Friday, December 11, 2015

Red Wine German Gingerbread (Lebkuchen) Cake

A dense holiday spice cake studded with bittersweet chocolate chip pieces. The star of the cake, aside from the spices, is the red wine both in the cake and in the topping. The glaze contains no food coloring, just adding the wine gives tints it beautifully. 

German gingerbread contains Lebkuchengew├╝rz. Similar to the spices in American gingerbread, most German versions contain additional ingredients such as cardamom, star anise and sometimes, dried lemon and orange peel.

A recipe for the German holiday spice mix or lebkuchengew├╝rz can be found here. It's great for baking but also adds great flavor to the homemade mulled wine.

For an easier version of the cake and if you can't find or have no time to make the German spice mix, replace the spices in this cake with this traditional gingerbread mix. 

  • 2 teaspoons  cinnamon
  • 1teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon clove 
Also, add 2 -3 tablespoons of dark molasses to the batter.

For a festive serving option, use a small Holiday cutter (tree, star, etc.) to cut the cake into small portions.

Red Wine German Gingerbread 
(Lebkuchen) Cake
Prep Time: 30 minutes 
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 16 pieces

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
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
    2 teaspoons lebkuchen spice
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
    1 tablespoon fresh orange zest 
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 3 large eggs
    3 + 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
  • 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 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. 

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