This recipe and lovely story was handed to us by our friend, Rachel, of “Rachel’s Ruminations”. We were in search of a unique dessert recipe for some time and this fell on our laps. In turn, we share it with you.
I belong to a “dinner club,” which is a lot less formal than that name sounds. It’s just a group of friends – three or four couples, usually – who get together every so often for dinner. Each time, the dinner has a different theme: usually the cuisine of a particular country.
We’ve travelled around the world with this club: last time we had Jordanian food because my husband and I wanted to try it out before going there. In the past we’ve done Caribbean, South African, Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Lebanese, Italian, French. You name it, we’ve cooked it.
Each time, the hosts (we rotate homes) provide the main dish and the others bring the rest of the courses. It’s always delicious, and we always eat too much. Filled with good company and good conversation, these evenings are always a success.
So our theme last night was “Oerhollands,” which means traditional Dutch. We live in the Netherlands, but I don’t remember the dinner club ever doing Dutch food before.
I volunteered to contribute the dessert, which usually means I contribute two or three desserts. I do this because I’m never organized enough to try out a recipe ahead of time, and I’m always concerned that I’ll screw it up and won’t have time to prepare a substitute. And it’s nice to be able to offer people choices.
I started off yesterday morning by baking an appeltaart: a Dutch apple pie. This is quite easy to do, easier than an American apple pie because the crust is more cake-like and harder to ruin (I’m speaking from experience here!). There are a million versions of the recipe online. I had the bonus of being able to use apples I picked straight off our own trees.
But my second dessert was the real challenge: a spekkoek. “Spekkoek” translates as “bacon cake,” but it has no relationship to bacon, so I have no idea why it’s called that. It may be because if you squint hard and use a lot of imagination, you might see a slight visual resemblance. It may or may not have originated in Indonesia, Holland’s former colony. Although we’ve never been to Indonesia, we love Indonesian food, so it was a good cake to try.
Spekkoek is a layer cake. However, that name makes it sound deceptively simple. This layer cake has to have at least ten layers, and it is essentially broiled rather than baked.
It’s a tedious recipe and one needs the courage to attack this recipe. However, if you’re looking to impress and the guests are important to you, it’s worth the trial. Below is the recipe.
This recipe was originally adapted from a recipe published on, “The Dutch Table” website.Print
Dutch spiced layer cake.
- Whip the butter until light and fluffy.
- Whisk the egg yolks and whites together with the sugar and vanilla extract .
- Add the flour, fold through gently.
- Add the whipped butter, mix.
- Divide the batter over two bowls. Add the spices to one of the bowls, then mix.
- Preheat the oven to 300 F.
- Prepare a spring form with butter and flour.
- Spoon ½ cup of the unspiced batter into the form and let it spread.
- Bake 10 minutes in the preheated oven.
- Spoon ½ cup of the spiced batter on top of the first layer and let it spread.
- Bake 10 minutes.
- Place after every 4 layers a piece of baking paper on top and use the round side of a spoon to rub the cake firmly. Remove the baking paper and brush the cake with a little butter.
- Repeat this until both the batters are finished.
- Leave to cool in the form.
Spekkoek is a cake that can be stored for at least a week , when wrapped securely. Cut thin slices and serve with with some whipped or clotted cream. Pair with some enriched wine (tawny port preferred) or pour some strong coffee.
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Dutch
Keywords: Dutch, Dutch-Indonesian, layer cake, spiced cake, spekkoek