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Recipe for French gingerbread Pain d’Epices

Slice of gingerbread on a pink and white plate

Whenever I visit the small town of Buxy in France’s Côte Chalonnaise, you will likely find me at the tiny market held in the centre ville on Thursday mornings. Though there aren’t many stalls, every-thing on offer is absolutely delicious. I especially look forward to stopping by the stand selling honey and French gingerbread, or pain d’épices. The dense, fragrant loaves come in different flavours such as blueberry or chocolate chip. But I prefer mine with a touch of candied orange, and a good pat of butter. This is my recipe for a really moist pain d’épices. Eat it for breakfast with a bowl of black coffee or as an afternoon snack with a cup of tea…..

Ingredients for one gingerbread loaf

250g spelt or rye flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
2 ½ tsps pain d’épices spices (French gingerbread spices)
75g light brown sugar
70g candied orange peel, chopped
120ml honey
80ml water
2 eggs


Preheat oven to 180°C and line a 28cm rectangular baking pan with parchment paper.

Put the flour, baking powder and baking soda into a large bowl. Add in spices and the brown sugar and mix well. Stir in the candied orange.

Whisk the honey, water and eggs in a small bowl.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Pour in the wet ingredients and fold until you have a smooth batter.

Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake for 40-45 minutes.

Check the cake after about 20 minutes and cover with foil if the top is getting too dark.

Allow the cake to cool on a rack before serving.

Paola Westbeek is a food, wine and travel journalist.  For more of her recipes,  visit ladoucevie.eu, thefrenchlife.org and her YouTube channel, LaDouceVieFood

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