I’m so excited to partner with Nielsen-Massey Vanillas to bring you 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. This version makes two cakes. It’s flavored with both almond extract AND vanilla extract and uses salted butter for a simple but perfect salty-sweet, buttery flavor.
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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. To be more specific, I used Nielsen-Massey Pure Almond Extract and Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract.
Nielsen-Massey Vanillas is a brand I’ve used for years and one I trust completely to create high-quality, pure flavors. Their unique cold-extraction process preserves hundreds of delicate flavor compounds, creating the richest, deepest tasting vanillas from around the world.
Around the holidays, it’s especially important to go all-in with your holiday baking (and even in savory recipes, like this Roast Pork Tenderloin with Vanilla Apple Chutney!).
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!
Where can I buy Nielsen-Massey extracts?
You can purchase Nielsen-Massey Vanillas products on Amazon.
If you’re looking for an awesome holiday gift for the foodie or baker in your life, I recommend looking at Nielsen-Massey’s Holiday Flavors Bundle, which includes both the Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract and the Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract, as well as Pure Peppermint Extract.
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.”
- 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. 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
Are you one of the many people who like to bake as a way to spend time with loves ones or share/gift delicious treats in the holiday season? A recent survey conducted by the experts at Nielsen-Massy found that Millennials and Gen-Xers are most likely to bake during the holidays (87%), and more than half of Millennials say they are motivated to bake as a way to spend time with loved ones (59%) – the most of any generation.
Because of these baking insights, Nielsen-Massey is hosting its first ever “Bake to Share” campaign. Visit NielsenMassey.com to learn how to #BaketoShare this holiday season with guides for hosting holiday gatherings, new holiday recipes and gift giving ideas.
I know I’ll be baking this with my two-year-old daughter all season long, or at least letting her 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.
Did you make this Dutch butter cake recipe? Please click the stars below to comment and Rate this Recipe, and be sure to share your creations on social media using #bowlofdelicious and #BakeToShare!
Dutch Butter Cake (Boterkoek) with Almonds
- 1/2 lb. salted butter softened to room temperature (2 sticks)
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (such as Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract)
- 1 teaspoon pure almond extract (such as Nielsen-Massey Pure Almond Extract)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds (or slivered)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cream together the butter (1/2 lb.) and sugar (1.5 cups) until fluffy with an electric mixer on high speed for about 1 minute.
- Add the egg and mix on high speed for about another minute.
- Add the almond extract and vanilla extract (1 teaspoon each) and mix until combined.
- Add the flour (2 cups) 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 egg yolk with a fork until smooth. Set aside.
- Place the 2 dough portions in 2 ungreased 8-inch cake pans. 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.
- 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 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.
- Cool in pan for at least 45 minutes. Remove and cut each into 12-16, 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.
- For a nut-free version, omit the almonds on top. 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. Nielsen-Massey Pure Almond Extract is allergen-free, so those with nut allergies are still able to use it.
- 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.