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Vegan Spice Cake (Pain d’Épices)

In France, there’s a delightful cake known as pain d’épices.

This loaf-style cake is wonderfully seasoned with an array of spices including ginger, clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

However, because it’s made with eggs and honey, I obviously could not eat it so I decided to make a vegan version that’s just as wonderful.

Watch the step by step video of the recipe:

📝 The Ingredients You’ll Need

Creating this vegan version of the classic French pain d’épices isn’t all too difficult, as the traditional recipe is quite simple.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Dry Ingredients:

  • All-Purpose Flour: The base of your cake, giving it structure and softness.
  • Baking Powder & Baking Soda: These leavening agents will help your cake rise and become fluffy.
  • Spices: A warm and inviting mix of ground ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. Each spice contributes to the characteristic flavor of pain d’épices.
  • Sugar: To add a touch of sweetness and balance the spices — and because if you only rely on the agave syrup, it’ll be lacking in sweetness.

Wet Ingredients:

  • Milk Alternative: A plant-based milk to bring moisture and richness to the cake.
  • Agave Syrup: A vegan-friendly sweetener, chosen for its subtle flavor and smooth texture. It basically subs the honey that happens to be used in the traditional recipe.
  • Vegetable Oil: It keeps the cake moist and helps in binding the ingredients together.
  • Orange Juice & Zest: For a citrusy undertone that complements the spices beautifully.

🍂 Simple Step by Step Process

Just by looking at the ingredients, I’m sure I wouldn’t even need to give you instructions to make the recipe as It’s a pretty straightfoward process that’s easy to follow.

Here’s what you gotta do:

Combine Wet Ingredients: Begin by mixing together your plant-based milk, vegetable oil, agave syrup, orange juice, and orange zest in a bowl. This combination will form the moist base of your cake.

Mix Dry Ingredients: In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and the spices (ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves). These dry ingredients will give your cake its structure and flavor.

Merge Wet and Dry Mixtures: Gently fold the wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined, ensuring not to overmix. The key is to create a batter that’s uniform without working the gluten too much.

Bake to Perfection: Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for approximately 35 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when it turns golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cooldown: Allow the cake to cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely.

Glaze the Cake and Serve: Use a brush to gently apply agave syrup over the top, which basically adds moisture and a touch of sweetness.

And that’s pretty much it. Simple, right? Hope you enjoy it!

🔍 What We Discovered (From Our Own Tests)

Honestly, despite the recipe’s simplicity, it took us 3-4 trials to perfect the flavor, especially in terms of sweetness and the cake’s rise.

Initially, our tests saw the cake rise beautifully in the oven, but it would collapse upon cooling – a common challenge many vegans face when baking cakes.

We’ve finally uncovered the reason behind this issue.

It appears the problem was in the mixing process. I was cautious not to overmix, but it turns out that adequately stimulating the gluten in the batter is crucial for a well-structured cake.

This requirement can change with different types of flour, yet for the frequently used all-purpose flour, a mixing duration of 30-40 seconds usually suffices.

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vegan spice cake

Vegan Spice Cake (Pain d’Épices)


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  • Author: Cláudia Reis
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x

Description

This vegan spice cake is a cruelty-free twist on the classic French pain d’épices. It combines the warmth of spices like ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves with the sweetness of agave syrup and the citrusy notes of orange juice and zest. It’s perfect as a sweet snack or dessert.


Ingredients

Units Scale

Dry Ingredients

  • 250 grams all-purpose flour ((2 cups))
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 30 grams sugar (2 tbsps + 1/2 tbsp)

Wet Ingredients

  • 250 ml soy milk (1 cup)
  • 100 grams agave (1/3 cup)
  • 100 grams vegetable oil (1/2 cup)
  • 2 tbsps orange juice
  • 1 orange’s zest

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven at 350ºF or 180ºC.
  2. In a bowl, combine plant-based milk, vegetable oil, agave syrup, orange juice, and zest.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and spices (ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves).
  4. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry. Stir until just combined.
  5. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Let the cake cool in the pan briefly, then move to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Brush the top with agave syrup for added moisture and sweetness. Serve and enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Dessert, Snack
  • Cuisine: French, Vegan

🙏🏻 Before you go, I’ve got a favor to ask!

I’d love to get your feedback on this recipe! Feel free to leave a comment below sharing your experience— and let others know how you feel about it!

Of course, you can also ask any questions you may have about the recipe— and we’ll try to respond ASAP.

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