Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pain D'épice - Honey Spice Cake

This is a classically French cake - usually made in loaf form, although this recipe can be baked in a Bundt. It is exceptionally moist with a lovely balance of spices and sweet honey. Although it is made with all the classic fall spices, it is delicious any day of the year.

I liked it just as well plain as slathered in cream cheese frosting. The cake actually improves with age and is meant to be kept a little while. Make it at least one day ahead of serving so the spices have a chance to harmonize overnight.

Pain D'épice - Honey Spice Cake
1 Bundt cake or 3 loaves

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup honey
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup warm coffee or strong tea
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup rye or whisky or more juice
1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds

***You can make this cake in a 9-inch angel food cake pan, or it in a 10-inch tube or bundt cake pan, a 9 by 13-inch sheetpan, or three 8 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pans.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease the pan(s). For tube and angel food pans, line the bottom with lightly greased parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Make a well in the center and add the oil, honey, sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee, orange juice, and rye or whisky.

Using a strong wire whisk or an electric mixer on slow speed, combine the ingredients well to make a thick batter, making sure that no ingredients are stuck to the bottom of the bowl.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan(s) and sprinkle the top of the cake(s) evenly with the almonds. Place the cake pan(s) on 2 baking sheets stacked together and bake until the cake springs back when you touch it gently in the center. For angel and tube cake pans, bake for 60 to 70 minutes; loaf cakes, 45 to 55 minutes. For sheet-style cakes, the baking time is 40 to 45 minutes. This is a liquidy batter and, depending on your oven, it may need extra time. Cake should spring back when gently pressed.

Let the cake stand for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan. Then invert it onto a wire rack to cool completely.

1 comment:

Cakebrain said...

I wish I could make a spice cake...but my kids don't like spices in their cake :(
It looks perfectly delicious with the cream cheese!