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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.

You might also like: Rose Shortbread Cookies, Dutch Speculaas, Filled Speculaas, 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

Boterkoek

Yield: 16 slices
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

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.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (10 oz, 280g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (8 oz, 224g) superfine sugar (see note)
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 sticks (8 oz, 224g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg, whisked

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line the bottom of a 9" tart pan or spring form pan with a parchment paper round.
  2. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Toss in the butter and use your fingers or the mixer paddle to work the butter into the flour until there are no large lumps of butter.
  3. 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.
  4. Press the dough into the prepared pan. Smooth until the top is level and flat.
  5. Brush the reserved egg onto the top of the dough. Use a fork to create a lattice pattern on top of the dough.
  6. Bake until the edges and top of the cake are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.
  7. Cool completely in the pan. Cut into 16 wedges to serve.

Notes

To make your own superfine sugar, briefly grind regular granulated sugar in a food processor or blender.

Did you make this recipe?

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Karen J

Tuesday 12th of January 2021

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.

Johanna van Beelen

Friday 23rd of October 2020

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

Eileen Gray

Saturday 24th of October 2020

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.

Stephanie

Friday 22nd of May 2020

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!

Eileen Gray

Friday 22nd of May 2020

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.

marycke

Saturday 28th of March 2020

Just looked up the stroop in their catalog and its listed as Treacle syrup (Kueken Stroop)

Eileen Gray

Saturday 28th of March 2020

Thanks, I'll check into it.

Marycke

Friday 27th of March 2020

Love this! With Dutch parents I grew up eating boterkoek and stroopwafels...so yummy!

Eileen Gray

Friday 27th of March 2020

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.