Pain d'épices au chocolat

Thank-you David Lebovitz for your book The Sweet Life in Paris.

I haven't laughed this hard in a long time. His tales of life in Paris are nothing short of hilarious. His witty humor is refreshing and his recipes are divine. It was hard to choose which one to make first. I finally decided on Pain d'épices au chocolat (chocolate spice bread).

All good things start with either butter or chocolate. In this case, it is a combo of both ! And it keeps getting better. The addition of cinnamon, ginger and cloves turns this cake into what reminds me of a chocolate gingerbread. The only ingredient I omitted were the anise seeds because frankly, I don't like anise. Never have, never will.

Lastly, be forewarned, this is not a cake and if you are looking for a chocolate cake
then best to look elsewhere.
It is referred to as a bread for a reason.
It doesn't have a cake texture at all. It has a darker, heavier and deeper flavor.

Let's Get Started

First off, GET THIS BOOK ! You won't regret it!

This recipe starts off the way I like it - with 7 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate.

Chocolate and butter playing nicely together in the double boiler

Fresh out of the oven. I only needed to cook mine the minimum recommended time: 30 minutes

As you can see, this isn't a light and fluffy cake. You will appreciate the change.
Dense, flavorful and just downright delicious.



Recipe source: The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz
Makes one 9-inch round cake

7 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
7 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 ¼ cup flour
3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. whole anise seeds
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 large egg yolks
¼ cup honey
2/3 cup sugar


PREHEAT the oven to 350°F.
BUTTER a 9-inch round cake pan, line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper, and butter that as well. Dust the insides with a bit of flour or cocoa powder, and tap out any excess.
IN DOUBLE BOILER, or a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter together, stirring until smooth. Let cool to room temperature.
IN ANOTHER BOWL, sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Add the anise seeds.
IN THE BOWL of a standing mixer or with a handlheld mixer, whip the eggs, yolks, honey, and sugar until thick and mousselike, about 5 minutes on high speed.
FOLD half of the whipped eggs into the chocolate and butter. Then fold in the remaining egg mixture.
ADD the dry ingredients one-third at a time, using a spoon to sprinkle them over the batter and folding until the dry ingredients are just combined.
SCRAPE the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 30 t0 35 minutes, until the cake feels barely set in the middle, but still moist.
REMOVE from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Tap the cake out of the pan and cool completely on a rack Wrap the cake in plastic and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours to let the flavors meld.

STORAGE: Well-wrapped, this cake will keep for about one week at room temperature, or one month in the freezer.

Paired with a bold coffee or black tea and I am in heaven ! I have read other bloggers recommending whipped cream or ice cream with a slice of this as well. Sounds good to me!

Recipe also featured at
Sweet for Saturday # 8


  1. OMG......that looks and sounds delish:)

  2. Mmm, I love chocolate and I love gingerbread. This sounds like a fantastic recipe. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog and I'd like to invite you to stop by and link your treat up.

  3. I NEED to read that book! And I probably need to make this bread and eat it while I'm reading the book... Right? It seems only right :) I love David Lebovitz!


  4. I just adore David's book!!! I laughed the whole way through the much fun! My mother's side of the family comes from the South of France so I feel very connected to your lovely pain d'epices cake as I have eaten it all my life when ever we visit across the "big pond". :-)


Thank you for your comments!

Linda @ Lemon Drop