Lebkuchen Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas Cake Recipe

Updated on December 29, 2017
Cake with powdered sugar.
Cake with powdered sugar. | Source

What is Lebkuchen?

Unless you speak German, you may ask what lebkuchen is. It resembles gingerbread, but doesn't have any ginger in it. The texture isn't what you'd normally expect from a cake. It is more like a home-baked bread.

The cake is a Christmas tradition from Germany that was invented by Medieval monks in the 13th century. Many people make these into gingerbread-type cookies, but this recipe is baked like a cake.

The recipe included here is an old Pennsylvania Dutch recipe. They arrived here from Germany, which explains many of their recipes. You can find different versions of lebkuchen elsewhere, but many of them called their's honey cake or pepper cake, but these originated in other countries. This recipe doesn't call for honey or pepper.

Some are glazed with chocolate or sprinkled with nuts and powdered sugar. You can try yours any way you'd like and use what you have on hand. Frosting would be good too. Since mine wasn't baked for a special occasion, I just sprinkled it with powdered sugar.

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  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups sifted flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cups wine or coffee
  • 3/4 cups chopped nuts
  • 3/4 cups raisins


1. Beat the eggs in a bowl until they are thick and piled softly.

2. Add the sugar slowly, beating the mixture after each addition.

3. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, and spices together.

4. Stir the wine or coffee with the egg mixture adding only a small amount at a time and just beating until each addition is blended.

5. Stir in the nuts and raisins.

6. Pour batter into a 13" x 9 1/2" pan.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

You may want to dress your cake up with icing.
You may want to dress your cake up with icing. | Source


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    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 4 years ago from USA

      Au fait, I'm afraid that weather is heading for us. I left out the raisins when I baked it, because I can't eat them. It should turn out fine without them.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      This sounds very interesting. I would leave the raisins out (hate cooked raisins), but otherwise I would try it as written. I never can make any recipe, even the first time, without tweaking it to suit me -- it's one of my failings. Looks wonderful! I bet it would be yummy when the weather is like we're having here right now -- one of the worst ice storms I've seen in my life.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 5 years ago from USA

      Thelma, Thanks for commenting. Maybe I should change the title from Pennsylvania Dutch to German Christmas Cake. Germany is where the Pennsylvania Dutch came from. Thanks for commenting.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

      I love Lebkuchen. It is delicious. I have not bake this before because we have a lot of lebkuchen here in Germany during Christmas time. Your recipe sounds easy to make. This is another one for my baking list this Christmas. Thanks for sharing.

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 6 years ago from USA

      cardelean, I baked this yesterday, so I'd have a photo for the hub. We are enjoying it. My husband says it reminds him of a spice cake. Thanks for your comment.

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

      I'm always looking for great new recipes and this one sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing!

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 6 years ago from USA

      DeborahFantasia, I hope you enjoy it. It does have more of the texture of gingerbread though, but tastes good. Thanks for stopping by.

    • DeborahFantasia profile image

      Deborah 6 years ago from Italy

      Looks fabulous, I can't wait to try it !

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 6 years ago from USA

      Cardisa, Thanks. This doesn't taste like regular cake, but more like gingerbread cake. If you try it, I hope your enjoy.

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

      What a lovely recipe! I must try it, I like German stuff. Thanks for sharing!