Pain d’épices

Pain d'épices
Recipe from In the Sweet Kitchen by Regan Daley
Notes: This cake began on Sunday April 1st when I mixed up the batter which included spices (star anise, cinnamon, ginger, mace, cloves and white pepper), rye flour, candied orange zest and rum; there is no fat, dairy or eggs. One of the key components of this cake/bread hybrid is honey: I used some chestnut honey from France that a friend kindly bought for me a year ago; it was dark and pungent. Daley says instead of using filtered water, you could use milk, but I decided on almond milk. I didn't add the optional currants. After aging for 4 days in the fridge, the cake was ready to be baked, and I did so in the suggested large (9×5") and medium (8×4") pans. The loaves rose to a good height in the oven, giving off a scent not unlike Play-Doh (!!!); this was likely the star anise combined with the honey. I aged the baked loaves for over a week before cutting into them yesterday. They have a dense texture, reminiscent of rye bread; it's not chewy, but it doesn't crumble like cake either. My tasters surprisingly approved of the complex flavours. Every bite is slightly different: sometimes you taste the orange peel, sometimes the almonds, sometimes the blend of spices. I like this one better than one I made previously.

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