This honey spice loaf cake is a dense traditional French bread sweetened with honey & an aromatic blend of spices. This effortless loaf can be enjoyed for weeks as is, toasted with butter and with your coffee or tea. It's an eggless recipe that requires simple pantry ingredients and is so flavorful!
The warmth of the spices will seduce your palate. Although, the aromatic smell in the kitchen would have taken all your senses already!
Also called "pain d'épice" in France, this is typically eaten during Christmas time but really you can enjoy it all year round. Every year, I make it along with other seasonal recipes like my sweet Christmas bread, the French mendiants or my classic yule log.
Super simple ingredients and mainly in your panty:
- All purpuse flour
- Granulated sugar - white or brown sugar
- Caraway or fennel seeds
- Baking powder
- Honey, I use the organic one.
- Warm milk
🥄 How To Make It
Putting together this recipe is quite easy and quick. With minimal effort, you'll get this delicious bread with a compact texture. Because of its consistency, you might consider this loaf more of a bread.
Back then, this cake was baked and kept in a dish towel for weeks.
First, in a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. You may use a stand mixer if you wish. It will also work if you don't have one.
Next, add warm milk and honey to the bowl and mix well. As you can see in the picture below, you will get a wet texture.
TIP: do not use cold or room temperature milk, the warmth will activate right away the gluten in the flour and give this bread-like texture to your loaf.
Finally, in a butter oven-safe dish, cook the spice cake for 40 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the middle would come out dry.
Like any recipe, everyone has his own version and take. Some North American versions include apple sauce for moisture but this one is a French-inspired version.
FLOUR: Traditionally, spice cake is a mix of rye flour and wheat flour. I choose to do it with wheat flour as it is a type we always have in our house.
SPICES: You can play around depending on your favourite flavours.
- If you wish you can double the half teaspoon ground cinnamon.
- Nutmeg: I would not play around with that one as in high portion, it can be toxic. Stick to the half teaspoon ground nutmeg.
- Vanilla extract: this is an option to add some.
- Ground cloves: Again, personal preference, I did add any, you can.
MILK: You can use 1%, 2%, or 3,25%, it does not matter.
HONEY: You can play around with some flavoured honey. I prefer to stay neutral though.
In my opinion, a little dust of confectioner sugar is perfect or a little butter if you are enjoying it with a cup of tea or coffee.
If you wish to give it a more seasonal look for winter or Christmas, you can add a cream cheese frosting or a drizzle of caramel icing.
In a container or even wrapped in a tea towel, you can keep it for a good week, do not let it expose to the air otherwise it would dry. It needs to be somewhere somewhat fresh.
Absolutely, if you think you will not eat it all, freeze it for later!
Nope! There are different French spice cake versions and this one is the Pain d'épice de Reims. Whereas, the one from another region, Alsace, does have butter and eggs.
More French Christmas Recipes:
- Sweet Christmas Bread: A brioche-like texture with an orange flower aroma
- French Mendiants: easy chocolate bark
- Yule Log: a classic taken step-by-step
- Chocolate Truffles: A 3-ingredient classic
I highly recommend making my recipes using a scale but for your convenience, I have also converted the recipe using this website.
📖 Recipe: Honey Spice Loaf Cake
- 2 cups flour 250g
- ⅓ (generous) cup sugar 70g
- ½ teaspoon caraway
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 6 tablespoon honey 125g
- ¾ cup warm milk 200ml
- Preheat oven at 400F.
- Prepare and measure all your ingredients.
- In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, caraway, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking powder.
- Add in the warm milk and honey, mix until combine.
- In an oven-proof and greased loaf pan, pour the batter.
- Bake at 400F for 40 minutes or until the tip of your knife comes out dry from the centre of the cake.
- Allow cooling to remove from the mold. Slice and enjoy!