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5 from 5 votes

Nonnettes (French Gingerbread Cakes)

French for "little nuns" and dating back to the Middle Ages, Nonnettes are small gingerbread cakes filled with jam and drizzled with a tangy lemon glaze.  They're absolutely irresistible!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Servings: 18 nonnettes
Calories: 176kcal
Author: Kimberly Killebrew


  • 1/2 cup pure honey
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons neutral tasting oil
  • 1 1/2 cups (200 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (80 g) rye flour (use less rye flour/substitute more all-purpose flour if you prefer a lighter/less dense texture)
  • 1 tablespoon Homemade Pain d’épices Spice Blend
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon rum
  • 1 teaspoon quality pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons fresh orange zest
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • black currant jam (orange marmalade is also traditional, can also substitute blueberry or blackberry jam)
  • For the Lemon Glaze:
  • 3/4 cup powdered (confectioner's) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Note: This makes a thin glaze to enable it to penetrate the cakes


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the butter, oil, water, honey and brown sugar and stir just until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat and let it sit a couple of minutes while you prepare the dry ingredients.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and homemade pain d’épices spice blend. Stir to combine.
    While it's still warm, pour the honey mixture into the flour and stir to combine. Stir in the rum, vanilla extract, orange zest and egg yolk until combined.
  • Butter a mini cheesecake pan (you can also use a muffin pan but I prefer the size and shape of the mini cheesecake molds).
    Fill each mold with batter between 1/2 to 2/3 full. Make an indentation in each and place a teaspoon of jam in it.
    If you prefer the jam completely inside the cakes, place less batter in the molds initially, add the jam, and then add a little more batter on top.
  • Bake the nonnettes for 12-15 minutes until golden brown and the dough springs bake when gently pressed.
    While the nonnettes are baking prepare the glaze by combining the sifted powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved. While the nonnettes are still warm and in their molds, spoon the glaze over them, letting the glaze drip down the sides into the molds, and let them cool in the molds (this will allow the glaze to penetrate the cakes). Once cool, remove the nonnettes from the molds.
  • Store the nonnettes in an airtight container for up to a week.
    Nonnettes are delicious eaten at room temp or slightly warmed.
    Makes up to 18 depending on size


A few other popular flavor options include strawberry marmalade, lemon and cardamom (try it with a lemon curd filling, yum), and orange marmalade with a splash of grand marnier.
Serving: 1nonnette | Calories: 176kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 97mg | Potassium: 84mg | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 130IU | Vitamin C: 0.8mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 0.7mg