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Lebkuchen Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas Cake Recipe

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Cake with powdered sugar.

Cake with powdered sugar.

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 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.

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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—many of them are called 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.


  • 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.

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