Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy married Marguerite of Flanders
in 1369. Her favourite cake was a honey cake however it was
not until the 18th century when the cake became popular in
Dijon, this is when Dijon became capital
of the honey cake. The Burgundian Dukes controlled
the oriental spice trade and so they developed a taste for
nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, anise and ginger and hence Spice
Mulot au Petitjean is an old fashioned shop
in Dijon that specialises in Spice bread. The Mulot family
have been producing this bread on the same site since 1838
and is the only spice bread producer left.
1 ½ cups / 300ml milk
1 cup / 200 g dark drown sugar
1 ½ cups / 500g runny honey
4 cups / 500g plain flour
2 tablespoons / 30 g finely chopped candied orange peel
1 teaspoon ground aniseed
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon water
(2 medium loaf pans - 20x8x8 cm)
Heat the milk, sugar and honey in a saucepan, stir until
the sugar dissolves. Bring it just to the boil, and then
set aside until tepid.
Sift the flour into a bowl and make a well in the centre.
Add three quarters of the cooled honey mixture and stir
with a wooden spoon, gradually drawing in the flour to make
a smooth batter.
In a small bowl, mix the candied peel, spices and salt.
Stir in the remaining honey mixture and add it to the batter,
stir until smooth. Cover and refrigerate the batter for
Heat the oven to 250F / 120C. Butter the loaf pans, you
can also line them with grease-proof paper and butter the
To complete the batter, mix the egg yolks and baking soda
with the water in a small bowl. Stir this mixture into the
Spoon the batter into the pans, filling them half full -
the batter rises quite a bit during baking - a cover them
loosely with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the
foil. Continue baking for approx 1 ½ to 1 ¾
hours more, or until a skewer inserted near the centre comes
Recipe courtesy of Anne Willian
Note that the spice bread should be slightly under baked
so it is soft in the middle and has not started to shrink
from the sides of the pan. Let the breads cool and then
turn them out.