French cooking France

Gingerbread: the easy recipe

Gingerbread is one of our favorite Christmas treats. Gingerbread has a long history, dating back to the Middle Ages. One of the earliest references to it dates back to 1372 in France. It was a way of preserving expensive spices by mixing them with flour and, above all, honey. You can make it yourself in cake form, thanks to a simple recipe that Monsieur de France has found for you.


Gingerbread Cake Recipe


This is the best way to make gingerbread at home. Gingerbread made by confectioners, on the other hand, takes much longer to prepare. The "mother" dough, composed of honey, spices and flour, must be left to rest for several months. In Lorraine, we start as early as the end of summer. With this recipe, you can make a gingerbread cake that's moist, long-lasting and delicious.


Honey is crucial to the success of gingerbread. You need as much as flour. Photo chosen by Arwin Neil Baichoo on Unsplash

Honey is crucial to the success of gingerbread. You need as much as flour. Photo chosen by Arwin Neil Baichoo on Unsplash


The ingredients


Serves 4


  1. 1 whole egg (a large one)
  2. 1 sachet baking powder
  3. 10 Cl milk
  4. 30 grams soft butter
  5. 30 grams sugar
  6. 200 grams honey
  7. 200 grams wheat flour (rye or buckwheat flour are also available).
  8. 12 to 15 grams gingerbread spices
  9. Keep one or two cinnamon sticks and star anise to decorate the cake.
  10. A little honey or jam or clear jam (quince, for example) to make the cake shine.

How to make gluten-free gingerbread?

Replace wheat flour with chestnut or rice flour.

Which honey for gingerbread?

Choose accacia or all-flower honey if you like a subtle taste, fir or mountain honey if you like strong, woody flavors, or lemon honey for a sharper taste.


For the spices if you make the mixture yourself:


  • 3 grams cinnamon
  • 3 grams ground ginger
  • 2 grams star anise (or green anise)
  • 2 grams ground cloves
  • 2 grams coriander
  • 2 grams cardamom.


You can make your own mixture by putting all the spices in a blender. If you'd like to order gingerbread spices, you can do so here


De la canelle. Photo choisie par :  Angelo Pantazis sur UnsplashCinnamon. Photo chosen by Angelo Pantazis on Unsplash



The process


  1. Start by combining the butter, milk and honey in a saucepan over low heat.
  2. When melted and well mixed, allow to cool.

When the hot mixture has cooled slightly.

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C (gas mark 4)
  2. Place the flour, sugar, spices and baking powder in a bowl and mix well.
  3. break up the egg and add gradually
  4. Then gradually add the honey-milk-butter mixture with a wooden spoon to form your mother dough. It should be homogeneous.
  5. Butter your cake tin
  6. Pour your mother dough into it
  7. Bake for 45 min at 170°C. But you can also make it a little crunchy by baking for 10 min at 190°C and then for 1 hour at 150°C.
  8. When ready, unmould and coat with liquid honey or jam.
  9. Garnish with one or two cinnamon sticks and star anise.



Photo choisie par Jr R sur Unsplash



Gingerbread, a speciality of French towns


Gingerbread is a great specialty in many French towns. In Dijon, for example, it dates back to the arrival of Marguerite de Flandres (1350-1405), wife of Philippe le Hardi (1342-1404), Duke of Burgundy. It is made with white wheat flour. There's also Reims gingerbread, made with rye flour, already known to Henri IV, and famous in the 17th century thanks to Champagne honey. The monks of Marienthal in Alsace were already tasting Alsatian gingerbread in 1412. In the 19th century, gingerbread began to take on amusing shapes, such as the famous "manele". Of course, it can be eaten as a snack or in the morning, but it's also excellent in sweet and savoury dishes, for example with foie gras, in crumbs on which you place the piece of foie gras before eating it. With a small arugula salad and balsamic vinegar vinaigrette, it's a pure delight. In neighbouring Lorraine, gingerbread with Vosges honey is also a favorite, and a gift for children on Saint-Nicolas Day. It is then shaped like Saint Nicolas (a drawing of the character is affixed to it) or his donkey.


Jérôme Prod'homme

Jérôme Prod'homme

Jérôme is "monsieur de France" the author of this site.