Ontbijtkoek AKA Dutch Breakfast Cake is delightfully sweet and deliciously spiced. A fantastic snack cake to be eaten for breakfast or as an afternoon treat.
Ontbitjkoek is directly translated into Breakfast Cake. This cake is Dutch or Flemish in origin and is also known as peperkoek (pepper cake) because this cake contains pepper! In Afrikaans it would be ontbytkoek.
This delightful Dutch spice cake is eaten at breakfast, or as an afternoon snack, usually with a healthy smattering of butter.
Typical ontbitjkoek recipes consist of plain wheat flour, rye flour, a variety of spices, honey, molasses, sugar and milk but do not contain butter or eggs. Which is more typical of gingerbreads or ginger cakes. This is why this cake which is heavily laden with sugar was first promoted as a "healthy" snack in the Netherlands. But let's be serious, this is not a healthy cake. But it is a delicious one!
If you like spiced cakes - why not try out my spiced date and nut loaf? Or my Gingerbread Cake.
Even though I have Dutch heritage, I did not grow up eating many of the more traditional Dutch foods out there. However, sometime in my 20's these delightful international aisles or food sections began to pop up in supermarkets across the country. It was here I was first introduced to Dutch baked goods such as stroopwafels and this spiced breakfast cake.
What You Need for this Recipe
This recipe will need mixing bowls, a kitchen scale, a whisk, a rubber or silicone spatula, and a loaf tin.
- Plain Flour/All-Purpose Flour/ Standard Grade Flour
- Wholewheat/Wholemeal Flour/Rye Flour - not everyone has rye flour in their pantry, and in some cases it can be hard to come by. Which is why I opted for wholewheat flour in this particular recipe.
- Spices: Ground cinnamon, ground cardamom, ground ginger, ground coriander, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, ground pepper.
- Brown Sugar
- Black molasses (blackstrap molasses) - my recipe contains less molasses than most recipes, because it can be a very strong flavor. However, even though this recipe contains less molasses, it does come through as a distinct flavour in this cake.
- Honey - there is quite a lot of honey in this recipe, but it really doesn't come out as a forward flavor in the cake.
- Milk - standard whole milk.
- Vanilla Extract
NOTE - many recipes include ground anise, but I am not a fan of that particular spice, so I have left it out of this recipe.
Please refer to the recipe card for details.
A true ontbijtkoek is made with rye flour. And as such, simply replace the wholewheat flour in this recipe with rye flour for a more authentic taste. If you have neither rye nor wholewheat, substitute the wholewheat with plain/all-purpose flour. If you have rye flour I highly recommend using some in this recipe!
Blackstrap molasses is not a flavour that everyone has grown up with. And I have found many comments online that blackstrap molasses is bitter and overpowering. This is a flavour that I have grown up with, and I like it. In fact, South Africa has a pretty popular and famous Wilson's Champion original toffee that tastes like blackstrap molasses.
That being said, the quantity of black molasses in this recipe is slightly less than what is in a typical recipe. Black molasses can also be substituted with treacle or even golden syrup. However, this will result in a "milder" breakfast cake.
Making Ontbijtkoek/Dutch Spiced Breakfast Cake
Making this cake is super easy it's actually a bit ridiculous how easily this super delicious cake comes together.
Step 1 - Grease and line a loaf tin. Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan, placing the rack in the middle of the oven.
Step 2 - In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, including the brown sugar, and whisk together until well incorporated.
Step 3 - Warm the milk either over the stovetop on low heat or pop it in the microwave until warm but not scalded. Pour in the honey, molasses, and vanilla, whisking until well combined.
Step 4 - Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until combined and the batter is smoothish. Do not overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 50 to 60 minutes until a cake tester, skewer or toothpick comes out clean. of the bake.
Step 5 - Remove from oven and allow to cool in the tin for 15 to 25 minutes before lifting out and placing on a wire cooling rack to cool completely before serving. This cake is best served the next day.
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Pro Tips for this Recipe
This cake is baked at a low temperature because of the high sugar content, and the fact that it contains honey. Baking this cake at a higher temperature would result in burnt sugar and no one likes burnt sugar.
Check your cake halfway. If the cake is browning too quickly, cover it with foil for the rest of the baking.
If your honey has crystalized, do not worry, simply heat the honey up until it becomes runny again. I usually just pop the honey into the microwave in 15-second bursts. For this recipe, if the honey is crystallized, you can heat it up with the milk.
Weighing & Measuring Ingredients
Weighing ingredients with a kitchen scale is more accurate than using measuring cups. All my recipes are developed and tested using grams only.
However, I have activated the grams-to-cups conversions on the recipe card. Simply click on "cups". For these conversions, cups are equal to 240mL/8 fl oz, tablespoons are 15mL and teaspoons are 5mL.
Ovens and Air-Fryers
The temperatures stated are for conventional ovens. For convection, fan-forced, fan-assisted, or air-fryers, the temperature must be reduced by 20°C/25°F.
For baking, make sure the oven is fully preheated, and that the rack is in the middle of the oven. Open the oven as little as possible. For best baking results use an oven thermometer.
Remember that all ovens work slightly differently and bake times may need to be adjusted for your specific oven.
This cake will keep for several days in an airtight container at room temperature. And can be frozen, wrapped and stored in an airtight container for about 2 months.
Yes. In fact, it is recommended that this cake is allowed to rest overnight or for up to 24 hours before serving. This is a great cake to be made the day before an event.
Allow the cake to cool in the tin completely, covered with a clean kitchen towel or foil while it cools. This holds in moisture and softens the outside of the cake.
Ontbitjkoek directly translates to breakfast cake.
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Ontbijtkoek (Dutch Breakfast Cake)
- 150 grams plain flour (all-purpose/standard grade)
- 150 grams wholewheat flour (rye flour)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- 100 grams light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 250 mL milk
- 160 grams honey
- 60 grams black molasses
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Grease and line a loaf tin. Preheat the oven to 160°C/320F, placing the rack in the middle of the oven.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, including the brown sugar and whisk together until well incorporated.150 grams plain flour,150 grams wholewheat flour,1 teaspoon salt,1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon,1 teaspoon ground cardamom,½ teaspoon ground ginger,½ teaspoon ground coriander,¼ teaspoon ground cloves,¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg,¼ teaspoon ground pepper,100 grams light brown sugar,1 tablespoon baking powder
- Warm the milk either over the stovetop on low heat or pop it in the microwave until warm but not scalded. Pour in the honey, molasses and vanilla, whisking until well combined.250 mL milk,160 grams honey,60 grams black molasses,2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until combined and the batter is smoothish. Do not overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 50 to 60 minutes until a cake tester, skewer or toothpick comes out clean. of the bake.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool in the tin for 15 to 25 minutes before lifting out and placing on a wire cooling rack to cool completely before serving. This cake is best served the next day.
Nutrition information is an estimate. If scaling the recipe remember to scale your cook and bakeware accordingly. As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs,I earn from qualifying purchases.
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Martina Tetenburg says
I'm from Holland, and at the moment I do live in Zürich, Switzerland. I did grow up with ontbijtkoek. Here in Zürich I can buy, only in november, onbijtmoek made in France, what tastes very good. I tried to make ontbijtkoek once, it went not very well. I will try your recipe, married with an englishman, who always laughs when I do eat this healthy koek on my bread. Martina (Tineke Tetenburg)
Love hearing from people from across the globe, and it's always interesting to find out when and where they can actually buy certain foods, thank you for your comment. I hope this ontbijtkoek turns out perfectly for you! And brings back some memories of nostalgia 🙂
Martina Tetenburg says
Regards, Martina (Tineke)