Pain d’Epices is extremely similar to gingerbread flavour. It’s warm, comforting and for me it’s just Christmas in a nutshell. But, not just for Christmas. It’s too good to use it solely for the festive period.
This is a recipe I’m super proud of – not only did I make up my own Pain d’Epices spice mix, but it’s a little different to my usual in that it’s not heavily reliant on protein powder, I’ve used a fat, syrup, and a proper amount of granulated sugar alternative (although sugar works just fine) whereas my other cake and brownie recipes tend not to. In a sense, it’s got a much more conventional approach to a cake recipe, but I’ve just used swaps here and there so that it’s still absolutely delicious (and I promise you, this most definitely is), but it’s got a better nutritional profile than it’s traditional counterpart.
Why have I decided to do this? Well, I realise not everyone wants to use protein powders in everything, nor does everyone even own them. Sure, they’re great and I love a protein cake (evidently), but for me it’s a break away from the type of baking that has become the norm. To the point where I’ve actually almost forgotten how to bake with regular ingredients! So, not quite ‘back to basics’, but back to basic-er, shall we say.
About this recipe: what have I done to achieve a tasty but lighter-on-the-waistband kind of cake? Using smart swaps! I used, in part, a high protein, high fibre flour from Sukrin – their reduced fat almond flour. It’s absolutely fantastic in baking. And in addition to this, wholemeal flour so the cake still gets some rise and structure, as well as this also being high in fibre. Did you know wholemeal flour actually has more fibre than oat flour?!
On to the fats and sugar. I used a dairy free spread from Tesco which contains avocado oil – it’s vegan and dairy free too, and is lower in fat and calories than regular, but still works just as well. I also used less butter than you would probably use in a regular recipe, topping it up with apple puree. The apple also lends extra sweetness so a reduced amount of sugar can be used. The vitafiber syrup is slightly sweeter than regular syrups, is considered a prebiotic, as well as being high fibre. If you’re unfamiliar with vitafiber syrup, it’s sometimes otherwise listed as IMO syrup or isomalto-oligosaccharides, and is often a common ingredient in protein bars such as these or these, but most famously in Quest Nutrition’s bars before they reformulated them (and before every other protein bar company jumped on the IMO bar bandwagon). It’s readily available online nowadays, just pop a google search and it’ll come up easy peasy!
The result was oh-so-good. My notorious-cake-stealing bundt pan even gave me my cake back in one piece (in other words it didn’t stick)! Moist, just enough spice, sweet, cakey. And can we just take a moment to appreciate that texture?! Sorry. Getting a bit excited here!
- 30g dairy free spread or butter
- 40g vitafiber syrup*
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 30ml milk
- 30g apple puree*
- 90ml egg white*
- 60g granulated brown sugar alternative*
- zest of 1 orange
- 1/2 thumb sized piece of ginger (about 5g), grated
- 50g reduced fat almond flour*
- 30g wholemeal flour
- 15g protein powder*
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 1/2 tsp Pain d’Epices spice mix OR
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- scant 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/8 tsp ground allspice
- pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 160C.
- Put the butter in a medium bowl and melt in the microwave, or use a saucepan and heat gently. Add the syrup and vanilla extract and stir to combine, microwave for 10 seconds. Let it cool a little and then add the milk, apple egg white, grated ginger and orange zest. If using a saucepan, I recommend transferring the mixture to a bowl to avoid cooking the egg as it will retain more heat than a bowl. Then add the sugar and beat until it’s all fully incorporated.
- In a larger bowl, sieve all of the dry ingredients. Make a well in the centre and add the wet ingredient mixture. Use a hand mixer to beat it all together until it just comes together into a smooth batter.
- Brush your bundt tin with plenty of melted spread or coconut oil – the grooves of a bundt tin make it more prone to sticking. Pour in your batter and give a shake to even it out. Bake for 45 minutes.
Notes: Vitafiber syrup can be substituted for agave or honey. The apple puree is readily available in pots in the baby aisle..yes really! You may use 1 whole egg and 1 egg white. Coconut sugar or dark brown muscovado sugar can be used in place of the sugar alternative, or a half and half mix. I recommend oat flour in place of the RF almond flour. I used chocolate protein powder, choose your favourite flavour. This can be replaced with either extra RF almond flour or wholemeal flour.