The holiday season always evokes visions of gingerbread cookies or fancy gingerbread houses, but rarely will you see anyone praising the gingerbread cake…unless you come from a Germanic country.
Lebkuchen is the German version, which actually comes in many different forms. The main characteristic is a type of ginger spiced flatbread that is sweetened traditionally with honey.
My holiday version is much lighter – a bit cake-like actually – and I have intentionally made this version without any added fats or oil…because, you know it is the holiday season and I assume there is a bit of splurging going on with respect to sugar and fat.
Yield: makes about 24-36 pieces
- 500 grams (1 pound) all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons gingerbread spice
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 16 grams (about 1/2 ounce) baking powder
- 100 grams (1/2-cup) brown sugar (see tips below)
- 100 ml. (a bit less than 1/2-cup) aquafaba
- 2 teaspoons egg replacer
- 250 ml. (about 1 cup) soy milk (see tips below)
- 100 ml. (a bit less than 1/2-cup) water
- 100 grams (3 1/4 ounces) maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) with a fan. Be sure to add about 10°C (25°F) to the temperature if you do not have a convection oven.
- Prepare a 25 x 25 x 5 cm (10 x 10 x 2 inches) cake pan – or something similar – by lining with baking paper.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, gingerbread spice, sea salt and baking powder. Ideally, you should sift this mixture into the bowl to make sure everything is well mixed and distributed.
- In a tall measuring cup, begin to whip the aquafaba with a handheld mixer or blender (I think the blender works the best for this job). Once the aquafaba begins to whip and turn very white, add the sugar slowly to create a sweetened aquafaba. It is not important to make a meringue at this point, just make sure the sugar is well-mixed. Add the egg replacer once the sugar is incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, combine the soy milk, water and maple syrup. Whip well to mix. Add the sweetened aquafaba to the soy mixture and combine well.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold everything well to create a uniform batter. Pour this batter into the prepared cake pan and be sure to tap the pan on a surface to even the top.
- Place the pan into the pre-heated oven and bake for 25 minutes. The cake is baked through when a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Keep the cooled gingerbread cake at room temperature in an airtight container. It will keep for about one week.
Jack’s Fresh Tip
The brown sugar I am using is an American style soft golden brown sugar. You can use something like a natural cane sugar or muscovado, but the cake will turn out slightly drier. You can also easily make your own brown sugar by simply combining extra fine caster sugar with molasses – I use a ratio of 10% molasses to sugar (by weight) to create a golden brown sugar. Just mix everything together then push through a strainer. Keep freshly made brown sugar in a zip-lock freezer bag for up to 6 months.
You can use other types of non-dairy milk, like almond or oat. I favor soy milk in baking because it has a higher fat content and performs better in the oven and when the final product is stored – it works to keep the product moist and fresh.
I like to dust the top with powdered sugar or cocoa powder. You can make a simple chocolate glaze by combining some cocoa powder, icing sugar and a bit of water to just moisten everything. Spread on the cooled cake.
This is a Sample Recipe
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