Pfefferkuchen literally means pepper cake. However, not only is there no actual pepper in this recipe, it's not even cake. It's more like gingerbread cookies or gingersnaps.
So, why is it called pepper cake? Well, this recipe is very old. And by very old, I mean very, very old. This recipe came about at a time before spices were generally used in any recipes, let alone cake or cookie recipes. When spices of any kind, including ginger or cinnamon, were finally available for use in sweet recipes, they were all called pepper. They just used pepper to mean spice. So, that's why pepper is in the name. (I should also say that there are a very large amount of variations of the recipe because of the age of the recipe.)
The reason it's called cake even though it's actually cookies is because there was a time when all sweet things were called cake in German. After all, we also call it gingerbread, even though it has nothing in common with bread.
So, now that we're over the antiquated semantics, let's get into the actual recipe.
500g (4 cups) flour
375g (1 3/4 cup) sugar
1 package (45g) chocolate pudding mix (to cook, not instant)
1 tbsp Lebkuchengewürz (pumpkin spice)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
125g (1/2 cup) butter or margarine
125g (1/3 cup) honey
125g (1/2 cup) molasses
Add honey and molasses to the butter and melt in the microwave.
Put all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and combine.
Add butter/molasses mixture and eggs to the dry ingredients and stir together with a spoon.
Roll into small balls and place on line baking sheet.
Bake at 375°F or 190°C for 12-15 minutes or until surface looks cracked.
Watch us make these traditional German recipe on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/S9GJqHpqUeM
Schaut zu wie wir dieses traditionelles deutsches Rezept auf YouTube machen hier: https://youtu.be/U4X1UTT6eD8