06 June 2019

Nonnettes - French Gingerbread Cakes

Nonnettes - French Gingerbread Cakes (or you can use other spices) / www.delightfulrepast.com

Nonnettes (pronounced no-net) are individual spiced cakes filled with a bit of marmalade, jam or curd. They originated in the Burgundy region of France during the Middle Ages. And to think, I've only just recently heard of them! So of course I had to make some. My starting point was the three versions posted by Phil of the delightful blog As Strong As Soup.

Les Nonnettes are moist and sticky and can be made with different combinations of spices, zests and fillings for variety. I've gone with the classic ginger and orange in this case, but plan to also make them with cardamom. There are no eggs in the recipe. But I might add one next time anyway.

I was going to use homemade marmalade in these, but I discovered the only marmalade left in my jam cupboard was a jar of kumquat marmalade I'd made in April 2014! It looked fine but tasted a bit off, so I used apricot jam instead. I don't think the marmalade would have killed us--at least I hope not, since I tasted it! 

I don't know what nonnettes were baked in back in the Middle Ages, but I used a 12-cup standard muffin tin because heaven knows I'm the last person who needs to be buying another specialty pan! 

As always, I've formulated my recipe to exactly fill that standard pan. If you use a different sort of pan, you will likely come up with a different number of cakes than my own precisely twelve.

Have you ever made, had, or even heard of, nonnettes? Please tell me I've not been alone in my ignorance!


Nonnettes - French Gingerbread Cakes (or you can use other spices) / www.delightfulrepast.com

Nonnettes - French Gingerbread Cakes


(Makes 12)

1/2 cup (3.5 ounces/99 grams) dark brown sugar
1/3 cup (4 ounces/113 grams) honey
1/3 cup (2.67 fluid ounces/79 ml) milk
1/3 cup (2.67 fluid ounces/79 ml) water
6 tablespoons (3 ounces/85 grams) unsalted butter
1 3/4 dip-and-sweep cups (8.75 ounces/248 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons non-GMO baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ginger
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
Finely grated zest of a medium orange
6 teaspoons orange marmalade or a jam
5 tablespoons (1.25 ounces/35 grams) powdered sugar

About 4 teaspoons of juice of the zested orange

1 Butter well a 12-cup standard muffin tin. In a 3-quart saucepan, heat together the brown sugar, honey, water, milk and butter until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.

Note: Why such a large saucepan for that small quantity, you might ask. Because then you can add the flour mixture to the pan, instead of the other way around, and just have one messy thing to clean up.


2 In 1.5-quart mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices, whisking well to "sift." 

Note: I rarely sift flour anymore. It really only needs aerating, which can be done quite easily with a half minute or so of vigorous whisking.

3 Add the flour mixture to the warm honey mixture and whisk together until combined. Stir in the orange zest. 

4 Using a 1/4-cup measuring cup, divide batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups. If the batter feels quite warm, cover* the muffin tin and refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C/Gas4.

* I love that my muffin tin comes with a cover!

5 With your oiled finger or similar sized object, make a hole in the center of each cup and put in 1/2 teaspoon of marmalade or jam. Bake for about 16 to 20 minutes, until they are golden brown and spring back when pressed gently in the center. Let the cakes cool in the tin for about 5 minutes so you can handle them. They have to be removed individually from the pan, rather than just turning them out, so that the jam doesn't run out. 


Note: I used the handle of a wooden spoon and rubbed olive oil on it about every three cakes. You need to put the jam in shortly after making the hole or it will simply close up. Next time, I'll make the hole about an inch deep and bring the batter back over the hole after it is filled.

6 While still warm, whisk together a simple glaze of sifted powdered sugar and orange juice. Apply the thin glaze to the warm cakes with a pastry brush. Cool completely before storing in an airtight tin. Good served right away, they are said to be even better after being stored in the airtight tin for a day or two and will keep for up to a week. 

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean

62 comments:

Grace said...

Yum!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Grace!

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

Always happy to join the “ignorance brigade,” since it’s been my major in the continuing studies school of life. Nonnettes look/sound delicious and are totally new to me. My imagination cannot reconcile ginger and marmalade or apricot jam. The foretaste sounds incestuous, as they process similarly in my papier-mâché brain, whereas something siphoned out of a good jelly donut would work better for me. Texture and moisture remind me of a good spice applesauce cake.…

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks for weighing in on this, Sully. You'd be surprised at how harmonious that little dab of marmalade or apricot jam is with the ginger and other spices.

Phil in the Kitchen said...

As you may have noticed I'm slightly obsessed with these little cakes. They're just that little bit different in texture and flavour to most other little treats. I'm very, very pleased to have introduced nonnettes to you. It may sound a bit obvious but I've found that the type of honey in the mixture makes a huge difference to the flavour and so I often try different honeys and, as a result, never get tired of the cakes.

Jeanie said...

These sound really good. I love ginger/spicy flavors. I wonder what the best jam or curd would be. Not sure lemon would work (although it is my favorite). You said marmelade or apricot jam? I might have to try this one!

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

I’ve never heard of nonnettes, Jean, but I know that I love spicy baked goods, and I’ll be making these for sure. I may wait until Fall and use my Fall muffin pan, which will be perfect! Thank you so much for sharing another recipe that I can’t wait to make.

Margie said...

This is the first time I've heard of nonnettes!

The 2014 marmalade me chuckle. I'm sure there are items lurking in my cupboard that are past their expiration date!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Phil, we do tend to get slightly obsessed with some of our treats, don't we? I always buy pure raw unfiltered local honey and get a different one every time. Can't wait to see if I notice a subtle flavor difference with another variety.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Jeanie, I hope you will try it. It's a really easy recipe that gives such a good result. Don't expect a fluffy cupcake; these have a texture all their own.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Yes, Kitty, your fall muffin pan will be perfect for these! Do let me know how they turn out for you.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Margie, I'm usually so careful about rotating my stock so that nothing goes to waste, but that little jar just got pushed back and forgotten. I felt bad about it until I did the math, and then, like you, I just had to chuckle!

My name is Erika. said...

These look YUMMY! Nothing better than good gingerbread.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Erika. It's one of my favorite flavor combinations.

Tamago said...

I’ve never heard of nonnettes before. They look so yummy! I love marmalade but I understand you went with apricot jam this time lol :-)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Tamago. Yes, I don't ever want to lose track of another jar of marmalade! :-)

Angie's Recipes said...

I have never heard of nonnettes before, let alone to taste one! They sound and look so delicious with that shiny jam coating!

Cocoa and Lavender said...

I love learning about unique and different baked goods from you, Jean! These would be perfect for a Thanksgiving treat! (Or anytime!)

TONY said...

Jean, you have got to have a culinary trip to France. You would be in heaven. Patisseries in local villages and towns have an amazing variety of cakes and pastries. I like the sound of this gingerbread cake. I like gingerbread so you have sold it to me straight away. But there is one thing I have got to take you up on. "Nonnettes (pronounced no-net)" Not quite, in fact, not at all. You have got to listen to the way a French person talks, the sound and intonation they make. " no net," just doesn't work. But your cake sounds very nice. All the best, Tony

Dee | Grammy's Grid said...

Thanks so much for linking up at the #WednesdayAIMLinkParty 38! Shared x 3 ♥

roughterrain crane said...

This cake must have a nice fravor. Happy weekend to you.

handmade by amalia said...

You always style your delicious bakes so beautifully, Jean, the complete experience. I'm another who've not heard of nonnettes before but I will happily give them a try :-)
Amalia
xo

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Angie, thanks so much. Glad I'm not alone!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, David! I do seem to do a lot of not-of-this-century baking!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Tony, thanks. I would definitely have a great time there! About the pronunciation: of course, no simple little phonetic spelling can give you the true pronunciation, the intonation; it does convey that there is no heavily stressed syllable and that the "s" is silent.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Dee. Those shares are soooo appreciated!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

RTC, thank you. We really like it.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Amalia, thank you so much! It seems the only thing I ever manage to photograph is food!

Vee said...

No, Jean, have never heard of them, but I like the sound of them. Course, I try too many new recipes and have often been disappointed. How about you?

Jennifer@MyFlagstaffHome said...

What a yummy recipe! Thanks for sharing at the Weekend Blog Hop at My Flagstaff Home. --Jennifer

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Vee, I'm rarely disappointed in a recipe I try because I can tell by reading it what is wrong with it and what needs changing before I do it, if that makes any sense to you. With this odd little historical recipe, I knew to eliminate the rye flour (I just was not going to like it in this) and I knew that without egg(s) it was not going to be a fluffy sort of cake, so I was not disappointed when that was the case.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Jennifer! Such a fun hop!

Louca por porcelana said...

They look delicious!Hugs,Jean!

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

I've not heard or had nonnettes before, even in my travels to France. They sound delicious with their spices and little surprise centers.

April J Harris said...

I had definitely not heard of Nonnettes, Jean! I was really interested to learn about them. They look delicious, that is for sure! I like the idea of making them with marmalade. I'm not much for eating marmalade on toast, but I love it in desserts. Thank you so much for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link party. I hope you are having a lovely weekend!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Maristella!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Karen, I love the sound of that--"little surprise centers!"

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks so much, April. Yes, a lovely weekend, and hoping the same for you!

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

These little cakes remind me of filled muffins. I love gingerbread so these would definitely go over well here. The surprise of marmalade in the center is lovely! I haven't heard of Nonnettes before but my son just got back from Paris and I must ask him if he is familiar with them. He's been to France four times, I think, and loves their food. I can't make them for a while but would love to try them when I'm able to. Hope you're having a wonderful weekend, Jean!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sandi, thank you. They seem to have originated in the Burgundy region, possibly Dijon. Hope you're able to eat anything you like soon! I'm having a catch-up weekend--gardening, laundry, that sort of thing, interspersed with cups of tea!

Fran @ Gday Souffle said...

Non! I've never heard of Nonnettes before, even after spending 9 months in Paris. They remind me of the 'Spiced Orange Cakes' that I made before and they also look a little like doughnuts with the little hole in the middle. Mon Dieu! I think I will have to make these soon!

ellen b. said...

They really look good!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Merci, Fran! It's a fun recipe--looking forward to trying it with cardamom. And I plan to cover up that little hole in the middle next time!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Ellen!

Louise Scott said...

Bonjour Jean

Your recipe (and writing style) are lovely. Yous sound a bit like me...a perfectionist with an eye for detail. I think Kumquat marmalade next time would be heaven - just that bit edgy. Louise. XX

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Merci, Louise. That is very kind. Yes, I think one must be a bit of a perfectionist with an eye for detail to pack for a trip of any length in one carry-on, as you and I do!

DeniseinVA said...

I learned something new today as I have never heard of Nonnettes before. They look delicious, thanks Jean!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Denise. I love discovering foods I've never heard of!

Miz Helen said...

Hi Jean,
I can't wait to make these delicious muffins and they will be perfect for afternoon tea! Hope you are having a great week and thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday!
Miz Helen

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks so much, Miz Helen. Love Full Plate Thursday!

Lowcarb team member said...

These do look and sound delicious, many thanks for sharing the recipe :)

All the best Jan

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Jan. They're fun to make!

Kitchen Riffs said...

I *think* I've heard of these (although it may be one of those false memory things), but I've never had one, and certainly haven't baked any. I really do need to make this -- neat recipe. Thanks!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, John. I hope you will and let me know how it turns out for you (AND what you drank with it!).

Dee | Grammy's Grid said...

Thanks so much for linking up at the #UnlimitedMonthlyLinkParty 1! Pinned ♥

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Dee. And Pins are always appreciated!

Mrs. White said...

I've never heard of nonnettes, but These look so good! And your pictures are lovely. Thank you for always inspiring us with your baking and tea times!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you so much, Mrs White! It's all about the tea with me!

Annette, 3 Little Buttons said...

I've not heard of these before but don't they look yummy! A little burst of something... actually... they remind me of the pop cakes described in the children's book 'The Faraway Tree'. Thanks for bringing all the sweet treats to the #DreamTeam Jean xx

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Annette. I'm not familiar with that book. I'll have to look it up--might be a good gift.

Mary said...

I’ve never heard of nonnettes either, they look wonderful though. One question, you mentioned the recipe not calling for an egg, but you might add one in future, what is the texture of the cakes like as the recipe stands?

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Mary, the texture is fine as it is, but I think an egg might lighten it just a bit and make the texture more like the fluffier cake most are accustomed to. I'll have try it and see.

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