Boterkoek (Dutch Butter Cake) for Koninginnedag!

Whew! We’ve just had all the excitement of the Royal Wedding in London (congrats to Wills and Kate!), so now we look across the water to the Netherlands. Yes, we are celebrating Koninginnedag, the official birthday of Queen Beatrix.

And in honour of that, we’re also got a funky Dutch-themed header, with windmills and tulips in the Dutch national colour, orange.

Like our Queen Elizabeth II, Beatrix’s actual birthday is sometime in February January, but she wisely decided that if her birthday was to be a public holiday, it was much more sensible to stick with 30 April, the birthday of her mother, Queen Juliana, given that there is at least a sporting chance of nice weather, and a resulting happier population.

If Dutch food is something you’re not too familiar with, a selection of foods include anijsblokjes, poffertjes, appeltaart, muisjes and mini Queen Beatrix cakes. OK, that last one is made up. Possibly. And then there are the usual suspects – stroopwafels, fries with mayonnaise, plus gouda and edam cheese. But today we are looking at boterkoek, roughly translating as “butter cake”, which is a bit of a hidden gem of baking in the Low Countries.

Boterkoek is a traditional Dutch recipe, somewhere between a tart and shortbread. It’s got lots of butter and has an almond flavour, reminiscent of frangipane, and makes a great mid-morning treat with a cup of coffee. But given just how key butter is the flavour of this recipe, really, really try to use the best, freshest butter you can, and don’t even think of cracking open a packet of margarine or (shudder) non-dairy spread. If you’re trying to be healthy, make it properly, then just enjoy a small slice of the real thing.

It’s also simple to make, so perfect if you’ve got to produce something at short notice. Eet smakelijk!

To make boterkoek:

• 150g butter
• 200g caster sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
• 1 egg, beaten
• 200g plain flour
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 20g flaked almonds

Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Line a 23cm (9 inch) cake tin with greaseproof paper.

In a medium bowl, cream the butter, sugar and almond extract until light and fluffy.

Remove one teaspoon of the beaten egg and set aside. Pour the rest of the egg into the mixture, and stir well. Add the flour and baking powder, and mix until you have a smooth dough.

Transfer the mixture to a baking tin, and pat down with the back of a spoon until smooth (you might find it easier to use clean hands to smooth the mixture). Mix the teaspoon of egg with a teaspoon of water, and brush on top of the boterkoek. Sprinkle with the flaked almonds, and bake for 25-30 minutes until just golden and firm to the touch.

Worth making? Boterkoek is a really simple recipe with surprisingly good results for something so easy. I’m also happy to report that this recipe has been tested on real life Dutch people, who all agreed that it did indeed taste like grandmother’s version. Definitely give this one a try, and great to mix up in a hurry when you have surprise visitors.


Filed under Recipe, Sweet Things

18 responses to “Boterkoek (Dutch Butter Cake) for Koninginnedag!

  1. I so look forward to your posts. I’ve tried out many of the recipes, and many I have simply stored for future reference. Your obvious passion and commitment to conveying your own love of savouring the preparation and eating of good food really comes across – enough to trigger a salivatory response in me as I eagerly read through each new posting.
    Kia Ora and Many Thanks from NZ !

    • One question: Is almond extract the same as almond essence?

      • Ooh, good question. I checked what I used – it’s actually Langdale’s essence of almond, but it claims on the bottle to be made from almond extract (i.e. pure bitter almond oil). So provided you’re using something that is of decent quality, I think they are interchangeable. I suspect the essence contains some alcohol to make it mix better with the other ingredients. The main thing is that you want a subtle hint of almonds, and for it not to be overpowering, so check how strong it is, as probably use less, not more, if you’re unsure. Good luck!

    • Thanks! It means a lot to know you are looking forward to my posts. If you’ve got any comments on them – ingredients or description, then please let me know!

  2. Ohhh what a fantastic wedding. I watched the entire broadcast and it was so exciting. The British sure knows how to throw a party.
    Love your Butter Cake, it looks moist and delicious. I am always looking forward to seeing what your next post is going to be. Keep up the good work.

    • On behalf of Britain – thanks! There is still such a buzz here, and all the flags were lefts along the Mall and up Regent’s Street. We also had three wonderfully sunny days afterwards, so the mood of the national has really been raised. I think I watched the TV for 8 hours almost non-stop, and then when they had the vintage plane flyover, I could see the planes 30 seconds later from my house. Amazing!

      Glad you like the recipe – I’ve been trying to keep things varied and interesting, so glad that you like the posts.

  3. Michelle T.

    is plan flour plain flour?? and 200g would equal slightly less than 2 cups?

  4. Justin Clarke

    Can you do them as individual size in a muffin tin?

    • Hi Justin – interesting question, and the honest answer is that I have no idea! I’ve only ever seen boterkoek as a single large cake that is cut into slices. However, I guess there is no reason that it would not work, you would just have to adjust the baking time accordingly. If you do it, let me know how it works out!

  5. Annelies Smeekes

    I have been making Boterkoek for over 40 years an old recipe from my mum and this recipe is exactly the same so I was stoked. Some times I use grated lemon rind instead of almond essence and that is very nice also as well as filling it with almond meal paste especially around Christmas time.
    It is a great recipe

    • Hi Annelies – good to hear this recipe is authentic! I got it via friends. I like the idea of using the lemon zest too. A good one to serve the neighbours here in London during the Dutch coronation perhaps?

  6. Queen Beatrix birthday is actually on January 31. When Princess Juliana was expecting, all the souvenir makers and porcelain factories were ready to go except for putting the date in. January was already on every item. Quite a bit of anxiety occurred when the 29th and the 30th came and went. Finally, on the 31th, the little princess was born. A big sigh of relief went up by all the manufacturers of the souvenirs.

    • Hi Paula – of course you’re right! I’ve changed the post to note Queen Beatrix was born in January.

      That’s an interesting story about the souvenirs – it must have been a bit harder all those years ago than I imagine it is today! Probably something similar is going to happen in Britain some time in July 2013…

  7. denese

    I love dutch cooking as my husband is dutch and always try to give him treats .you can buy individual little cakes that sound very much like this from dutch bakeries in aust. that is what made decide to google something, and I came to your site. I will make the cake tomorrow, and then I will know if its similar or the same.Thank you.
    denese aust

  8. Pingback: Top 14 Dutch desserts: Appelflappen and more! - Muffin Paradise

  9. Nicki Baughman

    I absolutely love this cake. A Dutch lady at my local farmer’s market sells them and I used to buy it all the time. I got a KitchenAid mixer as an engagement present and I looked up and found your recipe, spot on. I took it to work and it was completely gobbled up! Thank you.

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