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A closeup of French gingerbread in a metal loaf pan

Gingerbread (Pain d’Epices)

French gingerbread, known as pain d’épices or spice bread, has more molasses and is moister, darker and denser than the American gingerbread most of us know, which is lighter and more airy. This recipe hails from Bouchon Bakery.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Bread, Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 2 (8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch) loaves
Calories 233 kcal


  • 2 1/4 cups plus 2 teaspoons (340 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking soda
  • 1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (7 grams) ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (4 grams) ground cinnamon
  • 3/8 teaspoon (1 gram) ground cloves
  • 1/2 plus 1/8 teaspoon (2 grams) kosher salt
  • 1 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons (220 grams) dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 cup plus 2 1/4 teaspoons (340 grams) unsulfured blackstrap molasses
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 1/2 tablespoons (214 grams) canola oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons (100 grams) eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons (336 grams) boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (8 grams) grated lemon peel


  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray two 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-by-2 3/4-inch loaf pans with nonstick spray. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper, then spray the parchment.
  • Place the flour in a medium bowl. Sift in the baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Add the salt and whisk together. Place the brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed to break up any lumps. Add the molasses and mix for about 1 minute or until smooth. With the mixer running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream and continue to mix for about 1 1/2 minutes, until completely combined.
  • Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs and mix for 1 minute or until the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the dry mixture in 2 additions, mixing on low speed for 15 to 30 seconds after each. With the mixer running, add the water 60 grams (1/4 cup) at a time, incorporating each addition before adding the next. Scrape down the bowl again. Fold in the lemon zest.
  • Divide the batter between the two pans. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Set the pans on a cooling rack and cool for 10 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack, remove the pans and cool completely upside down.
  • The cakes can be wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 week. Defrost in the refrigerator and rewarm if desired. This gingerbread is best made a day ahead to allow the flavors to develop and deepen.

Notes & Nutrition

  • This recipe uses kosher salt (aka cooking salt, kitchen salt, coarse salt outside of the US). If you are using table salt, definitely scale down the salt as that is a saltier type of salt! The type of salt will make a big difference in how salty your food tastes, so keep that in mind.
From Bouchon Bakery
Servings 20.0 * calories 233 * Total Fat 11 g * Saturated Fat 1 g * Monounsaturated Fat 6 g * Polyunsaturated Fat 3 g * Trans Fat 0 g * Cholesterol 0 mg * Sodium 63 mg * Potassium 278 mg * Total Carbohydrate 31 g * Dietary Fiber 1 g * Sugars 18 g * Protein 2 g
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*