Lebkuchengewürz is a spice mix used in holiday baking in Germany. It is similar to the spices American bakers put ingingerbread. However, the German version contains a larger variety of spices such as cardamom, star anise and sometimes, dried lemon and orange peel.
A good recipe for lebkuchengewürz can be found here. This spice mix is great to have on hand for holiday baking in general and also a wonderful addition to your favorite mulled wine recipe.
You can replace the spices in this cake with the traditional cinnamon (2 teaspoons), nutmeg (1 teaspoon) clove (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon) mix. If you do, I suggest adding a few tablespoons of dark molasses to the batter.
This dense, spicy cake contains red wine both in the cake and in the topping, the latter giving the glaze a pretty color. It’s like having mulled wine is a cake form. The cake is also studded through with bittersweet chocolate pieces which add to its heft.
When serving the cake, I suggest cutting it into smaller than usual portions as it packs quite a flavor punch. As pictured, I used a small Christmas tree shaped cutter to create the portions, also making a more festive presentation.
For the cake:
- 1+ 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- ?1+3/4 cups cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (1 + 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- cup firmly packed brown sugar
- teaspoons lebkuchen spice
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh orange zest
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- large eggs
- + 1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate
- 1 cup red wine (any type)
For the glaze:
- 1+2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup red wine
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Yield: 16 pieces
- In a separate bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- Chop or grate the bittersweet chocolate into very small pieces.
- Place the unsalted butter, firmly packed sugar, spices, freshly grated lemon and orange zest in a mixer and beat on medium high speed until creamy (about 3 minutes).
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Beat in the pure vanilla extract.
- Add the eggs one after the other, making sure each is incorporated fully into the batter before adding the next.
- Once again, Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and mix again to make sure everything is evenly combined.
- Turn the mixer speed down to low and add half the sifted dry ingredients. Add the wine and then the rest of the dry ingredients.
- Add the chopped/grated chocolate to the batter and mix thoroughly.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 12 pan and line with baking paper.
- Spread the batter out evenly into the pan. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and transfer the cake to a cooling rack set up over a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Let’s cool completely.
- In a bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and red wine until it forms a smooth glaze. Pour the glaze onto the cake and use a rubber spatula to even it out over the top.
- When the glaze has dried, cut the cake into small pieces, place on a decorative platter and serve.
By Lora Wiley-Lennartz
German Food Expert