early 13c., from Old French espice, from Late Latin species (plural) "spices, goods, wares," from Latin "kind, sort" (see species). Early druggists recognized four "types" of spices: saffron, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg. Figurative sense of "slight touch or trace of something" is recorded from 1530s. Spice-cake first attested 1520s.
"to season with spices," early 14c. (implied in spiced), from spice (n.).