The Best Pain d’épices Cake

עוגת לחם תבליניםPain d’épices, which translates to “spice bread” in English, is a traditional French quick bread that is typically made with honey and a blend of warm spices such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. This aromatic bread has been a beloved treat in France since the Middle Ages, and is now enjoyed throughout the world.

עוגת לחם תבליניםPain d’épices is characterized by its rich, dense texture and complex blend of flavors. The use of honey in the recipe not only gives the bread a subtle sweetness, but also helps to keep it moist and tender. The warm spices add depth and complexity to the flavor profile, while also giving the bread a distinctive aroma that is both comforting and inviting.

עוגת לחם תבליניםThis versatile bread can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Sliced thinly and served with butter and jam, it makes a delicious breakfast or afternoon snack. It can also be used as a base for savory toppings, such as cheese and foie gras. 

עוגת לחם תבליניםThis bread-cake has a long and storied history in French cuisine, and remains a beloved part of the country’s culinary tradition. Whether enjoyed on its own or used as a base for other dishes, this delicious bread is sure to delight the senses and satisfy the soul.

עוגת לחם תבליניםThis time, I met with my friend, pastry chef Matthieu CARLIN, with whom I had previously made the best carrot cake in the world, which became one of the most viewed recipes on the blog. Together, we made a Pain d’épices Cake, a more cake-like variation of the traditional spice bread. It’s made without eggs and is very easy to prepare, with a juicy texture that is hard to describe in words.

עוגת לחם תבליניםCARLIN agreed to share the recipe, and I adapted it for home kitchens (after all, not all of us have access to ingredients from a luxury hotel). We prepared the cake in our small kitchenette. Once you try this spiced bread cake, you won’t forget where you first tasted it – it’s sure to become a star in your home! 🙂

עוגת לחם תבליניםThe Best Pain d’épices Cake
19cm-20cm loaf pan, 7cm high

210g water
6g star anise
6g yellow lemon zest
6g green lemon zest
6g orange zest
210g honey
100g light brown sugar
pinch of salt

Dry Ingredients mixture:
210g flour
3g ground cinnamon
2g of spices mixture, such as cloves, anise, nutmeg, coriander (finely ground) 
12g baking soda powder

135g butter, melted

Orange jam for brushing (optional)
Star Anise
Cinnamon sticks
Candied orange peels

1. Syrup: In a small pot, boil all the syrup ingredients together. Remove from heat and cover with plastic wrap, and leave it covered for about half an hour.
2. Dry ingredients mixture: In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients (except for the butter).
3. Pour the syrup through a sieve over the dry ingredients mixture and mix to obtain a uniform batter. Add the melted butter and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for 5 hours.
4. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius and line the loaf pan with parchment paper.
5. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes until the cake is set. Then, remove it from the oven and let it cool.
6. Brush the cake with orange jam (optional) and decorate it with star anise, cinnamon sticks, and candied orange peels.
*The cake can be kept for ten days in an airtight container outside of the refrigerator.



  • 28 February 2023

    Thanks. I’ll give this a go. (By the way, the recipe says ‘baking soda powder’ rather than just baking powder.)

  • 28 February 2023

    The pictures and the cake look wonderful and as someone who already knows your recipes, I’m sure it’s very tasty 😋
    we love spice cookies and I’ve never baked a spice cake – maybe it’s time?!
    Thank you very much Sharon, we follow you and love the work you do. We hope than next spring we’ll come to Paris for a tour it’s our DREAM

  • 28 February 2023

    The recipe says yellow and green lemon zest. Is this zest from a green unripened lemon? Sounds delicious, and a bonus it keeps so well.

      • 26 September 2023
        Matt W

        I gather you mean citron vert? Literal translation is green lemon, but I assume it would be a lime?

  • 01 March 2023
    Chenna Vivek

    Can we replace honey with maple syrup

  • 01 March 2023
    Donna Galloway

    Hi why are there no eggs in the mixture?

  • 07 March 2023

    The recipe calls for “baking soda powder”. Should I use baking soda? Or baking powder? Thanks! Looks grand!

  • 25 May 2023

    The taste of my chidhood growing up in Belgium, I remember eating it with a little butter. I can’t wait to try the recipe, especially the syrup you made.

  • 18 September 2023

    Do you recommend any particular flour? Some recipes include a mix of rye and wheat flour…

  • 23 September 2023

    Would love to make this but I have no idea where I would find the green lemon. Would there be a suitable substitute?


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