I've read on both David Lebovitz's blog and in Clotilde Dusoulier's book "Chocolate & Zucchini" about a French cake called "Pain D'Epice. I guess this is a very traditional cake that is flavored with honey and spices. It's usually baked in a loaf pan. I've been wanting to make this for a long time, and finally got around to it. The cold weather we've been having is perfect for baking. I used the recipe in the book "Chocolate and Zucchini". It's unusual in that there's no butter or oil in the cake. I added a lot of chopped candied ginger, which I loved in this cake. Clotilde mentioned that she loved to eat it toasted for breakfast. That's the way I enjoyed it the most. It was also great as a snack with a mug of hot apple cider. It's a great flavor combination of honey, molasses, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger. And it keeps for days wrapped in foil on the counter. Made a nice breakfast with a piece of fruit this week.
From "Chocolate & Zucchini" by Clotilde Dusoulier
2 teaspoons vegetable oil to grease the pan
1 1/2 cups milk
2/3 cup good-quality honey
1/3 cup mild-flavored dark molasses
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, and ground ginger
Optional: 1/4 cup finely diced candied ginger or candied orange peel, or a mix of the two
*Make the loaf a day ahead to give the flavor time to develop.
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x5" loaf pan with oil, and line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. Combine the milk, honey, and molasses in a small saucepan. Set over medium heat and heat the mixture without boiling, stirring with a spatula until dissolved. Set aside and let cool as you go on with the recipe.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. In a small bowl, combine the ginger and/or orange peel, if using, with 2 teaspoons of the flour mixture and set aside.
4. Form a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour in the milk mixture slowly and whisk in a circular motion, starting from the center, until all of the flour has been incorporated - the batter will be thin. Fold in the ginger/orange peel if using. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the surface is brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
5. Transfer to a rack and cool for 20 minutes. Run a knife along the sides of the pan to loosen the loaf, and unmold. Let cool completely, wrap in foil, and let rest at room temperature until the next day.