Monday, December 26, 2011

Lebkuchen - Spice Cake


 Apart from the plain enjoyment and need to eat, there are other reasons why I am a bit of a "foodie". I guess my interest stems from the fact that food is linked with culture.

I'm a curious type of person and love embracing the differences amongst people and I love learning about all the weird and wonderful things around the world. I always get a buzz from learning new things about food, in and out of the kitchen. Christmas is one of those times where I get a chance to hear more about, and experience, different family and cultural rituals.

In New Zealand there is no stereotypical Christmas meal, some people opt for 'traditional' roast dinners, while others opt for BBQ meals (after-all who wants to be stuck in a warm kitchen in the summer heat). Personally my family just has a whole bunch of things that we'll pick at throughout the day, pretty much the ultimate smorgasbord. However, there is one yearly staple;  my mum's Swiss-German baking. It's one tradition I would love to continue.

So I took the opportunity this year to 'steal' my mum's recipe for lebkuchen, which is a beautiful spice cake. There are many versions of this cake but I think my mum's recipe is quite unique as there is no butter or eggs in it, it's made with cream. It's an easy cake to make and it's especially great at xmas time because the yummy aroma of spices being released when the cake is cooking will fill the house with a delightful festive scent. Plus it's a decent sized cake, so there's plenty to go around. It's best served with a big dollop of cream (unsweetened) or a thick slice of unsalted butter.


300ml cream (whipping cream)
5 tablespoons golden syrup
200g sugar
1/2 teaspoon clove powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons mixed spice
500g plain flour
1 heaped teaspoon baking soda
200ml milk (approx)


Preheat oven to 180 Celsius/350 Fahrenheit.

Beat the cream until thick, but not whipped. You want it to be the consistency of a thick pourable batter.

Stir in the golden syrup, sugar, and all the spices.

Now add the flour and stir again until all combined.

Heat 100ml of the milk until warm, stir the baking soda into the milk then add this to the cake mixture.

Fold in the milk, add another 100ml milk (does not have to be warm) until you get a thick batter. Add more milk if your batter is still too thick and stodgy.

Bake in a 28cm round cake tin for approx 50 minutes.

Since it's a decent sized batter you can also bake it in two medium-sized loaf tins ( 22 x 11 cm), just be aware that the cooking time will vary so just keep an eye on it.