Tag Archives: German

My top five best bakes (for Christmas)

I was chatting about baking to a mum in the playground yesterday, we discovered a shared love of fairly unusual continental recipes, the kind Paul and Mary would give to Bake Off contestants to try and baffle them into submission. It got me thinking about some of my favourite things I’ve baked and blogged, so I thought I’d choose my top five best bakes and give them another airing.

I promise you they’re all easy, I lack the patience, time and skill to do anything too fancy and time consuming; but they’re all delicious. 

Lebkuchen Cake 

Traditionally a moreish soft biscuit, I decided to attempt a German Lebkuchen Cake with considerable success. The recipe is easier than it looks to make and the results are truly scrumptious!

Lebkuchen Cake

Joulutorttu

Traditionally Joulutorttu are made with puff pastry and a special Finnish prune jam. However I made mine with a Christmas preserve, but it does need a good firm set jam. Try plum or prune conserve for authenticity. They look a bit tricky to make, but it’s ready-roll puff pastry and jam and  a bit of arty twisting of the pastry.

Joulutorttu

Birnenpfannkuchen

Birnenpfannkuchen is a German Pear & Ginger Pancake. This is a brilliant store cupboard standby, and a real family favourite when you need a quick pud. It’s a bit like a fruity toad in the hole, only better!

Birnenpfannkuchen

Cinnamon & Raisin Shortbread

I originally created this shortbread recipe in 2013 in celebration of the Great British Bake Off and it’s still popular today. Cinnamon and raisin are a great combination and this lovely crumbly shortbread is a great bake.

shortbread

Microwave Jam Sponge Pudding

I’ve always hated the thought of “baking” in the microwave, but I’ve cracked it with this delicious sponge pudding. From mixing bowl to table in under ten minutes – perfect for busy families.

jam sponge

So that’s my little round up of my five best bakes. What would you have in your top five?

Christmas Recipe: Lebkuchen Cake

When Duerr’s asked me to try their new Chunky Ginger Preserve, my first thought was lebkuchen. I’ve never made them before but I thought it might be nice to try. If you like ginger, you’ll like the Duerr’s Chunky Ginger Preserve, it is sweet and spicy, full of chunks of fiery ginger, and great for cooking with, especially for my Lebkuchen cake.

One of my favourite things to eat around Christmastime is lebkuchen. Lebkuchen are a German cakey-biscuit, usually a soft spiced gingerbread covered in icing or chocolate, sometimes filled with jam, sometimes not. I find them irresistibly moreish and any bags which find their way into our house have to be kept from me and a small ration allocated daily. 

You can find the recipe  for my Lebkuchen Cake below, don’t be put off by the large-ish list of ingredients, it is literally stick them in a bowl and give them a good stir. It is probably the best cake I’ve ever made and a great alternative to the traditional Christmas cake if you don’t like all that fruit!

Lebkuchen Cake

Recipe: Lebkuchen Cake

Serves 10
A delicious cake version of the traditional German Christmas treat – easier than it looks to make and truly scrumptious!

Ingredients
125g of butter, softened
150g sugar
1 egg yolk
3 eggs
200g of runny honey
3 heaped tablespoons of sour cream
300g self-raising flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
5 teaspoons of ground ginger
A pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of Duerr’s Chunky Ginger Preserve
For the chocolate glaze
150 g dark chocolate
180 ml double cream

Instructions
In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar until well combined. One at a time add the following ingredients and mix – one egg yolk, honey and sour cream.

In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients – self-raising flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, pinch of salt and ginger together. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and gently mix.
Mix the eggs and add to the cake mixture and stir.

Pour the cake mix into a lined cake tin. I used a large loaf tin. Bake in a preheated oven at 180ºc. for about 50 minutes until it is cooked through. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, preferably overnight.

When cool cut the cake in two lengthways and spread the Duerr’s Chunky Ginger Preserve on the bottom layer, then sandwich back together.

To make the chocolate glaze, put the double cream in a saucepan and bring it to the boil and remove from the heat. Add the crushed chocolate and stir until dissolved, keep stirring until it has cooled a little, but is still liquid.

Pour the hot chocolate glaze on the top and sides of the Lebkuchen cake and leave it for a few hours to cool and set.

Notes
Five teaspoons of ground ginger does sound like a lot, but once it is cooked the fiery ginger tones down a little.
This does make a large cake, so you could split it into two cake tins and make two smaller cakes if you’d like.
If you don’t like dark chocolate you could use milk chocolate instead.

To taste test the lebkuchen cake properly we bought some proper lebkuchen from the Christmas Markets and I’m pleased that the two were comparable. Despite the long list of ingredients it was so easy to make and I will be making it again, probably several times before Christmas for various occasions.

lebkuchen cake

With my Christmas recipe repertoire now including Finnish Joulutorttu and German Lebkuchen cake, we are in for a truly continental Christmas – and it’s all the better for it!

Christmas Recipe: Lebkuchen Cake

Recipe: Birnenpfannkuchen – German Pear & Ginger Pancake

We’ve been making Apfelpfannkuchen at home for a number of years, it’s a lovely baked apple pancake pudding, a bit like a sweet toad in the hole with fruit. It’s a handy store-cupboard pudding which takes no time at all to prepare and it’s pretty easy on the pocket as well as being delicious.

It occurred to me that it would be good to try making one using pears and ginger instead of the traditional apple and cinnamon. It was only afterwards I discovered that the Germans had beaten me to it and had got there first with the Birnenpfannkuchen, though all of the recipes I could find online were in German, so what you’re looking at here is probably the worlds first Birnenpfannkuchen recipe in English (I take my victories where I can find them).

Any pud that I can prepare with any degree of success must be easy, I’m not a natural when it comes to desserts, so I urge you to give this easy recipe a try. I promise you will not be sorry!

Birnenpfannkuchen

Birnenpfannkuchen – German Pear & Ginger Pancake Recipe

Ingredients:
50g butter
2 teaspoons of oil, I used groundnut
1 tin of pear halves in juice
2 teaspoons ground ginger
75g plain flour
65g sugar, I used golden granulated, but use what you have
3 eggs
150ml semi-skimmed milk
Pinch of salt

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 220C. I used my tarte tatin pan, but if you don’t have one of these a lined cake tin will be fine.
  • Put the butter and oil in the pan and put in the oven to melt for a couple of minutes, once the butter has melted arrange your pear halves in the pan and sprinkle over a teaspoon of ground ginger. Put in the oven to warm through while you do the next bit (tinned pears are already soft, but if using fresh pears cook until they are soft but not collapsing).
  • Meanwhile, tip the flour into a bowl with a pinch of salt, add the sugar and a teaspoon of ground ginger and combine. Add the eggs and milk and whisk thoroughly so it forms a thick batter.
  • Remove the tatin pan with the pears from the oven and quickly pour over the batter. Put the pan back in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, make sure you keep an eye on it towards the end. When it’s cooked your Birnenpfannkuchen should be all puffed up and golden brown like a giant Yorkshire pudding.
  • Once cooked flip it out of the pan, upside down on a plate and serve either hot or cold with cream, ice cream or custard, whatever floats your boat.

Birnenpfannkuchen

If you liked this easy recipe you might like my incredibly easy Joulutorttu recipe (Finnish jam tarts).