Visiting The Dutch Countryside

Travelblog about The Netherlands | Exploring The Netherlands beyond the crowds

Dutch Spice Cake (Ontbijtkoek) Recipe: Enjoy A Dutch Cinnamon Cake

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Slices of 'ontbijtkoek', traditional Dutch spice bread, with butter.

Are you thinking of making a traditional Dutch honey cake recipe? Then this ontbijtkoek recipe is the one you’ve been searching for. It’s quite a dense cake, but that’s the way it is supposed to be. I can’t say much more, except for the fact that this Dutch spice loaf will be making you happy.

Ontbijtkoek, even though it translates to ‘breakfast cake’ or ‘breakfast cookie’, is neither cake nor a cookie. It’s tough to explain the texture and why it’s named the way it is, especially since we don’t eat it as cake. For us, ontbijtkoek is eaten as a snack during the day, a little extra at breakfast, on buttered bread, etc. It’s one of those things that gives you a lot of energy quick, due to the sugar and the fibres.

History Dutch Spice Cake (Ontbijtkoek) in The Netherlands

Ontbijtkoek has existed in The Netherlands for centuries but originally came this way from Greece and Egypt. Over time it has involved in the current form of making this ontbijtkoek recipe. In The Netherlands, the brand Peijnenburg is the absolute market leader. And, in The Netherlands, around 100 million ontbijtkoeken are sold each year.

Kruidkoek is not the same as ontbijtkoek. What is the difference? Do you ask me? The spices. Ontbijtkoek has cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Ingredients of kruidkoek are cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, coriander, allspice, mace and cardamom. If you’re looking for a Dutch ginger cake recipe, you will need to try this kruidkoek recipe.

If you look at the ingredients below, you can easily see that this is not a Dutch ginger cake but a Dutch cinnamon cake. But, both are very tasty (in my humble opinion).

Dutch Spice Cake (Ontbijtkoek) Recipe


  • 250 gr dark rye flour
  • 150 gr brown sugar
  • +- 150- 200 ml milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1,5 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 0,5 teaspoon nutmeg
  • A pinch of salt
  • Butter (to grease the baking shape)
  • Optional: You can add a bit of dark ‘stroop’ or Dutch syrup to make this cake a bit stickier (you can add it when it’s done baking and smear it on top, or add a little to the batter, I prefer the latter).

Good for around 6 people – 10 minutes preparation – 1 hour to cook


1. Filter the flour into a bowl and add the spices, baking soda, a touch of salt and milk. If you want your ontbijtkoek to be moister, you can add more milk; otherwise, stick to the 150 ml. It also depends on how big your teaspoons are and if you add a bit more spices. So, I can recommend you to have a bit of extra milk next to you, so you can add it if the batter is way too thick. Now, let’s continue with the next step on this recipe for ontbijtkoek.

2. Mix this batter extremely well; you do not want any lumps.

3. Grease your bread pan with butter.

4. You can taste the batter to see if you like the combination of spices or if you prefer to add a little bit more of one (or all).

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5. When you’re satisfied with the Dutch cake batter, put the dough inside the greased bread tin.

6. Bake the ontbijtkoek at 150 degrees Celsius for around 1 hour (check in the meantime, as every oven is different). Put a knife or a wooden skewer to see whether it’s ready: If they come out dry, that means that the ontbijtkoek is finished. If not, leave it in for a bit longer.

7. Leave the Dutch spice layer cake to cool down inside the bread tin. Only take it out after it has been completely cooled down: this is a must.

8. After you take the ontbijtkoek recipe out, wrap it into foil, so it stays moist.

9. Slice a piece of your freshly made ontbijtkoek and put some butter on it: That’s the traditional way. Some people also eat slices of this Dutch spice cake recipe on buttered bread or put Dutch chocolate sprinkles and butter on their piece of ontbijtkoek. This Dutch coffee cake recipe is very easy and delicious.

Handy tools to use for this recipe

I hope you enjoyed learning how to make this ontbijtkoek recipe and that you like creating this Dutch ontbijtkoek recipe.

There are other similar Dutch spice cake recipes, but they are all different (I will update the list with links to the recipes once they are online):

  • Groninger Koek recipe
  • Kruidkoek recipe
  • Deventer Koek recipe
  • Bossche koek
  • Gemberkoek
  • Kandijkoek
  • Oudewijvenkoek
  • Venlose peperkoek
  • Volkoren ontbijtkoek

Don’t forget to share your photos of the Dutch spice cake you’ve created with me on Instagram @visitingthedutchcountryside and Facebook @visitingthedutchcountryside so that I can share your works of art.

Share this ontbijtkoek recipe with your friends or family members who you think will love this Dutch spice cake recipe!



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