Spices and Honey Gingerbread

No eggs left at home? And you want to bake a cake? Why not try this French version of gingerbread, which is actually more of a spice and honey cake than the traditional gingerbread. It does contain ginger, but not only.

French gingerbread, called pain d’épices in French, is a soft and flavorsome cake, a thousand times better homemade than those sold in supermarkets. Pain d’épices means literally spices bread ans we use other spices than ginger, such as cinnaùmon, nutmed, pepper. One can even find “gingerbread spices mix” in grocery stores.

The second thing that makes this cake special is that there are no eggs, and I admitt that it’s convenient when someone can’t eat egg or when you don’t have any eggs left at home.

The last secret of this recipe is that we use sugar and honey, to give gingerbread its special taste.

I share here a familial recipe, baked hndreds of times.

Do you want to hear the story behind French Gingerbread?

A Chinese invention, an energy snack for Mongolian warriors, a delicacy for European nobility, a source of income for the monks, a traditional fairground favorite… Gingerbread does have quite a long history!


Preparation time : 15 min
Baking time : 45 min
Quantity : 12 slices
Difficulty : easy
Specific equipment: cake tin


250 grams all-purpose flour (±2 cups)
150 grams sugar (a little less than ½ cup)
1 teaspoon baking powder
250 ml milk (1 cup)
2 large tablespoons honey
Juice of ½ lemon
Lemon and/or orange zest (quarter of a fruit)
– 1 teaspoon nutmeg
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon ginger
– freshly grounded pepper mill (a few turns of mill)
– optional: cloves

If needed, refer to the conversion and measures article here


Mix all dry ingredients together. Heat milk, dissolve honey in it and add citrus juice and zests. Mix everything together then bake.


Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
Sift the flour. Add the sugar and the baking powder and mix. Then add the spices and mix. As spices are added in dry ingredients, it’s easy to make sure that when you mix, spices are spread all over the preparation and that the entire flour-sugar mix is completely impregnated with spices.
Take off the peels of your citrus (may it be orange or lemon). Finely chop the zests. Add the zests and the lemon juice to the preparation.
Heat the milk and add two generous spoons of honey. Thus, the honey dissolves in hot milk and will be well spread homogeneously in the preparation.
Add the milk and honey mixture to the preparation and mix vigorously until you get a nice dough, without lumps.
Grease and flour a mold, preferably a cake tin, or use a silicone mold. Pour the dough in and bake for 45 minutes.

pain depices 1 500

pain depices 3 500

Spices and honey gingerbreads are served for breakfast or as snack (it’s in my family enjoyed with salted butter), with creamy or fruit desserts.
Spices and honey gingerbreads are also tasty with some savory dishes: some gingerbread croutons in a pumpkin soup or foie gras on gingerbread toasts with fig jam.