Saturday, November 6, 2010

Honingkoek

Breakfast is always a treat in Holland. The amount of cold cuts is amazing, the cheese is fabulous and the large variety of breads always makes it difficult to choose from. If you're not in the mood for bread, you can pick a Dutch rusk, beschuit, a cracker or a large slice of Dutch "breakfast cake" or ontbijtkoek.

Ontbijtkoek is a cake-like quick bread, soft, sweet and with a variety of spices and flavors. The enticing mix of cinnamon, ground cloves and nutmeg is the basis for a large variety of different breads: ontbijtkoek is also known as peperkoek if it also contains a snuff of white pepper, honingkoek if it has an additional amount of honey, gemberkoek if the cake is studded with candied ginger or kandijkoek when the top of the cake is covered in sugary pearls.

Not all ontbijtkoeken are solely consumed for breakfast.  The koek can be sliced and eaten by itself, dry, or improved with a dab of real butter as a snack, or with a cup of coffee. Children will often get a slice to hold them over until dinner, and a popular game at birthdays and national celebrations is "koekhappen", cake nipping. Thick slices of ontbijtkoek are individually suspended on a larger rope, so that they dangle right above the heads of the, sometimes blindfolded, children. Adults on either side of the rope will lower the koek until right above the children's heads who, in order to get a bite out of the cake, have to jump up and nip at the delicacy. First one to finish the koek is declared the winner! The Dutch company Peijnenburg, famous for its koeken, uses koekhappen in most of their commercials: this one is still my favorite!

This morning I was in the mood for honingkoek. It's an easy cake to bake, it fills the house with lovely smells and it's a perfect afternoon snack for later. If you have all the ingredients, this cake can be on your breakfast table in the time it takes you to get the newspaper, make a pot of coffee and toast the bread.

This recipe is for an 8 x 4 inch loaf pan: double the recipe and you'll be able to bake two (save one in the freezer for later!), or bake a larger koek in a 9 x 5 loaf pan. If you do, stick to one egg, and increase your baking time to 50 minutes.

Honingkoek
2 cups of self-rising flour (250gr)
1/2 cup of brown sugar (75 gr)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground aniseed (optional)
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup of honey (75 gr)
1 cup of milk (120 ml)
1 egg

Grease an 8 x 4 cake pan. Preheat oven to 350F. Add all the dry ingredients to a bowl and mix together. Set the mixer on low and add the wet ingredients, one at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl once or twice. Mix until you have a smooth batter, approx. 2 minutes. Pour the batter into the pan, bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the ontbijtkoek cool on a wire rack, then slice and serve with butter. Best saved in a plastic bag at room temperature, will keep for several days.



13 comments:

  1. That looks really good!
    Can't wait to give it a try.

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  2. My daughter-in-law made this for me a few days ago. Absolutely delicious and so easy to make!! Lekker!!!

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  3. Marianne, I'm glad you liked it, it's such an easy cake to make. What a nice daughter-in-law you have! :-)

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  4. 120ml of milk is half a cup... which amount is it, 1 cup or half a cup? (We used 1 cup which seems to have turned out well but we haven't sliced it yet!)

    Anyway thanks for interesting recipe.

    - Peter

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    1. Peter, 120ml is just about half a cup, you are absolutely right. It's been a while since I baked this bread so from memory couldn't tell you if it's supposed to be 1 cup or 1/2 cup, I guess it depends a bit on how heavy you scoop the flour, in case you went with cups instead of grams. I will soon re-test this recipe and adjust where needed. For now, I'd start with half a cup and add more if needed to get a smooth batter.

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  5. I'm going to try this recipe substituting the brown sugar with additional honey, I'll also make one according to the recipe. I'll comment again after I've made and tasted them both.

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  6. I made this recipe according to the weights substituting honey for the brown sugar and using 1/2 rye flour. Then I made it according to the measures doubling the spices (because I love lots of spice), and using only 1/2 cup milk. The batter was a stiff cake batter, not runny at all, but I think that the 1/2 cup of milk is right. They are in the oven now so I haven't tasted them yet. I wanted to remember to say that 75g of honey is 1/4 cup not 1/2 cup. My first recipe has 1/2 the sweetener (honey or honey and sugar) that the second one has so we'll see which tastes better.

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  7. Love your recipe! We have always bought honeycake at our dutch store, but we moved, and it is a hit! I doubled the recipe as you said and it was gone by the end of the day!

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  8. Can you be more specific about the pan? The instructions say 'cake pan', but not what size. The pictures above look like a loaf pan was used.

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    1. Hi Megan, I used an 8 x 4 inch pan. If you have a 9 x 5 pan, double the recipe but stick with one egg.

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  9. I just love your site!
    Ik vind het echt geweldig, super lekkere recepten en die uitleg is voor ons Nederlanders ook erg leuk terug te lezen, bij sommige gebruiken sta je verder niet stil, maar koekhappen zal best vreemd zijn! ;-))
    Dank je wel!

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  10. I think my husband almost passed out when he tasted this – it has easily become a favorite around my house. This is a great, easy recipe to have on hand.

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  11. The cake tin is a small loaf tin to be more specific😀

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