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How to Make Lebkuchen

Updated on August 29, 2011
'Cake of life' - sweet and spicy German lebkuchen appear in many different shapes and sizes, but most often as small iced cakes.
'Cake of life' - sweet and spicy German lebkuchen appear in many different shapes and sizes, but most often as small iced cakes.

In German, lebkuchen literally means 'cake of life'. It is somewhat similar to gingerbread, and is a specialty of Nuremberg in West Germany -- where the gingerbread house of Hansel and Gretel fame is known as a lebkuchen house. Lebkuchen is traditionally baked in Germany at Christmas.

Lebkuchen will keep for 6-8 weeks in an airtight tin.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 15-20 minutes

Oven temperature: 350° F (180° C)

Makes: 24

You will need

  • 2 inch (5 cm) piece of cinnamon stick
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 ounces (125 g) blanched almonds, finely chopped
  • 2 ounces (60 g) candied lemon peel, finely diced, or 2 ounces (60 g) chopped mixed peel
  • Grated rind of ½ lemon
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • A few drops vanilla essence
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose (plain) flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • Rice paper

Icing:

  • ½ egg white
  • ½ cup icing sugar, sifted
  • A few drops white rum, or fruit liqueur

How to make Lebkuchen

  1. Using a pestle and mortar, or an electric coffee grinder, grind the cinnamon, cloves, and the black seeds from the cardamom pods until fine. Turn the powder into a bowl and stir in the ground nutmeg, almonds, candied peel and lemon rind.
  2. Beat the eggs with the sugar until foamy and the beater leaves a trail across the surface of the mixture.
  3. Sift the flour with the baking powder, and fold it into the egg mixture with the vanilla essence and the spice mixture.
  4. Place a sheet of rice paper on each of 3 baking trays. Space level tablespoons of the mixture, 8 to a tray, on the rice paper. Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until golden.
  5. Leave to cool for a few minutes. Remove the lebkuchen to a wire rack and break away the surplus rice paper, leaving a disc under each biscuit.
  6. Lightly beat the egg white. Mix in the sifted icing sugar, stirring until smooth, and flavor with the rum or liqueur. Brush the icing over the lebkuchen. Leave in a warm place to dry.

As a variation, some of the lebkuchen can be coated with melted chocolate.

Comments

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    • Dink96 profile image

      Dink96 

      9 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      Too hot to bake here now, but have you ever heard of Vanocka? It's a Czech Christmas bread. Keep these coming.

    • Choke Frantic profile image

      Choke Frantic 

      9 years ago from Newcastle, Australia

      Awesome! I think I'd prefer the choc-coated kind =]

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