Pain d'Epices with Epoisses

When sitting in a French cafe for lunch in Beaune and they place a plate full of green lettuces with a spiced cupcake full of cheese in front of you......that's something you'll never forget. Here is Julia Child's recipe for Pain d'Epices. Hers calls for using a loaf pan, but we love them as muffins. Because they are very low in fat, they will hold up for up to a week on the counter in a container. And remember what Julia always said, "Try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless and above all, have fun."

  • 1¼ cups honey
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 3½ cups whole wheat pastry flour (or unbleached all-purpose flour)
  • ¾ cup almonds, ground fine
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • ¼ cup dark rum
  • ½ tsp each: ground cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground white pepper
  • 2 tsp grated fresh orange or lemon peel
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Generously butter bottom and sides of a muffin tin. No not use pan spray. Don't be afraid of the butter! Set aside. (you may use a loaf pan or springform cake pan)
  3. In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together the honey, sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved. Then beat in the baking soda and salt. Add half the flour and beat about a minute.
  4. Gradually add the remaining flour and continue to beat 2 minutes more on medium speed. The batter should be stiff and sticky.
  5. Reduce the speed on the mixer to slow and add the remaining ingredients. Mix until everything is well incorporated. Scrape the batter into the pan; smooth the top with a damp or spatula.
  6. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30 minutes. At this point, put in 1/2 ounce pieces of Epoisses into the middle of each muffin. Continue baking for 30 more minutes.
  7. The cake is done when it begins to pull away from the side of the pan and a toothpick inserted in center emerges clean.
  8. Cool the cake on a wire rack for 15 minutes. If using a springform, release the pan sides; otherwise unmold the cake and place on a rack, top-side up. Cool for about 2 hours or until completely cool, then wrap well in plastic.

Julia recommends waiting at least a day or more before serving. For the best flavor and texture, age the cake for 2 weeks in the refrigerator or 1 month in the freezer.