This week's recipe is pain d'épices, or bread of spices. We call it gingerbread, because that is the most dominant spice. It also uses cinnamon and cloves, with a generous amount of molasses.
All of our bakers enjoyed making, and eating, this recipe. It was fairly simple and definitely satisfying. This is one that we all agree we will make again, especially at the holidays, or whenever we need a little more épice in our lives.
Jo Wong, Guest Baker
Standard gas oven, no convection
This was one recipe that would be great baking at Christmas time. It makes your whole house smell like gingerbread cookies. My kids were clamoring to see where the gingerbread cookies were at. I can see why as a child, this was a favorite of Sebastien, the ginger, cinnamon, molasses is a reminder of home and the holidays.
It was another easy recipe to follow, I would also add in a word of advice to use your bowl side shields before adding in your boiling hot water to the batter. I made the mistake of not using it and had brown water splash outside my counter and on the floor. In the end, it was easier and cleaner to whisk in the remainder of water without using the stand mixer. The recipe made enough batter to fill two 7 1/2 X 3 1/2 X 2 1/2 and a couple of small paper molds. The paper molds were done at 30 minutes and the 2 loaf pans were done at 50 minutes.
It was hard to keep from eating the loaves right after they come out of the oven. We allow the bigger loaves to rest overnight. We ate the the smaller loaves, while they were still warm and still had the crisp top and the inside was soft and moist. Definitely let the loaves sit overnight, it was worth the wait. Let the flavors have the time to blend in and you will be rewarded with a delicious moist gingerbread cake to go with your tea and coffee. I did not use the royal icing to drizzle on top of the loaves instead I drizzled melted 'Guittard's' white chocolate on the loaves.
This will be a recipe that I will make time and time again. I cheated and ate a few slices before I iced the cake. It was wonderful. With or without, this is delicious and super easy to make. Recipe was a straight run. Nothing unusual. Try to make sure whatever spices you are using are the best and freshest. I really does make a difference as spice really compliments the molasses.
I was lucky enough to have made this the day before a party, so I brought one of the loaves with me. It was a hit! Lots and lots of flavor.
standard bake and measure
Although it seemed a bit odd to be making gingerbread in April, this recipe was a big hit! The name is deceiving, though, as it's truly a cake and not a bread. The batter was easy to whip up and bake. It sure did use a lot of molasses, almost my entire supply! I didn't have two loaf pans of the same size, so I used one 8 inch and one 10 inch, which I let bake for a few more minutes. They both turned out great. The smell in the house was intoxicating!
I let them cool for a few hours and then made the royal icing glaze. I was a bit hesitant to use raw egg whites, although I know that is the traditional way to make royal icing. I usually use meringue powder. But, in an attempt to be authentic, I went for it. I was surprised at the tiny amount of lemon juice used, but the flavor did come out. It was super fun letting the glaze drip over the loaf. I embellished it with swirls of lemon zest on top.
Then I had an idea. What if I could make a gingerbread house! So I sliced up one of the loaves with the intention of "building" a little house. That didn't really work out, so I came up with an alternative, and piped royal icing on a slice to look like a house. It turned out super cute!