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A triple dose of ginger gives this long-lasting cake pleasant, complex spice

French Spice Cake (Pain d’épices)

1 hr 25 min 10 min active

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French Spice Cake (Pain d’épices)

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.


9-inch loaf


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.

1 hr 25 min

10 min active


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