For the month of December, Andrea from 4pure took us on a trip to the Netherlands. She challenged us to take our taste buds on a joyride through the land of sugar and spice by baking three different types of Dutch sweet bread. Out of the three sweet breads she suggested, I picked the pepperkoek – the dutch spice cake as I had just made a batch of gingerbread spice.
The Pepperkoek or the ‘pepper cake’ is a popular Netherlands cake. Also known as ontbijtkoek and kruidkoek. Peperkoek was a special and expensive treat in the old days as the spices used in this cake were fairly expensive and hard to come by. Ontbijtkoek (literally translated breakfast cake) or peperkoek (pepper cake) is an integral part of the breakfast table in Holland. It is often spiced with cloves, cinnamon, ginger, succade (candied citrus peel) and nutmeg. Several parts of the Netherlands have their own local recipe, of which the most famous is “Oudewijvenkoek” (old wives’ cake) which is mostly eaten in the northern regions, and is flavored with aniseed. Ontbijtkoek is traditionally served at breakfast with a thick layer of butter on top, as a replacement for bread. However due to its sweet taste it is also served as a snack.
Pepperkoek – The Dutch Spiced Cake #Daring Bakers
Gingerbread Spice Blend
- 6 tablespoons 40 gm cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons 10 gm nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon 5 gm cloves
- 1 teaspoon 5 gm cardamom
- 1 teaspoon 5 gm ground white pepper
- 1 teaspoon 5 gm ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon 5 gm ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon 5 gm ground star anise
- 1 teaspoon 5 gm ground mace
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon 15 ml cane sugar syrup
- 1 cup less 2 tablespoons 220 ml lukewarm water
- 1 tablespoon 15 ml (½ oz) (15 gm) ground gingerbread spices
- 1¼ cup 300 ml (8¾ oz) (250 gm) brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2 cups 480 ml (8¾ oz) (250 gm) whole-wheat flour
- 1¾ teaspoons 8 gm baking powder
- Grind all the whole spices and mix them in with the ground ones. If you have all the spices in their whole form, grind them all into a fine powder.
- Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/ and line 12“x5“ baking tin with parchment paper.
- Put the egg, syrup, water, spices and brown sugar in a bowl. Whisk until everything is dissolved.
- Add the whole-wheat flour and the baking powder into the bowl and mix all the ingredients with a wooden spoon until the flour is wet. It doesn’t matter if there are some lumps left.
- Pour into the baking tin and bake in a preheated moderate 350°F 45 minutes. You may need more time to finish baking .. almost upto 70 minutes.
- To check if the sweet bread is done, stick a wooden skewer or toothpick into the middle. If it comes out clean the sweet bread is ready.
- Take the cake out of the oven, allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes
- After the 5 minutes take the cake out of the pan and let the cake cool down to room temperature before serving.
- Serve with lot of butter and honey and a cup of coffee. Bliss.
And what a great snack it makes. Filled with sweet spice aromas and the wholesome nutty flavor of whole wheat. Quick to put together and a no fuss baking project. Make this for the snack box this winter.