Lebkuchen like Mulled wine is an intrinsic part of a German Christmas. Lebkuchen is a type of German gingerbread and the most famous of Lebkuchen is Nürnberger Lebkuchen. There is nothing quite as comforting as a hot glass of mulled wine after some Christmas shopping at a Christmas market stall on a cold winter’s night. Paired together in a cake, it makes for the ultimate Christmas flavour and perfect with the cherries. Draped in marzipan it makes an elegant alternative to a traditional Christmas cake. If you find Lebkuchen spice difficult to get hold off I have here a couple of links to either a homemade Lebkuchen spice mix or a mail-order stockist.
Cherry & Mulled Wine Torte
For the Sponge Cake
- 5 eggs, separated
- 250g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 25g Lebkuchen spice
- 1 lemon, grated rind only
- Pinch of salt
- 250g plain flour
For the filling
- 1 jar of cherries, (720ml)
- 125ml red wine
- 30g sugar
- 2 bags of mulled wine spice
- 3½ gelatine leaves, soaked in water
- 500ml double cream
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 500g white marzipan
- 250g icing sugar
- 2 tsp cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp apricot glaze, heated till liquid
- Glitter icing (optional)
- For the sponge, preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Grease the sides of a 23cm spring form and line the base with baking parchment.
- In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the 130g of the sugar until thick and creamy. Stir in the vanilla essence, Lebkuchen spice, grated lemon rind and salt.
- In a large clean bowl, beat the egg whites with the remaining sugar until stiff.
- Working with two tablespoons at a time, gently fold the egg whites, alternating with the sifted flour, into the egg yolk mixture. Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the tin and leave to cool on a cooling rack. When the cake is completely cool, cut in 3 horizontally.
- For the Filling, drain the cherries and reserve the juice. Pour 175ml of the cherry juice and the red wine into a saucepan and add sugar and mulled wine spice. Heat until just simmering then turn off the heat and leave to infuse for 15 minutes.
- Remove the mulled wine spice. In a microwave jug, heat 30ml of cherry juice. Add the squeezed out gelatine leaves and stir until dissolved. Leave to cool a little and then stir into the wine mixture. Add the drained cherries, pour the mixture into a jug and chill until the mixture just begins to set.
- Beat the cream with the icing sugar and vanilla essence until just stiff. Mix 6 tbsp of the cream with 3 tbsp of the cherry mixture (juice only).
- Place the bottom sponge onto a serving plate and enclose with the clean spring form ring. Spread half of the cherry cream onto the sponge, making sure that the sponge is completely covered. Pour the cherry mixture over leaving the centre circle free of cherries. This will make it easier to cut later on.
- Spread the remaining cherry cream on the second sponge and place the sponge, cream side down over the cherry filling.
- Spread the vanilla cream over the sponge and top with the third sponge.
- Place the base of the spring form on top and press down lightly and evenly. Cover with cling film and leave the cake to chill in the fridge for at least 5 hours.
- Remove the spring form clip from the cake.
- For the decoration, knead the marzipan with 200g of the icing sugar. Into 200g of the marzipan knead 1-2 tsp of cocoa powder. Reserve 50g of the plain marzipan and on a worktop dusted with icing sugar thinly roll out the remaining marzipan.
- Brush the top of the cake with the apricot glaze. Cover the cake with the rolled out marzipan. Roll out the chocolate marzipan into a long strip. Cut out 6 large stars and use the rest to decorate the outside with a marzipan band. Stick the band to the cake with some more apricot glaze. Roll out any remaining plain marzipan and cut out some small stars. Decorate the top of the cake with the stars. Dust with icing sugar and cocoa powder if desired and decorate with glitter icing if using.