For as long as I can remember my mother would cook everything from scratch – I guess there was little choice in those days. In particular, for each birthday she would make all our party treats; the custard squares, cream horns and sausage rolls. I remember helping to roll out the pastry from a very young age so I think this is where my curiosity and interest in food began. My first solo cooking attempt was making a Dutch Apple Pudding from the Edmonds Cookbook.
This month I want to share a recipe from my mother’s Dutch heritage that I still make from time to time. It always makes me think of her and the wonderful way she transformed our dining table into a place to roll out copious amounts of pastry!
It is a simple recipe with no eggs or butter but definitely not gluten free. When I did my research, I found numerous other versions, but this is the one my mum and aunties constantly made. We also had it for school like bread with butter with a tasty cheese, which was envied by my friends.
Ontbijtkoek (Dutch Spiced Cake)
31/3 cups plain flour – sifted
2¼ cups packed brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1½ cups milk
1 tsp baking soda
Method: Heat oven to 180°C. Mix together the first four ingredients. Mix together the milk and baking soda, then add to the dry mix. Stir/fold with a wooden spoon or similar, don’t over beat. Pour mixture into well-greased loaf tin and bake in oven for 45 minutes, or until a skewer through the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in the tin before turning out.
Tip: This is also nice made in a round tin (with the hole in the middle) to avoid the raised middle if you prefer a “pretty” looking cake which will slice more evenly. Slice and spread with butter, then serve with a cuppa. Always best straight out of the oven when the crust is till chewy but if there is any left over, wrap in a clean dry tea towel and it will keep for some time.
Eet smakelijkt (which is how the Dutch say ‘enjoy your meal’)