Dutch Ontbijtkoek Recipe

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Ontbijtkoek is a spice-fragrant sponge cake coming from the Netherlands. It has special aroma and taste. Best served with a cup of black coffee or tea.


I spent my childhood in Indonesia. In the afternoon, there was this cake seller who would come to the neighborhood to sell cakes and afternoon snack, that varies from traditional dessert to modern cakes.

Ontbjitkoek is one of them that attracted my attention. The color is caramel brown with some roasted pine nuts or kenari on top. The cake is so fragrant with spices.

I found out from my mom that this cake was a culinary heritage from the Dutch. It was taught by the Dutch to Indonesian women.

What is Ontbijtkoek?

Ontbijtkoek is breakfast cake in Dutch. It is made with spice so it is very fragrant. In Indonesia, during colonization a lot of housewives enjoyed baking ontbijtkoek for breakfast and tea-time snack.

The main spices used for this cake is cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. They are mixed together in powder form. These spices are mixed in the cake batter. When baked, the cake smells so wonderfully exotic!


Ontbijtkoek originally came from the Netherlands and Belgium.

Dutch people are familiar with this cake. Even though they rarely bake at home, but they love the spice aroma and there are many stores selling Ontbijtkoek.

During Dutch colonization, Indonesian housewives were thought by Dutch women to bake this spice cake. Since the country is so rich with spices, it  was  easy to get the ingredients.

It is very delicious when eaten with a cup of black coffee or hot tea. It was served as breakfast and as tea-time snack.

My dear aunt has taught me how to make ontbijtkoek the perfect way, not too dry, and not too oily. The moistness is just right! And sprinkled on top with Indonesian walnut called kenari. The cake is just simply delicious!

I have tried this recipe since I was young. So many of my friends kept asking for more. My customers did a lot of repeat orders for ontbijtkoek.

Ontbijtkoek cake can be dry if the moisture is not properly balanced. In this recipe, I have adjusted the butter and flour so that the texture of the cake is moist enough and still have the original flavor.

You really must try this cake!

Dutch Ontbijtkoek Recipe

  • 5 eggs
  • 87 grams of brown sugar or palm sugar
  • 2 grams of salt
  • 80 gr flour
  • 12 grams of cornstarch
  • 5 grams of spekkoek spice
  • 75 grams of unsalted butter (melted)
  • Almond slices or Indonesian kenari bites

If you can’t find kenari in your area, you can always use almond slices or pine nuts as substitute.

Spekoek Spices

Spekkoek spice is a mix of several spices that is usually used in making Indonesian layer cake (lapis legit). It is a fragrant mix of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and cardamom. It is almost similar to speculaas spice and pumpkin pie spice.

  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground anise
  • 1 tsp ground cloves

Mix all spices evenly, store in a closed container in room temperature.

How To

  1. Mix eggs, palm sugar and salt with high speed for 10 minutes or until the batter is thick and leaves trail.
  1. Sieve flour, cornstarch, and spekoek spices into the batter. Mix and fold with a spatula. You have to be swift in folding the batter.
  1. Take some of the batter and put it into the melted butter. Mix well and pour back into the mixing bowl.
  1. Mix and fold using a spatula until all is well mixed.
  1. Pour into a greased pan lined with baking paper. Bake in a preheated oven of 180°C for 25-30 minutes depending on your oven.
  1. Take out from the pan and  let it cool completely.
  1. Cut the cake in squares. Enjoy with a cup of coffee.


  • Instead of kenari, you can use walnut bites or almond slices.
  • If you don’t have organic palm sugar, you can use brown sugar instead.
  • For spekoek spices, you can mix cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: What if I don’t have spekkoek powder? Can I substitute it?

A: If you can’t find spekkoek powder, you can always mix it yourself. I have attached the recipe for spekkoek spices powder above.

Q: Can I use regular sugar instead of brown sugar or palm sugar?

A: Yes, you can. However, the flavor might be different. Brown sugar or palm sugar mixes well with spekkoek spice powder. The combination creates an exotic aroma you can’t find anywhere else.

Q: How long can this cake last?

A: Ontbijtkoek can stay fresh for up to 5 days if properly kept in the chiller. Keep it in a closed container in the refrigerator.

If you have tried this recipe and liked it, please leave a comment or tag me on my Instagram! I will be happy to check and comment! 🙂

More Indonesian cakes from the Dutch colonization era:



Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Here is an authentic ontbjitkoek recipe with almond slices or kenari from Indonesia. The spices are so fragrant and unique!


  • 5 eggs
  • 87 gr of organic palm sugar
  • 2 gr of salt
  • 80 gr all purpose flour
  • 12 gr cornstarch
  • 5 gr spekoek spices
  • 75 gr unsalted butter (melted)


  1. Mix eggs, palm sugar, and salt with high speed for 10 minutes or until you can see trails and the batter is thick.
  2. Melt butter using a microwave or low heat stove.
  3. Sieve flour into the batter. Mix and fold swiftly using a spatula.
  4. Take some of the batter, put it in the melted butter. Mix and fold.
  5. Pour back into the mixing bowl. Mix and fold using a spatula until well mixed.
  6. Pour the batter into a greased pan, lined with a baking paper.
  7. Bake in a pre-heated oven 180°C for 25-30 minutes.
  8. Take out from the pan, let it cool completely.
  9. Cut in squares. Enjoy with a cup of black coffee!


Instead of kenari, you can use walnut bites or almond slices.

If you don't have organic palm sugar, you can use brown sugar instead.

For spekoek spices, you can mix cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

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