Basler Läckerli

Läckerli are essentially lebkuchen brownies and, therefore, very delicious. They originated in the late Middle Ages as monastic honey cakes were improved with new spices from the Orient. These Lebkuchen, in particular, took South Germany by storm, and from the 17th century, we have numerous recipes from across the region. Läckerli appear in Basel and Bern around this time, and the recipe has remained fundamentally unchanged, though with fewer spices and more sugar than today. This would have been a desert enjoyed primarily by the upper classes, and the chefs that made them were important enough to warrant their own guilds.

Today Läckerli remains synonymous with the city of Basel, one of the last cities to continue the tradition unabated. The recipe below is a standard variant of the modern Läckerli.

Basler Läckerli

A translation of Läckerli is somewhat difficult, as it is something of a cross between a honey cake, lebkuchen and brownie. The result is a delicious spiced honey cake that goes well on its own or as dessert. This recipe is very traditional and has its roots in the cities of 17th century Switzerland and Southern Gemrany.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Basel, Swiss
Keyword: Brownie, Cake, Honey, Lebkuchen, Spice
Servings: 20 Pieces



  • 50 g Almonds
  • 50 g Candied Orangepeel
  • 120 g Honey
  • 60 g Sugar
  • 1 tsp Orange Zest
  • tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp Ground Clove
  • 30 ml Cherry Brandy
  • 150 g All Purpose Flour
  • ½ tsp Baking Powder


  • 20 ml Water
  • 30 g Powdered Sugar


Läckerli Dough

  • With a food process, chop the almonds and candied orange peel into fine chunks.
  • In a separate pan over low heat, add the honey, sugar, orange zest and the spices. Heat up to about 50°C and until the sugar has fully dissolved.
  • As the mixure thickens add the cherry brandy and mix well.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the mix of almonds and orange peel.
  • Transfer the honey mixture to a larger bowl.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C without ventilation.
  • Finally add the flour and baking powder and mix thouroughly.

Forming the Cake

  • Without delay, transfer the dough to a sheet of baking paper, and place a second sheet of backing on top.
  • With a rolling pin, flatten the dough to a rectangle with thickness of about 1/2-1 cm thick.
  • Remove the upper backing paper and with the rolling pin, ajust the shape and reposition pieces to get a more precise rectangle shape.
  • Place the backing paper back on top and flatten everything again to a homogenous thickeness.
  • Finally remove the upper piece of backing paper and place the rectangle on a backing rack
  • Bake the dough at 200°C for 15-20 minutes.

The Glaze

  • Starting about 5 minutes before the Läckerli is finished baking, add the sugar to the boiling water and stir for about 2 minutes. The mixture should start to thicken as the sugar dissolves.
  • Remove the Läckerli from the oven and immediatly brush the cake with the glaze
  • Let the Läckerli cake cook a bit, and once the sugar glaze begins to crystallize, cut the cake into cookie-sized pieces using a pizza cutter.

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