Skip to Content

German Gingerbread Cake Recipe

German Gingerbread Cake Recipe

Made with shortcrust pastry, dark chocolate, and buttermilk, this German gingerbread cake (also known as Gewürzschnitte or simply Gewürzkuchen in German) is loved by kids and adults alike, even those who usually don’t like gingerbread cake.

My husband and our kids are huge fans of gingerbread cake. Leading them to enjoy it not only during the festive season but at any time of the year when the opportunity arises.

A visually appealing photograph featuring slices of German chocolate spice cake arranged in neat stacks, resembling gingerbread cake bars. The slices showcase a rich, moist texture and are garnished with whole spices such as star anise, cloves, and a cinnamon stick placed artfully beside them. The warm and inviting tones of the cake, coupled with the aromatic spices, create an enticing scene that captures the essence of traditional Gewürzkuchen.

This German chocolate-spice cake with the right amount of sweetness mirrors the Gewürzschnitten from one of our favorite German bakeries. Not only is it easy and quick to make, but it’s also moist, fluffy, spicy, and chocolatey.

Made with a shortcrust pastry base, effortlessly pressed into the baking sheet without the need for rolling, and a nut chocolate filling infused with a homemade German gingerbread spice mix.

A visually enticing photo featuring slices of German gingerbread cake artfully arranged on a platter. The cake, cut into delectable pieces, showcases its rich texture and warm brown hue. The presentation is enhanced by a sprinkle of sugar, adding a touch of sweetness to the moist and spiced slices. The inviting display captures the essence of traditional German Gewürzschnitte, making it a tempting treat for any occasion.

After baking, it’s spread with a chocolate glaze and finished off with sugar sprinkles. So good!!

Ingredients used to make the crust

  • 140 g (4.9 oz/ about ½ cup + 1 tablespoon) butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 300 g (10.6 oz/ 2 ½ cups) plain flour (all purpose flour) plus additional 20 g (0.7 oz/ 2 ½ tablespoons) for dusting
  • 100 g (3.5 oz/ ½ cup) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, vanilla paste, or 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar . (If you use vanilla sugar, simply reduce the normal amount of sugar by 2 tablespoons of sugar.)

For the chocolate filling

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) dark chocolate, good quality
  • 1 tablespoon gingerbread spice mix
  • 200 g (7.1 oz/ 1 ⅔ cups) plain flour (all-purpose flour)
  • 100 g (3.5 oz/ ⅔ cup) nuts, (almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts), chopped
  • 180 g (6.3 oz/ ¾ cup) butter, soft
  • 150 g (5.3 oz/ about ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon) brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 250 ml (8.5 fl.oz/ about 1 cup + 1 tablespoon) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • A pinch of salt

You’ll also need

  • 200 g (7.1 oz) dark chocolate, good quality
  • 100 ml (3.4 fl.oz/ about ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon ) whipping cream (heavy cream)
  • colorful sprinkles

How to Make German Chocolate Spice Cake with Shortbread Crust

Begin by greasing an approximately 40 x 35 cm (15.74 x 13.77 inch) baking tray (baking sheet) with butter.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (356 °F) with both upper and lower heat (Convection bake function: 160 °C (320 °F)).

To make the shortcrust pastry, combine flour and baking powder in an empty bowl and mix well. Add the remaining shortcrust pastry ingredients and knead into a smooth dough.

Transfer the dough to the prepared tray and lightly dust it with flour. Using your hands, dusted with flour, press the pastry into the tray until the bottom is covered. Keep dusting your fingers with flour since the dough is a bit sticky.

  • If you prefer, you can first roll out the dough on parchment paper and then transfer the parchment paper to the prepared tray.

Prick the pastry several times with a fork and bake for about 6 minutes.

 A step-by-step collage capturing the process of making shortcrust pastry for German gingerbread cake and baking it, alongside the preparation of the chocolate filling batter.

Make chocolate filling and bake

Meanwhile, make the chocolate filling. For the chocolate filling, combine plain flour, baking soda, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder, and spices and sift. Then cut the chocolate into small pieces.

In an empty bowl, add eggs, sugar, a pinch of salt, butter, and vanilla, and beat until creamy. Add half of the flour mixture and stir well, followed by half of the buttermilk. Repeat the process until you have used up all the flour and buttermilk.

Fold in chopped nuts, chocolate, and lemon zest. Next, remove the baking tray/baking sheet with the shortcrust pastry from the oven.

Spread the chocolate dough over the baked shortcrust pastry, smooth it out, and bake for about 25 minutes.

A comprehensive collage depicting the steps to make the chocolate filling batter for German chocolate spice cake with nuts and spreading it onto a prebaked shortbread crust, and baking it to perfection.

Make chocolate glaze with whipping cream and spread it on the cake

Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool down completely. Once the cake has cooled down, add roughly chopped chocolate and whipping cream to a microwave-friendly bowl and melt the chocolate. You could also melt the chocolate over a hot water bath.

Next, spread the chocolate glaze over the cake and sprinkle with sugar sprinkles. Let the chocolate glaze dry for at least 30 minutes and enjoy.

 A step-by-step collage capturing the process of making chocolate glaze with high-quality dark chocolate and heavy cream, spreading it on a freshly baked but cooled German chocolate spice cake, and finishing by sprinkling sugar sprinkles on top.

Love this Gingerbread Cake Recipe? Try my chocolate spice cake recipe, too.

German Gingerbread Cake Recipe

Learn to make this authentic German Gingerbread Cake with a shortcrust pastry, just like the ones found in German bakeries. This easy-to-follow recipe guides you through creating a moist, chocolate-spiced cake with a chocolate glaze and sugar sprinkles.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time32 minutes
Total Time52 minutes
Course: afternoon coffee, afternoon tea, Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine: European, German
Keyword: chocolate cake, chocolate spice cake, gingerbread cake, gingerbread spice cake, spice cake
Servings: 24 Servings
Author: Ester | esterkocht.com

Equipment

  • Baking sheet (baking tray), approximately 40 x 35 cm (15.74 x 13.77 inch)

Ingredients

Ingredients for shortcrust pastry

  • 140 g (4.9 oz/ about ½ cup + 1 tablespoon) butter unsalted, soft
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 300 g (10.6 oz/ 2 ½ cups) plain flour/ all purpose flour plus additional 20 g (0.7 oz/ 2 ½ tablespoons) for dusting
  • 100 g (3.5 oz/ ½ cup) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

Ingredients for the chocolate filling

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) dark chocolate ,good quality
  • 1 tablespoon German gingerbread spice mix
  • 200 g (7.1 oz/ 1 ⅔ cups) plain flour/ all purpose flour
  • 180 g (6.3 oz/ ¾ cup) butter unsalted, soft
  • 100 g (3.5 oz/ ⅔ cup) nuts (almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts), chopped
  • 150 g (5.3 oz/ about ¾cup + 1 tablespoon) brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 250 ml (8.5 fl.oz/ about 1 cup + 1 tablespoon) buttermilk room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • a pinch of salt

You'll also need

  • 200 g (7.1 oz) dark chocolate good quality
  • 100 ml (3.4 fl.oz/ about ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon ) whipping cream (heavy cream)
  • colorful sprinkles

Instructions

  • Grease an approximately 40 x 35 cm (15.74 x 13.77 inch) baking tray (baking sheet) with butter.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (356 °F)with both upper and lower heat (Convection bake function: 160 °C (320 °F)).
  • To make the shortcrust pastry, combine flour and baking powder in an empty bowl and mix well. Add the remaining shortcrust pastry ingredients and knead into a smooth dough.
  • Transfer the dough to the prepared tray and lightly dust it with flour.
  • Using your hands, dusted with flour, press the pastry into the tray until the bottom is covered. Keep dusting your fingers with flour since the dough is a bit sticky.
    * If you prefer, you can first roll out the dough on parchment paper and then transfer the parchment paper to the prepared tray.
  • Prick the pastry several times with a fork and bake for about 6 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make the chocolate batter. For the chocolate cake batter, combine plain flour, baking soda, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder, and spices and sift. Cut the chocolate into small pieces.
  • In an empty bowl, add eggs, sugar, a pinch of salt, butter, and vanilla, and beat until creamy.
  • Add half of the flour mixture and stir well, followed by half of the buttermilk. Repeat the process until you have used up all the flour and buttermilk. Fold in chopped nuts, chocolate, and lemon zest.
  • Remove the baking tray/baking sheet with the shortcrust pastry from the oven. Spread the chocolate dough over the baked shortcrust pastry, smooth it out, and bake for about 25 minutes.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool down completely. Once the cake has cooled down, add roughly chopped chocolate and whipping cream to a microwave-friendly bowl and melt the chocolate. You could also melt the chocolate over a hot water bath.
  • Mix well and spread the chocolate glaze over the cake and sprinkle with sugar sprinkles. Let the chocolate glaze dry for at least 30 minutes and enjoy.

Have you tried this moist spice cake based on grandma’s recipe? Did you like it? I would be thrilled if you could leave a comment with a rating.

Recipe Rating