Ontbijtkoek- Dutch Breakfast Cake



Pearl sugar

Woohoo! I had another recipe published on someone elses website.

Many thanks to Rene from “Swaffels” ‘Delectable indulgence’. Purveyors of ‘pearl sugar’.

Check them out at www.swaffels.com and look for the recipe page and scroll down to…..

Dutch breakfast cake….“Ontbijtkoek”


This could be translated to “first bite cake” in Dutch. But it is neither used strictly at breakfast time, nor is it a cake as most understand cake, as it is a heavy kind of dry long lasting, bready, spiced cake. But very tasty after all that…

Pearl sugar is made from normal cane sugar but comes all knobbly like little fresh water pearls and in various sizes. The picture here of pearl sugar was made in Belgium and I picked up a small container of it while we were there at the beginning of the year. Hey, don’t laugh!…I brought home salt from Paris and London!




Ontbijtkoek and speculaas sandwich


  • 2 cups of self raising flour
  • 1/2 (half) cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 (one third) cup molasses or treacle
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tsp. each of ground cloves, cinnamon and ginger
  • 1/2 (half) tsp. grated nutmeg
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 4 tblspn pearl sugar


  1. Combine all the ingredients except pearl sugar, and mix to a smooth paste. Butter an oblong cake tin, fill with the cake mix, sprinkle with pearl sugar and bake for about one hour in a slow oven (about 150C).
  2. When cooked, allow to cool and keep in a tin or in the bread-bin for 24 hours before slicing.

This cake keeps moist when put in the bread-bin with the bread. The Dutch serve it with their tea time, buttered or on a slice of bread for breakfast….cake sandwich!

My favourite way is buttered ontbijtkoek with a speculaas biscuit on top!

A cake sandwich or a biscuit sandwich is not as strange as it sounds! It can be traced back to Victorian times, when, in 1861 Mrs Isabella Beeton, in her “Book of Household Management” wrote a recipe for a ‘Toast sandwich’. It is a very simple and economical sandwich made by putting a thin slice of toast between two thin slices of bread with a layer of butter, and adding salt and pepper to taste.

Although this sandwich is very simple, the difference of textures presented by the butter, the slices of bread and the toast can make it a surprisingly pleasant experience.

‘Mouthfeel’ is the highlight of the toast sandwich. With the diversity of textures and flavours of different kinds of bread, many variations can be made in order to “enrich the experience of the consumer”. For example, a toast sandwich can be made with:

  • Cold or hot toast
  • Melted or room-temperature butter
  • Garlic or herb toast (or bread)
  • Raisin bread with white bread toast, or vice versa

Butter can also be substituted with a little extra-virgin olive oil when using savoury variants of bread and toast.

Don’t knock it till you try it!




RONIKA. 08.07.2012

Great Site Corrie. Looking forward to more Dutch recipes. xoxo


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