Today, I present you one of My Saint Nicholas Day Specials – Lebkuchen. The Latin word “adventus” means “coming”. The period of Advent in the Christian world predicts an expectation, a preparation to celebrate the birth of the Christ. Therefore, I dedicate this time to my preparation as well. To be honest, I don’t do many presents, lots of food, nor shopping. I do my spiritual summary of the whole year. In this hurried world, I like to stop and enjoy my small family some more.
The big part of today’s Advent celebration are so-called “Christmas markets”. Especially those in Germany smell like mulled wine and Lebkuchen. Lebkuchen is a German term for a traditional gingerbread offered everywhere in Germany. As we know the Gingerbread world-wide, the base is the spice. The smell of cinnamon, vanilla, anise, cloves, cardamom spread the happy Christmas spirit all over our homes.
Let me offer you my favourite recipe inspired by a lovely issue of the Austrian Frisch Gekocht Billa Magazine. This Lebkuchen has it all.
Serve with a cup of hot chocolate, coffee, tea or mulled wine. Guten Appetit!
Lovely cake for all the kids from age of 3, because of a possible egg white intolerance. Yummy and yummy!
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
400g of butter, soft
120g of cane sugar
120g of caster superfine sugar
4 tablespoons of honey
4 whole eggs
150g of dark cooking chocolate (at least 60%), melted in a steam bath
500 of plain flour, sifted
1 teaspoon of baking powder, sifted
A pinch of sea salt
150g of ground hazelnuts, sifted
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon of ground gingerbread spice (mix of all spices mentioned above)
4 tablespoons of good quality sour marmalade (I used sour cherries)
200g of icing sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons of blackcurrant juice
1 tablespoon of hot boiling water
juice from ½ of lemon Golden dust or silver sugar pearls to decorate with
First, melt the chocolate in a steam bath. Stir. Once it is done, take off the heat and transfer into a cold bath. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl place the butter, sugar and honey. Whisk until incorporated well and start adding eggs.
Add 1 egg at a time. Always start on lower speed until processed well, then, increase the speed to the highest. Continue whisking until foamy and smooth texture. Sugar should be dissolved entirely, which takes around 4 minutes.
Next, pour in the melted chocolate and mix.
Stir in the flour with baking powder, pinch of salt, hazelnuts and all the spices. Mix well until smooth texture.
Then, mold the dough into a large lightly greased baking tray lined with a baking paper (I used 45x35cm). Smoothen the top by using a spatula or a palette knife.
Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until nicely golden and a wooden skewer comes clean from the middle.
Once it is baked through, take it out and let it cool down completely.
In a small mixing bowl place the marmalade with icing sugar and add all the juices (blackcurrant juice, hot water and lemon). Mix it well until very smooth texture. The consistency should not be too liquid, nor too thick.
Once I let the cake in the original form and simply placed layer of marmalade and Topping on it as per picture below.
If you fancy a double cake, follow my instructions:
Halve the cake in the middle and put a thin layer of the marmalade on the top of one of them. Smoothen and cover with the second part of The Lebkuchen.
Stir The Topping once a again and pour it slowly over the top of The Lebkuchen. Always start in the middle, smoothen with a palette knife and continue until there is no topping left.
Let it rest at least for 1 hour until it gets dry a bit.
To finish the beauty, dust the top with a gold or sprinkle with silver pearls. Then, slice and gift your beloved. Yummy!
Makes 45x35cm Lebkuchen.