For the Christmas choral party at my son’s school, I chose to prepare a typical French Christmas cake called “pain d’épices”, a sort of a gingerbread cake with spices, honey and orange marmalade.
In order to make it more kids friendly, I opted for the cake pops mould and decorated the mini cakes like Christmas balls.
These cake pops are made of:
- a moist gingerbread batter
- dried or candied fruits slices
- chocolate frosting
There are loads of recipes of “pain d’épices”. I chose the one of the chef Nicolas Bernarde, that I adapted a little bit to my taste. The batter is easy to prepare, but requires some specific ingredients, for instance the chestnut flour (rye flour in the original recipe) and the gingerbread spices mix (available in big supermarkets). This mix differs from a brand to another, in terms of the spices included, and their dosages. You can definitely prepare it yourself. I used a ready mix of Scrap Cooking, to which I added cinnamon and Tonka bean (a personal touch).
The batter can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days, otherwise placed in the freezer for a maximum of one month. Once cooked, the cake pops can be stored at room temperature in an air-tight container for up to one week, or frozen for up to two months.
The quantities below are adapted for approx. 40 mini cake pops.
- Food processor equipped with the S-blade
- Basting brush
- Cake pops silicone molds
- 90 g Chestnut flour
- 90 g White flour Type 55 if possible
- 9 g Baking powder
- 60 g Full fat milk
- 4 g Gingerbread mix
- 1 pinch Grated tonka bean
- 30 g Glucose
- 180 g Lime tree honey
- 90 g Eggs Approx. 1.5 eggs, at room temperature
- 90 g Clarified butter Homemade if possible
- 3 g Table salt
- 90 g Orange marmalade Good quality one, not too sweet
- 1 piece Orange Optional
- 60 g Diced candied or dried fruits of your choice
- Preheat the oven at 150°C.
- Sieve the chestnut flour, the white flour and the baking powder TOGETHER.
- Place them in the bowl of the food processor equipped with the S-blade.
- Warm the milk with the honey, glucose and the spices (you can add the spices you like, even not grounded to infuse them at this step, and remove them later on).
- Add the hot liquid to the powders, gradually, while mixing. If you have a food processor with double feed tube, you can remove the small pusher and place a funnel to facilitate this step.
- Add the eggs (at room temperature) in two times. Mix until getting a nice smooth mixture.
- Melt the clarified butter WITH the salt, around 50°C.
- Add them to the batter, gradually, and mix at the same time to realise an emulsion (like for a chocolate ganache). It's important to add the butter gradually so that the fat molecules are perfectly incorporated to the batter.
- Add the orqange marmalade and orange zests (optional) and mix.
- Grease the cake pop mould holes, both the lower and upper parts (even if they are in silicone).
- Pour the batter in the holes of the lower part of the mold till the top.
- Add the diced fruits of your choice (candied or dried).
- Cover the lower part of the mold with its upper one and lock properly the top of each hole and pich the sides.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Check the doneness with a toothbick inserted through the small hole on the upper part of the mold.
- Let them cool in their molds placed on a wire rack before unmolding.
If you chose to realize like me Christmas balls, you can prepare the loops with 100 g of tempered dark chocolate as following:
With a piping bag, draw small loops on a plastic sheet.
Place the rest of the chocolate in a small container to have a 1cm thickness. Let it set.
Once the chocolate set, but still a bit soft, press a star tip vertically and then pull it (the chocolate should come with the tip).
You should get something similar. You can use a round tip as well, it will be easier.
Put a drop of melted chocolate (with a piping bag) and glue the two parts. It’s easier and faster to use a blower cooler.
The blower cooler allows to cool immediately the chocolate.
Montage and additional comments
I prepared the following frostings:
– Dark chocolate for the orange cake pops: 50 g of temperated dark chocolate mixed with 10 g of grapeseed oil
– Purple for the figs cake pops: 50 g of temperated white chocolate mixed with 10 g of grapeseed oil and purple or a mix of blue and red fat-soluble coloring powder
– Orange for the apricot cake pops: 50 g of temperated white chocolate mixed with 10 g of grapeseed oil and orange or a mix of yellow and red fat-soluble coloring powder
– Light brown for the chestnut cake pops: 50 g of temperated milk chocolate mixed with 10 g of grapeseed oil and white fat-soluble coloring powder
Dip each cake pop in the relevant frosting and let it set. You can use a styrofoam piece to stick the cake pops on, with toothpicks. If the chocolate is tempered properly (check the Essentials page) you won’t need to place the cakes in the fridge.
Once the frosting is set, stick the chocolate loops using a drop of chocolate and the blower cooler.
You can prepare a traditional “pain d’épices” with the same batter, by cooking it in a loaf pan of approx. 25cmx8cmx8cm, for approx. 10 minutes at 160°C and then 40 minutes at 145°C (check the doneness after 40 minutes of baking).