Monday, March 8, 2010

canadian boterkoek

Boterkoek literally means “butter cake” in Dutch.

Indeed, it is packed with butter, but the main flavour here is almond. If you don’t like almonds, you won’t like boterkoek.

Luckily, I do like almonds. Butter is also one of my main food groups, so this cake makes me very happy.

It’s dense and chewy, with a lovely almond flavour – almost like eating marzipan that has been turned into cake.

This recipe comes from my friend Tara, who is married to a man with Dutch parents. She discovered the happy marriage of boterkoek and icing by a lucky mistake.

One day when she made the cake, she forgot to press almonds on the batter before putting it in the oven.

Once it was baked and she realized her mistake, she made a little icing so the almonds would have something to stick to. She thought it tasted even better with the icing – and I agreed when I was lucky enough to try it – but her husband pronounced: “It’s not Dutch.”

And so I give you this non-traditional boterkoek with icing, which I feel compelled to call “Canadian boterkoek.” After all, we know from the authority: it’s not Dutch.

Note: If you need a gluten-free cake, the options are in the recipe. I’ve substituted ground almonds for part of the wheat flour and they work really well. Even if you can eat wheat flour, I’d recommend subtracting a quarter cup of wheat flour and adding a quarter cup of ground almonds instead.

canadian boterkoek

1 1/2 c. white sugar
3/4 c. butter, melted
2 eggs
1 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. wheat flour (or 1 1/4 c. wheat flour + 1/4 c. ground almonds)
or for gluten-free:
1/3 c. sweet white sorghum flour
1/3 c. tapioca starch
1/3 c. ground almonds
1/2 c. rice flour
2 tsp. xanthan or guar gum

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line an 8 x 8 inch square or 9 inch round pan with parchment paper. Grease the paper with a bit of butter where it will touch the batter.

Mix the sugar and butter together. Stir in the eggs, almond extract and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, stir the flour(s) and salt together well.

Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Scrape into the prepared pan.

Bake 25 – 40 minutes, depending on the size of your pan.

almond icing

3 tbsp. butter
1 2/3 c. icing or powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. almond extract
(about) 2 tbsp. milk
a few sliced almonds to place on top

Cream the butter, icing sugar, vanilla and almond extract together.

Add the milk teaspoon by teaspoon until you have the consistency you like. (I like it a bit runny – right in between the texture of a glaze and an icing.)

Spread on cooled cake.

Press sliced almonds on top.


  1. Can't wait to try this for my son's birthday tomorrow :) thanks for sharing it!