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World Breakfasts: Ontbijtkoek (Breakfast Cake)

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World Breakfasts: Ontbijtkoek (Breakfast Cake)


For this week’s world breakfast we’re taking a closer look at what’s served up at a typical breakfast table in the Netherlands. The Dutch, like many of their European neighbours, tend to enjoy a continental-style brekkie – cereal, bread, cheese, sausages and a selection of cold cuts. It’s all nice, but nothing to really get excited about…until you sample ontbijtkoek (here’s the pronunciation).

Ontbijtkoek is something you’ll not find on continental breakfasts anywhere else. It’s a Dutch breakfast staple and something we’re sure you’ll love. Why are we sure you’ll love it? Because the literal translation of ontbijtkoek is breakfast cake, and who doesn’t love cake for breakfast?

Ontbijtkoek is similar to ginger cake and is surprisingly healthy. It’s really easy to make too. Give this recipe a try and let us know what you think of it in the comments.  

What you’ll need(makes 1 loaf):

250g rye flour

250g plain flour

500g dark brown sugar

500ml whole milk

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 ½ tsp baking powder

What you’ll need to do:

1. Lightly grease a 2lb loaf tin (or line it with baking parchment if you prefer) and preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.

2. Pour the flours, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking powder into a mixer bowl and whisk until the ingredients have combined.

3. Put a small saucepan over high heat and heat the milk until it comes to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the brown sugar. Stir in the sugar until it has completely dissolved.

4. Add the milk to the mixer bowl with the dry ingredients and mix until a smooth batter has formed. Pour the batter into the mixer tin and bake it in the centre of the oven for 80-90 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

5. Leave the cake to cool on a wire rack and serve sliced with butter.

Top tip: to preserve the sticky exterior of the cake, wrap it in tin foil. Ontbijtkoek will keep for about four days covered in foil at room temperature and for a month covered in the freezer.  

Ontbijtkoek is something you’ll not find on continental breakfasts anywhere else. It’s a Dutch breakfast staple and something we’re sure you’ll love. Why are we sure you’ll love it? Because the literal translation of ontbijtkoek is breakfast cake, and who doesn’t love cake for breakfast?