Boterkoek – Dutch Butter Cake

Boterkoek means “butter cake” in Dutch, and all that that implies. You’ll love this rich, buttery treat that is not really a cake, but is not quite a cookie either.

an overhead shot of a dutch boterkoek with a slice removed

Dutch Boterkoek is comfort food at it’s finest. The recipe includes just 5 very basic ingredients and takes about 10 minutes to assemble. The flavor is simple yet deep. It’s like a hug for your taste buds.

All about Boterkoek (Dutch Butter Cake):

Based on it’s name, obviously there is a very high butter content in this dough, there’s almost as much butter as flour.

Lots of butter not only means deliciousness, it also means this is a very tender dough. The high fat content keeps the gluten strands “short” and underdeveloped. A “short” dough is a very tender dough.

This is also true of Shortbread Cookies. But the difference between shortbread and Boterkoek is the amount of sugar in the dough.

My basic shortbread cookies have half the weight of sugar to butter.

Dutch Butter Cake has as much sugar as it has butter. Remember that sugar does much, much more than merely sweeten a recipe.

Sugar tenderizes and it absorbs and retains moisture. So that means Dutch Butter Cake is even more tender than shortbread cookies, and it’s very, very moist. Maybe that’s why is called a cake rather than a cookie?

One of my favorite things about Boterkoek is the super crisp and chewy crust that forms around the edges of the cake. The crust is also thanks to the high sugar content in the dough.

One final note about the sugar. The traditional Dutch recipe uses a type of sugar not available in the United States. Basterdsuiker is moister than American granulated sugar.

For my Dutch Appletaart I use a mixture of brown and white sugar to emulate the texture of brown basterdsuiker.

Since I wanted only white sugar in the Boterkoek, I use superfine sugar. Superfine sugar will dissolve more readily in the dough, releasing more moisture. It’s a pretty good substitute and this recipe is Dutch-husband approved.

Scroll through the step by step photos to see how to make Dutch Butter Cake (Boterkoek):

ingredients assembled to make boterkoek, or dutch butter cake
You just need a few ingredients and a couple of minutes to make Boterkoek
before and after photos of dutch boterkoek dough with egg added
Mix the butter into the flour until there are no large lumps, add the egg and mix just until it comes together.
photos showing how to use parchment to press boterkoek dough into the pan
Press the dough into the pan with your hand. I use a piece of parchment paper to prevent my hand from sticking.
photos showing how to decorate and bake dutch butter cake
Use a fork to create the lattice pattern on top. Bake until golden-brown and cool completely before cutting.
two slices of boterkoek, or dutch butter cake, on a plate
a closeup shot showing the buttery texture of boterkoek

I’ve seen Boterkoek recipes that add almond extract, vanilla or lemon zest for flavor. Personally I want my boterkoek to taste like butter so I don’t add any extraneous flavorings. If you’re less of a purist than I am, feel free to add the flavoring of your choice.

Want more authentic Dutch recipes?

You might also like: Classic Shortbread Cookies, Chocolate Shortbread Cookies, Coconut Shortbread Cookies, Rose Shortbread Cookies, Lemon Filled Shortbread.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

a slice of dutch boterkoek on a plate
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4.66 from 108 reviews

Boterkoek

Boterkoek means "butter cake" in Dutch, and all that that implies. A rich, buttery treat that is not really a cake, but is not quite a cookie either.
Prep Time10 minutes
Bake Time25 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
16 slices
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Ingredients

  • 10 oz all purpose flour (2 cups, see note)
  • 8 oz superfine sugar (1 cup (see note))
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • 8 oz unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 egg (whisked)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 °F. Line the bottom of a 9" tart pan or spring form pan with a parchment paper round.
  • In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 10 oz all purpose flour, 8 oz superfine sugar and ¼ teaspoon table salt. Toss in 8 oz unsalted butter and use your fingers or the mixer paddle to work the butter into the flour until there are no large lumps of butter.
  • Remove 1 tablespoon of the whisked egg and set it aside. Add the rest of the egg to the dough and mix just until it comes together.
  • Press the dough into the prepared pan. Smooth until the top is level and flat.
  • Brush the reserved egg onto the top of the dough. Use a fork to create a lattice pattern on top of the dough.
  • Bake until the edges and top of the cake are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.
  • Cool completely in the pan. Cut into 16 wedges to serve.

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Notes

If measuring the flour by volume use the “dip & sweep” method. That is, dip the measuring cup into the flour bin, overfill it, then sweep away the excess.
To make your own superfine sugar, briefly grind regular granulated sugar in a food processor or blender.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 225kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 42mg | Potassium: 26mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 369IU | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1mg
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @eileen.bakingsense or tag #bakingsense!

32 Comments

  1. Making this in honor of my granddaughter Hollands 10th birthday. My Mother-in-laws recipe is exactly this, but she did add vanilla. My husband lived in Amsterdam as a child and then my daughter did as well. My grandson was born there. Hope the kids like it as much as we do.

  2. 5 stars
    Easy, quick, fun and tasty. I used confectioner sugar and so far as I can tell it worked. Might pair well with morning coffee, or with some fresh berries as a dessert or a very light drizzle of chocolate sauce. Thanks for the recipe. I shared it on FB. Hope you don’t mind

    1. Hi Martin, I love if you share a link to the recipe post (not just the recipe so folks don’t have to visit my website).

    1. Yes, I think that would work. I’ve made shortbread and other cookies with confectioner sugar with good results.

    2. @Eileen Gray, I used it and it seemingly turned out ok, but since I’ve never had Boterkoek, I’m not sure! lol. It looked like the pictures and tasted quite good. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. If I do have basterdsuiker, do I need to modify anything else in the recipe? Or am I good to just substitute one to one?

  4. Can I cut the sugar in half? Also wanting to use a sugar substitute…any thoughts on how I would cut the sugar in half without ruining the ratios in the recipe?

    1. Well, if you cut the sugar in half you will be drastically altering the ratio of the recipe. What type of sugar substitute do you intend to use? There are so few ingredients in this recipe that drastically altering any one of them will significantly change the outcome.

  5. I made this yesterday for the first time. It came out delicious! I’m so happy since my Mother was from the Netherlands… ❤️❤️ I will make it again!

  6. I have made this and it turned out perfectly! Wondering if I can freeze this. Any advice on how to do this?

    1. Yes, you can freeze it. I would wrap and freeze individual slices. Then take them out and defrost as you want them.

  7. I have used this recipe half a dozen times for my Dutch husband. I’ve modified it slightly with each iteraion (to current perfection). I grind a half cup of slivered almonds when I pulvarize the flour and sugar in my Bullet. Always use Finlandia or Kerry Gold butter. I also add a splash of Baileys and zest from half a lemon. Hubby loves it!

  8. I made this for my Dutch husband’s birthday today. It was delicious.
    What is the best way to store it. Covered, in the refrigerator or…?

    1. I keep it at room temperature. If you have lots of leftovers and want to store for longer, you can wrap individual slices in plastic and freeze them.

  9. Thank you for your helpful recipe. It relieved my boterkoek craving. I added a tsp of almond extract, because that’s the flavour I remember and since I’m dairy-free I used vegan margarine (sad, I know), but it was still delicious.

  10. Hello Eileen
    Thanks for the recipe!

    Can you tell me why this recipe doesn’t call for creaming the butter and sugar, I’m interested to know.
    Thanks!
    Johanna

    1. Because in the recipes I found in my husband’s old Dutch cookbook, they treat the dough like a tart dough and mix the butter into the flour. So I do it that way. Creaming the butter and sugar will introduce more air and make a lighter dough.

  11. Hi Eileen! Would liquor be able to be added here, do you think? Also, I have seen some versions with a bit of cake flour used (like your shortbread)…do you have any thoughts if that would be beneficial? I was eyeing your Lemon Curd Shortbread the other day, wondering if carrot cake jam would be too sweet of a sub, and then I came across this! Decisions, decisions!!! Thank you so much! We love your recipes and your website!

    1. Well, I am a sucker for a little liquor in my pastries. Personally, I don’t add much to this recipe because I want it to taste like butter. You could probably add a tablespoon or two of rum or another liquor. I don’t think the cake flour is necessary since this is such a tender cookie/cake.

    1. I really want to create a recipe for stroopwafels (I have the waffle iron for it). But I can’t buy real “stroop” here in the US.

      1. I’ve got the waffle iron for it too but haven’t tried it yet. I found stroop and basterdsuiker (bastard in catalog) at VanderVeens in Grand Rapids MI.
        thedutchstore.com
        You’ve got me motivated to try it myself!

  12. Cant wait to try this.
    Some 45 yrs ago i had butter cake but a German version. I have never found the recipe
    It had sugar and cream poured over as soon as out of oven.
    Would this work for this recipe? .

    1. Hmmm, I would think you’d need a more spongy cake for something like that. This Boterkoek definitely has more of a cookie texture. It’s quite dense and would not absorb cream.

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