Traditional Dutch Butter Cake (boterkoek) is an easy-to-make flat round cake that is traditionally prepared mainly with full-cream butter. That makes it very moist. It is hard to explain because it is not really a cake or a cookie. But it is somewhere in between. You just have to try it out!
What is a butter cake?
A Dutch Butter Cake, in Dutch called ‘Boterkoek‘, is a large flat round cake that is traditionally prepared mainly with full-cream butter. The cake is usually made in an easy-release cake pan with a diameter of 20-24 centimeters. The cake may only bear the name butter cake when real butter is used.
Almond halves are often used to decorate the butter cake. Some recipes also call for almond extract. But I don’t like almond extract so I didn’t use it in my recipe.
Authentic Dutch Butter Cake is something different than Flemish Buttercake. Flemish Buttercake is a type of coffee cake made from leavened puff pastry.
🧈 Ingredient Notes & substitutions
The following ingredients are needed to make this Dutch Butter Cake
- Unsalted butter – Because butter is the main ingredient of this dish use the best quality butter you can find. I love to regulate the amount of salt I use for baking, that is why I always use unsalted butter. It also will create the perfect buttery base. Room temperature.
- Sugar – In the Netherlands, we use ‘witte basterd suiker’, white caster sugar for traditional butter cake. Which makes the boterkoek moist. White caster sugar is made from fine sugar, to which invert sugar syrup is added. But that isn’t available everywhere. Luckily, you can substitute white caster sugar for superfine sugar or granulated sugar.
- Flour – it adds structure to the cake. I used all-purpose flour.
- Egg – beaten egg at room temperature. Use 3/4 egg in the dough. The other 1/4 part of the egg is used to brush over the top at the end.
- Vanilla bean – gives baked goods more taste.
- Salt – I use kosher salt. Adding a pinch of salt enhances the natural flavors of the butter cake.
- Lemon zest – use the zest of 1/2 lemon for more taste in your dough.
- Almond extract (optional) – the traditional butter cake recipes from Dutch patissiers that I could find are without almond extract. I don’t like almonds, so I didn’t use almond extract in my recipe. But I found also normal recipes butter cake recipes with almond extract, so you can add 1 tsp of almond extract.
- Almond halves – are often used to decorate the top of the butter cake. I don’t like almonds, but if you do, add them on top of your Dutch butter cake.
- Rum – add a splash of rum for more taste.
You can find the full recipe on the recipe card.
Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven (conventional) to 170℃ / 340 °F. Grease the baking tin with butter and place a piece of parchment paper on top.
Make the dough
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter with the sugars and salt until pale yellow, light, and creamy. Add ¾ egg, and reserve ¼ of the egg to brush over the top. Stir in the vanilla extract (and almond extract if you want to use it). Add the all-purpose flour and the lemon zest and mix everything until combined. The dough will be stiff.
Press the dough into the prepared pan. You can smooth the cake very easily with the convex side of a spoon. Drip the spoon in warm water to smooth it even better.
Brush 1 tablespoon of the reserved egg on top of the dough. Use a fork to create a lattice pattern on top of the dough.
Bake the butter cake in the middle of a preheated oven (170℃ / 340 °F) for about 30 minutes. Bake until the top of the cake and the edges are golden brown. The butter cake will still be very wobbly and appear undercooked, but this will all work out as it cools. Let the cake cool down completely in its pan before slicing it, and enjoy!
The equipment you need for making Dutch Butter Cake
- Electric mixer (optional) – you can mix the dough of this cake with your hands or you can use an electric mixer with dough hooks.
- Easy release cake pan or brownie pan – in the Netherlands we have a special baking pan for “boterkoek”. It has a handy slide that you can turn around to get the cookie out of the mold. I found the baking pan on Amazon if you search for easy release cake pan. Don’t have an easy-release cake pan? Then replace it with a quiche tin, brownie pan, or other low baking thin. It is better to use a closed baking pan, the butter may drip from a springform pan.
- Baking paper – use butter to grease the pan. If you don’t use an easy-release pan you’ll need to do baking paper in the baking pan. So you easily can release the butter cake after baking.
👩🏼🍳 Expert tips
- Bake in grams – Use a kitchen scale to weigh your ingredients instead of using measurement cups. A kitchen scale is more accurate.
- Rest dough in fridge – Let your dough rest in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes. It will allow the gluten to relax and the flour to fully hydrate. This should help to give a more tender butter cake. Optional.
- Spoon – if you scoop the dough into a mold, you can smooth the cake very nicely with the convex side of a spoon. Drip the spoon in warm water to smooth it even better.
How long can you store a butter cake?
You can store a butter cake in the fridge for up to 3 days. Keeping it in the original bake pan is the easiest way to store leftover butter cake, but you can also portion individual slices in an airtight container or wrapped in aluminum foil.
A freshly baked Dutch butter cake can be stored in the freezer for up to 3-4 months. Make sure that the cake has cooled down completely before freezing it. You can freeze a dutch butter cake in its form. Wrap it airtight with aluminum foil or cling foil and an extra plastic bag around it.
You can also freeze a slice of the butter cake. Place any leftovers uncovered in the freezer until they’re completely frozen. Then, wrap the frozen butter cake tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Thaw the pie at room temperature.
Those lines on top with a fork have a reason, if you brush with egg and you don’t draw those lines, your egg is loose on top of the cake instead of it sticking to your cake as a shiny top layer.
⚖️ Baking in grams
The most accurate way to bake is by baking by weight. Measuring cups are very inaccurate and can lead to baking failures. Therefore all of my recipes are posted in grams. I always bake with a scale, so I have a recipe card that automatically converts metrics to US customary, but it can have errors. So I advise you to bake with a digital scale. You can find them on Amazon for a small price.
⭐️ Did you make this and did you love it as much as I do? Please leave a 5-star rating below or a review in the comments section.
Dutch Butter Cake (Boterkoek)
- Electric mixer
- Easy release cake pan (22 cm) or brownie pan 20 x 20 cm
- Baking brush
- Baking paper
For the dough
- 300 gram unsalted butter room temperature
- 300 gram granulated sugar
- 300 gram all-purpose flour
- 1 beaten egg room temperature
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp of salt
- ½ lemon zest
- Almond halves optional
- 1 tsp Almond extract optional
- butter to grease the pan
- Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven (conventional) to 170℃ / 340 °F. Grease the baking tin with butter and place a piece of parchment paper on top.butter
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter with the sugars and salt until light and creamy. Add ¾ egg, reserve ¼ of the egg to brush over the top.300 gram unsalted butter, 300 gram granulated sugar, ½ tsp of salt, 1 beaten egg
- Stir in the vanilla extract (and almond extract if you want to use it). Add the all-purpose flour and the lemon zest and mix everything until combined. The dough will be stiff.300 gram all-purpose flour, 1 tbsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp Almond extract, ½ lemon zest
- Press the dough into the prepared pan. You can smooth the cake very easily with the convex side of a spoon. Drip the spoon in warm water to smooth it even better.
- Brush 1 tablespoon of the reserved egg on top of the dough. Use a fork to create a lattice pattern on top of the dough. Optionally add some almond halves for decoration.Almond halves
- Bake the butter cake in the middle of a preheated oven (170℃ / 340 °F) for about 30 minutes. Bake until the top of the cake and the edges are golden brown. It may look not ready because of the amount of butter that is used in this recipe, but it is ready! Let the cake cool down completely in its pan before slicing it, and enjoy!
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.
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