Dutch Spice Cake

The Netherlands is a tiny country. To give you an idea, it’s just a 4 hour drive from the very north of the country to the most southern point. Getting from east to west is an even shorter journey! And yet, despite the small size, we still manage to have regional differences.

Take this Dutch spice cake for example, which goes by many different names. Depending on your geographical location it can be known as:

  • Spice cake
  • Pepper cake (even though there’s no pepper in there)
  • Honey cake
  • Breakfast cake (yes, it’s nice for breakfast, but any other time of day too)

It took me a while before I found out it’s all exactly the same cake…

A few years ago this cake got even more popular because it was promoted as a healthy (!!) snack by a best selling Dutch diet book. I still wonder why, because when you look at the ingredients there’s no way anyone with any common sense would promote this as the healthiest snack.

Is it delicious? It certainly is! But like all cakes, just not something to eat as a daily habit, but as a treat in the weekend for example. It does explain the popularity of that particular diet though!

I like to make it for the weekend and yes, I even eat it for breakfast (with a thick layer of butter…)
This recipe is adapted from the Dutch version of the magazine Delicious (December 2011). I’ve replaced the oats the recipe originally calls for by buckwheat flour, because I didn’t like the ‘chunky’ oats in this cake.
This cake is even better the next day, keep it well wrapped in foil to prevent it from drying.

Bon appétit!

Dutch Spice Cake recipe


  • 160 gr (1 + ½ cup) of all purpose flour
  • 90 gr (7/8 cup) of buckwheat flour *
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 315 gr (7/8 cup + 1 tbsp) of golden syrup
  • 125 gr (1/2 cup + 1 tbsp) of unsalted butter
  • 160 gr (1/2 + ⅓ cup) of packed brown sugar
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup + 1 tsp) of milk
  • 1 egg


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C (356 F)
  2. Line the bottom of a cake tin with baking paper and grease the rest of the tin
  3. Mix all the dry ingredients
  4. Melt the butter, syrup and sugar together in a saucepan with a thick bottom over low heat
  5. Once melted, mix in with the dry ingredients until well mixed
  6. Mix in the egg and the milk
  7. Pour the mixture in the prepared cake tin
  8. Bake for 50 minutes, use a skewer to test, if it comes out dry, the cake is done.


(*) You can replace the buckwheat flour by all purpose flour