This delicious spiced Dutch breakfast cake is called ontbijtkoek in the Netherlands and is addictively delicious. Just serve it plain with some unsalted thick layer of butter and you’re good to go!

Dutch breakfast cake

Dutch breakfast cake

As a kid I grew up with a slice of breakfast cake most mornings. Granted it is not the healthiest thing to eat in the morning but it is so good! The funny thing is that up until recently I had never made it myself. In the Dutch grocery store you can find various kinds of breakfast cake. You can find a Dutch honey cake, a ginger cake or any other varieties. It’s a popular thing for sure. In this case I wanted to make a Dutch spice cake as that is my all time favorite. And because I had some pearl sugar left over from another recipe (another Dutch one I might add, but I will share that later) I added that to the recipe.

Making this Dutch breakfast cake is super easy to do and you need only four ingredients to get things going plus a few spices. You can either make this recipe for ontbijtkoek with self rising flour as I did or you can use all purpose flour and add a bit of baking powder. You need brown sugar and milk. I like to use full fat milk for this. Not the skimmed variety. Technically those three ingredients are really all you need. But it wouldn’t be a spiced cake without the spices so I like to add some gingerbread spices and some cardamom. The latter is totally optional but I love cardamom so would recommend. 

Traditional Dutch recipe

There are many different recipe versions of this Dutch classic so this is the quick version. There are other versions out there that require two whole days to make it. I don’t like having to wait for two days before I can dive in so this quick bread is a good alternative and tastes any bit as good as the other versions. 

Dutch breakfast cake

Making the ontbijtkoek recipe you first take all the dry ingredients and mix them in a large bowl. You add the milk to a small saucepan and heat it gently. It doesn’t have to boil but you want it to be pretty hot. Now you add the hot milk to the dry ingredients and mix it till you have a smooth batter.

Cake pan

You can use a cake pan for this or a prepared loaf tin. Both work just fine. The cake pan is best covered with parchment paper to make sure you get it out of the tin easily. The oven is preheated to a fairly low heat. It needs about an hour in the oven before it is cooked and you don’t want it to go to fast or get too dark.

Dutch breakfast cake

You pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and you sprinkle the pearl sugar over the top. Place the breakfast cake in the middle of the oven and now it is time to wait until you can enjoy the cake. After about 50 or so minutes check how things are looking. Use a cake tester to check if the cake is cooked through and if not wait for another few minutes. How long it will take exactly will depends a bit on your oven and the size of your cake pan. So make sure to test it properly. It will give of a wonderful smell in the kitchen!

Once the breakfast cake is cooked through let it cool down to room temperature and serve with lots of butter. It is perfect at the breakfast tables but also delicious with a cup of coffee or as an afternoon snack. 

Dutch recipes

Since I am Dutch, living in the Netherlands, I will be sharing new recipes of Dutch origin on a regular basis. You can find all Dutch recipes here. This breakfast cake has many names in the Netherlands. Some call it peperkoek, ontbijtkoek, kruidkoek, zoete koek (sweet cake), pondcake, honingkoek (honey cake) and I’m pretty sure there are probably other names for this recipe out there. Some regions of the Netherlands have specific varieties such as the city of Deventer, where it is called Deventer koek. I’ve tried it. And it’s pretty much the same everywhere. 

Dutch breakfast cake

Dutch breakfast cake

5 from 1 vote
GangBreakfast, Cake and cookies

√Traditional Dutch recipe for ontbijtkoek (or breakfast cake) √with delicious spices √Perfect for breakfast, as a treat or with a cup of coffee
Decorative clock showing preparation time
Prep time 10 minutes
Cooking time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour 10 minutes

12 slices


  • Cake pan 25 cm


  • 250 g self raising flour
  • 250 g dark brown sugar
  • 250 ml milk full fat
  • 4 tbsp pearl sugar
  • 1 tbsp ginger spices
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt

  • Preheat the oven to 160˚C (320˚F) Line a cake pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Place the milk in a small saucepan and heat it until it is almost boiling but not quite.
  • Pour the milk slowly into the dry ingredients while whisking. Don't overmix! As soon as it is combined to a smooth batter you pour it into the cake pan. Sprinkle the pearl sugar over the top and bake it in the oven for about 1 hour.
  • Check after about 50 minutes how the cake is progressing. If a cake tester comes out clean the cake it cooked. If not let it cook for a little longer.


The nutritional values above are calculated per portion. The details are based on standard nutritional tables and do not constitute a professional nutritional advice.

Did you make this recipe?Mention @insimoneskitchen_ or tag #insimoneskitchen!

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Simone van den Berg

Food blogger from the Netherlands. Loves good food. Likes to create healthy and easy recipes for daily use, but also loves the occasional sweet dish. Lives in the Netherlands with her two cats; Humphrey and Buffy. Profession: Food photographer, food blogger, recipe developer and nutritionist