment paper correctly, place the cake pans on top of the parchment, and using a pencil trace around the cake pan. This will give you a guide to cut out a circle to cover the bottom of the pan edge to edge with parchment - this cake is sticky from the molasses so you want to make sure the whole bottom is covered with parchment. Spray on top of parchment generously with cooking spray - making sure to get the sides and bottom fully covered.
Combine cake mix, spices, and sugar together in a large bowl.
Add oil and water, mix well with large spoon.
Then incorporate eggs, one at a time, mixing well.
Slowly add molasses while mixing.
Once ingredients are fully incorporated, pour batter evenly into pans. I used 3 nine inch cake pans, but you could also use 2. Just make sure it's evenly divided.
Bake at 350 for about 25-27 minutes. If you make only two layers, cakes will take longer so keep an eye on them. Cakes are done when they bounce back in center to slight touch (or when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean).
Cool in pans for 30 minutes before turning out. Chill before frosting.
For best frosting results, turn out cakes onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and set in freezer until cold. Remove when ready to frost.
Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, beat cream cheese on high speed until soft and whipped. Then add vanilla frosting and beat until well mixed.
Once incorporated and smooth, then add in cinnamon and vanilla extract. Mix to desired consistency.
Frost cake once cake has cooled, or store frosting in the fridge until ready to frost. If you store it in the fridge, bring it back to room temp before frosting so it softens up a little.
To make sugared cranberries, you don't need to make any syrups or anything complicated! This method is easy and I've used it for years - simply get out a small cookie sheet and cover it with a layer of white sugar.
Place 1 c. of fresh cranberries in a strainer in the sink. Run cold water over the cranberries until they are all wet.
Strain off water and add cranberries to cookie sheet with sugar. Toss to coat. Let dry for 10-15 minutes until sugar hardens.
Repeat the same process with fresh greenery. Get it wet, shake it off, then toss in white sugar. Let dry and keep covering with more sugar until it is covered. Wait for it to harden. Use to decorate your cake.