I’m so excited to share this delicious recipe for Dutch Butter Cake (aka Boterkoek). It’s a dense, cookie-like cake, with the most addictive chewy edges, similar to shortbread in that it uses LOTS of butter and no leavening. This version makes two cakes – so you can give one to a friend or stash one in your freezer for later. It’s flavored with both almond extract AND vanilla extract and uses salted butter for a simple but perfect salty-sweet, buttery flavor.
I was reminded about this recipe when I got a surprise batch in the mail from my cousin last December. My Aunt Viki (and my go-to cooking expert) has been making this butter cake for as long as I can remember. She originally got the recipe for “Dutch Almond Coffee Cake” from a local magazine from Amherst, NH.
But whether you call it butter cake, coffee cake, or Boterkoek (its Dutch name), this delicious almond-flavored dessert is like nothing you’ve ever had.
It’s dense and chewy like a cookie, and it’s like a softer shortbread. It reminds me of marzipan in flavor, and you bake and slice it like a cake.
And the best part? This recipe yields TWO cakes, which means you can keep one for yourself and share the other!
Plus, because it’s really more like a cookie than a cake, you can even stick it in the mail to send to your friends and family for the holidays because it holds up so well.
The key ingredients
This Dutch Butter Cake is simple, so it’s important to use high-quality ingredients to get the best flavor possible. Here’s what I recommend.
First, use high-quality salted butter. Yes, salted! I use Irish butter. I know it may sound blasphemous to some bakers who normally use unsalted butter, but I think salted butter adds a delicious, slight savory flavor that complements the sweetness from the sugar and the earthy richness of the vanilla and almond flavors.
Speaking of the vanilla and almond, use high-quality extracts. I used both almond extract AND vanilla extract for this recipe.
Other than the butter and extracts, you’ll need an egg and an egg yolk, sliced almonds, flour, and sugar. That’s it!
And since this recipe yields two cakes, I always keep one and give the other away or bring to a holiday party. When I bake to share, I always use the best ingredients I can find, so using Nielsen-Massey extracts enabled me to really step up my baking game with this cake!
Tips and Tricks for making Dutch Butter Cake (Boterkoek)
This cake is easy, easy, easy. WAY easier than scooping out individual cookies, and more forgiving than traditional cakes. Here are some tips and tricks for success.
- Use an electric mixer– either handheld or standing. The dough is thick and is difficult to stir by hand.
- Once you’re done mixing, scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula down and use a butter knife, or other knife, to cut the dough roughly in half. This will ensure you can easily divide it into two equal portions.
- Press the batter into the cake pans with your hands– since it’s so thick, it’s difficult to “spread.” If it sticks to your hands, get them slightly wet with water, which will help the dough not stick as much!
- Once you’ve sprinkled the almonds on top, use your hands to press the almonds into the surface. This will ensure they stick and don’t fall off as much, and if they get coated in the egg yolk mixture, great! They’ll have a shiny, toasty surface on top.
- Finally, allow the cakes to COMPLETELY COOL in the pans. This will make removing it a piece of cake (hah), as well as make them easier to slice.
Help! I don’t have 8-inch cake pans!
I recommend using 8-inch cake pans. Why? The cakes will be the perfect thickness, which means the texture will be chewy and moist, and they won’t crumble apart as easily as if they are thinner. And the triangles are so cute!
That said, there are some alternatives.
- You can use 9-inch circular pans in a pinch. The cakes will be a little bit thinner and may crumble apart more easily. You may need to bake for a few less minutes. The texture will be slightly less chewy and a tad drier. But still DELICIOUS.
- You can use two loaf pans. The dimensions of a standard loaf pan are 9×5, which means an area of 45 square inches, which is close to the area of an 8-inch cake pan (about 50 square inches). Keep in mind, the chewy edges will be a bit less equitable, as you’ll have corner pieces and center pieces. Again, still delicious.
How to store and/or freeze the butter cake for later
This butter cake holds up extremely well at room temperature in an airtight container for about three days.
You can also refrigerate it for longer- it will last about a week in the fridge in an airtight container and is delicious cold!
To freeze the cake, you have two options. Both will last about three months in the freezer.
- Freeze the whole cake: Take the WHOLE cake, after it has cooled but before cutting, and wrap it in plastic wrap. Then, stick it back in the cake pan and freeze as is. This will protect it from getting dented or damaged as it sits in your freezer.
- Flash freeze the sliced cake: Cut the cake, place the pieces (not touching) on a baking sheet, and place in your freezer for about 20-30 minutes. This will flash freeze the pieces, and you can now transfer them to an airtight container or zip top bag and store in the freezer, which enables you to remove individual pieces when you need them.
Other easy dessert recipes
- Easy Meyer Lemon Bars
- Norwegian Butter Cookies
- Easy Baklava
- Easy Apple Crisp
- Fresh Ginger Date Cookies
I love baking this Dutch Butter Cake all year long – its perfect for company, easier to make than cookies, and is great at the holidays as well. I love making it with my kids – they love to sprinkle the almonds on top! My family loves digging into this Dutch Butter Cake while decorating our Christmas tree, after eating tortilla soup. Our yearly tradition.
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Dutch Butter Cake (Boterkoek) with Almonds
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cream together the 1/2 lb. salted butter and 1.5 cups sugar until fluffy with an electric mixer on high speed for about 1 minute.
- Add the 1 large egg and mix on high speed for about another minute.
- Add the 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon almond extract and mix until combined.
- Add the 2 cups all-purpose flour and mix until combined. The dough will be thick and sticky. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl to place all the dough in the center of the bowl. Use a butter knife to cut down the center of the dough, to divide into two equal portions.
- Mix together the 2 tablespoons water and the 1 egg yolk with a fork until smooth. Set aside.
- Place the 2 dough portions in two 8-inch cake pans (see notes about greasing). Press down with your hands, or using an offset spatula, to flatten and smooth out the dough as best you can, filling the bottom of the cake pan all the way to the edges. If the dough is sticky, try getting your hands a little wet with water and then pressing it in.
- Brush the tops of each cake with the egg yolk mixture. I recommend brushing each of them 2-3 times, allowing the egg to be absorbed into the top layer while you alternate back and forth, using all or almost all of the yolk mixture.
- Sprinkle the top of each cake with the 1/2 cup sliced almonds (1/4 cup for each cake). Press the almonds down gently, so they are in a single layer and are adhered to the top of the cake. It's OK, and actually a good thing, if the egg yolk mixture gets on top of the almonds.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes, or until deeply golden on the edges and slightly golden all across the top.
- For best results, cool in pan for at least 45 minutes (do cool for at LEAST 10 minutes or so, so it doesn't fall apart when you take it out). Remove and cut each cake into 12-16 wedges, depending on how big you want them. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 4-5 days, or in the fridge for 7-10 days.
- If using unsalted butter, I recommend adding 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt to the batter when you add the sugar.
- If you don’t have 8-inch cake pans, 9-inch can be used. The cakes will come out thinner and may crumble more easily but are still delicious! Bake for 25-35 minutes, as they may need less time. You can also use rectangular loaf pans, and cut into bars instead of wedges.
- If using nonstick cake pans, leave them ungreased. If using other cake pans, the original instructions say to leave them ungreased, but a few readers have commented that the cake has stuck for them. Greasing the pan with butter certainly won’t hurt, so I recommend greasing the pans if they aren’t nonstick just in case.
- For a nut-free version, omit the almonds on top and omit the almond extract, unless you know it’s allergen-free. Use the tines of a fork to carve lines on top of the cake before brushing the egg wash mixture on top, then bake as directed.
- Freezer directions: Freeze the cake whole, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, nestled into the cake pan, then thaw at room temperature for 12-24 hours. Alternatively, you can flash freeze the sliced cake- place the slices on a baking sheet and freeze for 20 minutes, then place the slices into an airtight container or plastic bag and store in the freezer. Lasts for 3 months in the freezer.
Nutrition Information Disclaimer
The provided nutrition information is my best estimate and does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. I use an automatic API to calculate this information. Feel free to calculate it yourself using one of these tools: