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Cynthia’s Pain d’Epices

December 27, 2016 | 9 comments

Is it just me or are recipes with names attached 200% more interesting than those without?

Maybe it’s both. Maybe it’s because names usually mean stories and stories are always interesting. My recipes usually don’t have stories attached -maybe it’s time for a recipe with a story.

I wish this recipe came with a very long and winding story.

In a recent trip to France, I met the acquaintances of quite of few French people, one of which I got to know exceptionally well. In case you were wondering, this was not Cynthia. The student I was hosted by was kind, wonderfully generous, and the family was exceptionally fun and delightful. Dinners consisted of some hilarious “mystery” quiche, mousse that was un peu glacé (a bit frozen), fried plantains, and packaged cordon bleu. In other words, they had an uncanny resemblance to my family.





But then I heard friend’s host fit into the typical French stereotype of cooking and baking. I naturally had to ask for their recipe for pain d’epice, a “bread” that my French teacher mentioned a while back.

I was not disappointed.



This is basically a mix between a cake and a bread, too sweet for a bread, mixed wayyy too long for a delicate cake. The crumb is not delicate, but slightly chewy with a hearty mix of spices. This pain d’epice is perfect for a new year’s snack and so easy too! You just have to mix it for a while (i.e. 20 minutes 😛 ).


-For the pain d’epice 4 tbsp cinnamon, 2 stars of anise, 1/2 tsp clove, 2 tbsp coriander, 1 tbsp ground ginger, and a pinch of brown sugar. Adapted from here.


Cynthia’s Pain d’Epices


  • 225 g 2/3 c honey
  • 125 g 1/2 c milk
  • 60 g 1/4 c sugar
  • 5 g 1 tsp butter
  • 1 egg
  • 275 g 1 1/4 c flour
  • 1 tsp spices see notes
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda


  1. Combine honey, milk, sugar, and butter into a bowl. Microwave for ~1.5 minutes, or until the butter is melted.
  2. Pour into a large mixing bowl (preferably one of a stand mixer) and add in the rest of the ingredients. Whisk at high for 20 minutes (not a typo). The mixture will be slightly bubbly and thick.
  3. Bake at 325 C in a 8 in by 4 in loaf pan until crackly and deeply browned.


read or add your own

  1. Karlie on

    December 29, 2016 at 11:46 am says

    I’ve never tried pain d’epices, but it looks incredible and full of honey flavor!

  2. Angie@Angie's Recipes on

    December 29, 2016 at 12:03 pm says

    It looks so moist and light in texture at the same time. Wonderful!

  3. Megan @Meg is Well on

    December 29, 2016 at 10:27 pm says

    The colors and texture in this cake/bread look amazing! I want a slice so bad!

  4. David @ Spiced on

    January 2, 2017 at 3:07 pm says

    Wow, what a crazy recipe! Mixing it for 20 minutes? Now I have to try that one! Plus all of those spices are right up my alley. 🙂 Love this recipe, Anne…can’t wait to eat a slice of that bread now!

  5. karrie @ Tasty Ever After on

    January 4, 2017 at 8:14 pm says

    Love this recipe. Don’t know if I’ve ever mixed anything for a full 20 minutes but if that’s what it takes to make this bread, then I’ll be a-mixin’ alot!! hahaha! Beautiful photos too 🙂

  6. lucie on

    January 7, 2017 at 1:55 am says

    This looks like something I need just about now. The textures are beautiful!

  7. Beeta @ Mon Petit Four on

    January 10, 2017 at 12:44 pm says

    Looks beautiful, Anne! Love the aroma and gorgeous color of this bread. <3

  8. Ruby & Cake on

    January 12, 2017 at 5:11 am says

    I love this! The photos are beautiful and it sounds so delicious. Can’t believe you have to mix it for 20 minutes 🙂



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