Ontbijtkoek (Dutch Spice Bread)

Susan, AKA Kiwicook

Author: Susan, AKA Kiwicook

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Ontbijtkoek (Dutch Spice Bread)

For the month of December, Andrea from 4pure took us on a trip to the Netherlands. She challenged us to take our taste buds on a joyride through the land of sugar and spice by baking three different types of Dutch sweet bread.

I couldn’t wait to make Ontbijtkoek. Growing up within a Dutch family, this spiced bread was something we were pretty familiar with. For those of you who haven’t tried it yet, it’s akin to a ginger loaf but with additional spices. It’s an unusual blend of flavours and textures – soft, yet a little chewy; dry, yet moist and sticky on the outside; sweet, yet spicy and slightly bitter with a hint of caramel. And, it goes oh so well with a generous swipe of fresh butter – in fact it’s compulsory. As is a cup of hot tea alongside. 

The Daring Kitchen provided us with a few variations of Dutch spiced bread to choose from, including this one from Nicole at ‘The Dutch Table’. I loved its use of rye flour – long a traditional ingredient of Ontbijtkoek, but used less and less. And, while we’re talking about authentic Dutch recipes, you simply must check out Nicole’s blog – what she doesn’t know about Dutch cookery isn’t worth knowing.

This recipe was simplification personified – throw all the ingredients together, pour it in the tin, and bake. How simple is that?! And the result? Well, it was agreed all round that you just couldn’t get better.

Ontbijtkoek (Dutch Spice Bread)

Ontbijtkoek (Dutch Spice Bread)

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Resting Time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 1 Loaf


  • 1 cup rye flour, if you don’t have rye, use all-purpose flour instead
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp each of cardamom, ginger, coriander and ground cloves
  • ½ cup of dark brown sugar, I used dark muscovado
  • ¼ cup dark molasses
  • ½ cup of honey
  • 1 cup of milk
  • Pinch of salt


  • Heat the oven to 150°C (300°F). Grease a loaf pan (mine measured 8.5 x 4.5 inches) and line the base with baking paper.
  • Mix all the ingredients together into a smooth batter and pour into the loaf pan.
  • Bake for about 70-80 minutes or until the cake is done (a skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean and the surface should be firm and spring back when touched).
  • Transfer to a cake rack and cool. Once cool, take out of pan and wrap in foil or plastic wrap to keep it from drying out, and also so that the outside surface can develop its usual sticky crust. It’s common practice to leave the loaf for a day before eating it for the flavours to enhance (but you can absolutely eat it the day you make it).
  • Serve with butter and a nice cup of tea.


Ontbijtkoek keeps well for several days (some say up to 2 weeks) and, in fact, enhances in flavour over that time. Store, wrapped in plastic wrap or foil, in a bread bin.
Keyword Bread, Dutch Spice Bread, Ontbijtkoek
Tried this recipe?Let us know how if you liked it in the comments below!
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Susan, AKA Kiwicook
About The Author
Susan, also known as the Kiwi Cook, hails from Levin, New Zealand, and has a unique Kiwi-Dutch-British heritage that influenced her culinary upbringing. As an artist, tutor, writer, and editor, Susan dedicates her weekends to creating delectable dishes. Her food philosophy embraces moderation and listening to her body's needs.


  1. Well done on this challenge 🙂 Your Dutch Spice Bread looks fantastic! I loved this challenge so simple and so delicious!

  2. It looks great! My dad’s Dutch so we eat a lot of ontbijtkoek too 🙂

  3. I’m an American living in South Africa with my Dutch husband who decided that ontbijtkoek would be a good snack for him and his tummy troubles. We don’t have all purpose flour here and I was told to use half cake flour and half bread flour. I’m sure they have rye flour as rye bread is very popular especially here in Pretoria. My husband even thinks we may be able to find the cake in our nearby supermarket that carries Dutch products including stroopwafel. Your ingredient list more aligns with what I can get here, e.g., dark muscovado sugar. I’ll try to make it this weekend. Will report back!

    • Hi Janet! The rye flour is definitely what gives this bread its distinctive flavor. Hope you can find what you need- it’s definitely worth it and I’m sure it’ll be a hit with your husband! Best of luck!

      • Okay, I cheated. I found ontbijtkoek at the supermarket here in Pretoria. BUT I did buy rye flour and molasses as I now know what it tastes like. My husband would be happy with anything. Our domestic worker as they are called here is starting to bake and sell her wares and wants to learn about this also. She’s better at this than I am. First, we have to go through the two cakes I bought…Bongi keeps coming back for a slice with her rooibos tea. My husband eats it with butter as the Dutch do everything!

        • Haha.. I don’t blame you for buying it! It will be interesting to hear how it goes when you come to make your own. And I’m with your husband.. you eat it slathered with butter! 🙂

  4. I was wondering if I don’t have rye flour, and you substitute 2 cups regular AP flour for it, do you also use the additional 1 cup flour too?
    Thanks, going to surprise my mom, who is Dutch.

    • Hi Pauline. Sorry, I can see my instructions are a bit confusing.. 2 cups regular flour in total. Hope your mum enjoys it!

  5. I use this recipe anytime I’m making ontbijtkoek. I reccomend mincing candied ginger and adding that to the batter as well. It adds a delicious extra kick of ginger.

  6. hi, im indonesian, i really wanna know, what is the texture of this cake,. in my country , this cake is pretty popular, especially among the elderly, but the texture is like common cake, they modified with adding more ingredient, llike more eggs, spekuk spice (all in one, taste so dfferrent), ovalet emulsion, no honey, no molasses, milk powder…

    so im so curios what is the real texture of this cake, i’ve made one, and it’s more sticky, bcos the honey, myb


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