Koek (Dutch Spice Cake)



Do you know the times when you’ve walked into a house and you can smell something divine being baked in the oven? The smell just wafts through the house and makes you feel warm inside… It often brings up memories of childhood, creating a nostalgic feeling towards the place and food. A lot of people would think back to when they were a kid and their mum or grandma baked something special for the family. The fact that it is something you don’t have so much as an adult makes it seem even more special.

I think that’s how my partner feels about Koek. When asking him what his favourite dessert is, he replied black forrest cake and koek. I had no idea what this ‘cook’ was so I had to look it up.

The next weekend we went to visit family and funnily enough, his mum had just baked some fresh koek. The smell of ginger and spices lingered in the house and made it smell like an old country home. I didn’t get to eat this one as it wasn’t gluten free, but I knew that it would taste fantastic.

I thought it was worth having a go at a gluten free version when I returned home. I searched the net for recipes and so many came up with different versions. I know from speaking to my partners mum that it traditionally needed to have self-raising flour, ground ginger and all spice. But that was all I knew. I was on a mission to figure it out and make my partner his favourite afternoon treat.

Here is my version of the cake:


1 cup brown sugar
1 cup gluten free plain flour
1 cup gluten free self-raising flour
1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp Dutch cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp all spice or mixed spice
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup milk


1. Preheat oven to 180 deg. Cel.
2. Place all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl
3. Add milk & egg to dry ingredients and mix with whisk. Mix until the mixture is thick and runs slowly off a spoon.
4. Place in loaf tin and cook for 40 mins or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cake.
5. Serve cake sliced and warmed up with a layer of butter. I’ve also eaten it plain with some fresh strawberries, or for an extra treat, with two scoops of ice cream – Yum!

For a more traditional loaf, double the ingredients and use a donut or bunt cake tin.


Do you have a recipe for Koek? Have you eaten koek or a similar spice cake before?

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