German Gingerbread (Lebkuchen) Cake with Red Wine Glaze

German Gingerbread (Lebkuchen) Red Wine Cake with Red Wine Glaze
German Spiced Red Wine Cake with Red Wine Glaze. Lora Wiley-Lennartz
    55 mins

Lebkuchengewürz is a spice mix used in holiday baking in Germany. It is similar to the spices American bakers put in gingerbread. 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 it's 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.

What You'll Need

  • 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 

How to Make It

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 a 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. Lets 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.