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A triple dose of ginger gives this long-lasting cake pleasant, complex spice
Milk Street Bowtie French Spice Cake (Pain d’épices)

French Spice Cake (Pain d’épices)

1 hr 25 min 10 min active

Free

Homemade baked goods are all but mandatory at the holidays, and the classic French spice cake pain d’épices is a fine choice. Sliced, toasted and topped with butter or marmalade, it works as a quick breakfast or afternoon coffee accompaniment. Leave the loaf whole and you have a gift for friends and holiday guests. That’s thanks to the heavy doses of ginger and honey in the batter, which keep the cake fresh for two weeks. For a fruitier version, add 1 cup of golden raisins, chopped dates, figs or dried apricots. We learned that melting the butter in a liquid measuring cup in the microwave, then using the same cup for the honey made it easy to measure out and add the honey; it slid right out. For maximum spice flavor, we used black pepper and three kinds of ginger. If you can’t find crystallized (candied) ginger, just skip it; the cake still will be delicious. And if you can’t find ground mace, substitute ¼ teaspoon each of ground nutmeg and allspice.

248 grams (1¾ cups) all-purpose flour
99 grams (1 cup) almond flour
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground mace
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, melted, plus more for pan
1 cup honey
½ cup whole milk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
Ingredients
  • 248

    grams (1¾ cups) all-purpose flour

  • 99

    grams (1 cup) almond flour

  • teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1

    teaspoon baking soda

  • 1

    teaspoon ground ginger

  • ½

    teaspoon ground mace

  • ½

    teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½

    teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 8

    tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, melted, plus more for pan

  • 1

    cup honey

  • ½

    cup whole milk

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 2

    tablespoons minced crystallized ginger

  • 1

    tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger

  • 2

    teaspoons grated orange zest

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French Spice Cake (Pain d’épices)

Get Ready to Cook

1

9-inch loaf

1 hr 25 min

10 min active

Tip

Don’t use baking spray in place of butter. While it’s fine in many situations, butter helps create the dark crust that sets pain d’épices apart from other quick breads. Use melted butter and a pastry brush to coat it liberally over the inside of the pan.

Ingredients
  • 248

    grams (1¾ cups) all-purpose flour

  • 99

    grams (1 cup) almond flour

  • teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1

    teaspoon baking soda

  • 1

    teaspoon ground ginger

  • ½

    teaspoon ground mace

  • ½

    teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½

    teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 8

    tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, melted, plus more for pan

  • 1

    cup honey

  • ½

    cup whole milk

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 2

    tablespoons minced crystallized ginger

  • 1

    tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger

  • 2

    teaspoons grated orange zest

Step 1 of 2

Prepare the wet and dry ingredients

248
grams (1¾ cups) all-purpose flour
99
grams (1 cup) almond flour
teaspoons ground cinnamon
1
teaspoon baking soda
1
teaspoon ground ginger
½
teaspoon ground mace
½
teaspoon Kosher salt
½
teaspoon ground black pepper
8
tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, melted, plus more for pan
1
cup honey
½
cup whole milk
2
large eggs
2
tablespoons minced crystallized ginger
1
tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
2
teaspoons grated orange zest

Heat the oven to 325ºF with a rack in the upper-middle position. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with butter. In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, the cinnamon, baking soda, ground ginger, mace, salt and pepper.


In a large bowl, whisk together the butter and honey until smooth. Add the milk, eggs, crystallized ginger, fresh ginger and orange zest; whisk until thoroughly combined. 

Step 2 of 2

Make the batter and bake

Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and fold only until no dry flour remains. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, then bake until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted at the center comes out with a few moist crumbs, 65 to 70 minutes.


Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely, about 2 hours.

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Done!

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