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One French word: épice, a French recipe: gâteau aux épices

Epice, feminine noun (une épice, des épices, l’épice) = spice (pronounced ay-peace, no particular stress).
Remember what I said in previous posts about an accented é transformed into an s in English? This is another one.

Epicé = spicy; pain d’épices = literally spice bread, but nearer to ginger bread; Route des Epices = the Spice Road; cinq épices = Chinese 5 spice; quatre épices = allspice.

My recipe for today is a gâteau aux épices, with a good mixture of spices and some seeds thrown in for good measure.

Gâteau aux épices

You will need for a cake serving 8 people:

  • 200gr butter
  • 200gr sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 200gr flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder (not necessary if you use self raising flour)
  • 1 tbs turmeric
  • 3 tbs caraway seeds (carvi in French, or you can use cumin)
  • 1tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger

Mixing the batter


  1. Pre heat the oven to 180°C
  2. In a mixer, cream the butter and the sugar until fluffy and white
  3. Add the eggs and mix
  4. Add the flour, baking powder, turmeric, allspice and ginger and mix well to a smooth batter
  5. Add the seeds and incorporate gently, spreading them well throughout the mixture
  6. Pour into a cake mold (buttered if you are not using silicone)
  7. Bake for about 40 minutes (but keep an eye on it, and test with a skewer if you think it is ready)

Gâteau aux épices just out of the oven

The turmeric gives a beautiful saffron yellow colour to the cake; the seeds get in your teeth but are interesting and delicious! Any leftovers that go a bit dry can be used to make a dessert in individual glasses. Put a half slice of cake in the bottom of a large glass and pour on a tablespoonful of alcohol (grand marnier, brandy…). Add fresh fruit (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, banana, mango etc or a mixture of several fruits), and top with whipped cream and a few toasted almonds.

Mmmm, lovely crumbly slices

Bon appétit.


About OneFrenchWord

I was a professional linguist and have been a life-long foodie. I am now lucky enough to be retired and free to roam the beaches around my home at the tip of the Finistère (Brittany, France). Writing is occupying a larger place in my life, with this blog and a children's book in preparation. I shall feel much happier calling myself a writer when I have published a book. And so posts on OneFrenchWord will be published first as an e-book, my ambition being to see a glossy volume on French language and cuisine in print some day. So keep reading, and snap up the book when it appears!

5 responses »

  1. This would be an interesting taste experiment for me. I always associate turmeric and cumin with curry, not with cake!!!

  2. Pingback: Black Forest Gateau « Kerrys Recipes

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