Boterkoek AKA Butter Cake


I hate missing an instalment of Saturday Sweets.

Sweets are near and dear to my heart, and I love that they have a day around here all to themselves!  (Not that sweets never make other appearances :)) But alas, sometimes there are just not enough hours in a day, or even in 3 or 4 days.  I’m sure many of you have noticed this problem.

When days and weeks like that pass, and you find yourself with a tan minivan taking up permanent residence in your driveway, it’s time to sit down with a piece of something classic and simple and comforting, like this butter cake.

I guess this is more likely to be known as “Boterkoek”, a traditional Dutch almond cake, but we grew up calling it Butter Cake and the name stuck.

This is a food I crave like crazy when I’m pregnant, so it’s especially convenient that the recipe makes 2 cakes in a matter of minutes…2 dense, moist, almond-flavoured cakes that are just so….moreish.  There is no redeeming healthiness to this cake, as it is basically just a slab of butter and sugar, but it is perfectly balanced and not too sweet.  It needs no icing or decoration, which is perfect for someone like me who has neither the patience nor the talent for cake decorating.

Also, it looks oh-so-pretty on the antique dishes I tried to buy for my sister for her wedding last month which somehow crept into my suitcase and followed me home (it didn’t end well for the whole set).  I gotta say, I really love dishes.  I’ve bought 3 more random plates since then and I have visions of cleaning out some of my other cupboards full of useful things like food in order to make room for ever increasing numbers of pretty dishes.

And about that minivan?  It better be all they’re cracked up to be, or I’m not sharing any of my cakes.

5.0 from 5 reviews
Butter Cake (Boterkoek)
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 20
  • 1⅓ cups butter
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • Milk or cream for brushing top
  • Sliced almonds to decorate top (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until very light and fluffy (3-5 minutes).
  3. Add eggs and almond flavouring and beat well.
  4. Add baking powder and flour and mix well.
  5. Spread evenly between two 9" cake pans or pie plates.
  6. Brush tops with a little cream and top with sliced almonds if desired.
  7. Bake for 28-30 minutes, until light brown - do not overbake or cake will be dry.
  8. Let cool on rack before slicing and serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days.
This freezes well - wrap extra cake in two layers of plastic wrap and freeze until you need it.

*Source: Port Kells Canadian Reformed Church cookbook; more specifically, I believe, a lovely Dutch lady named Mrs. Dykstra – I grew up enjoying this cake and am thankful to have the recipe to pass on to my kids! 


  1. Ingrid says

    Baked this cake and it came out great. It reminded me of these big delicious cookies my mom use to buy for us in a bakery in Holland. My mom thought it was filled with marzipan but after making this cake I don’t think it was marzipan but rather almond extract — it had the same wonderful rich marzipan like texture. A perfect cake to bring to a potluck. My youngest daughter also made it and just a heads up, she brushed too much half and half on top so it took forever to bake but eventually it baked perfectly. A small slice with a cup of tea makes the perfect afternoon snack.

  2. says

    I’m with you on zero patience for cake decorating!! Though I’m sure you have more talent than me. My problem is that after all the effort making the cake, I have no interest in pulling out a mixer to make a frosting. So this is my kind of bake – bake and eat!!

  3. Tonia says

    1) This cake looks wonderfully yummy! I think I’ll make it tomorrow! :-)
    2) When I was in college (many years ago!) I worked in catering and was asked one day to help one of the wife of one of the professors at a big party at their house. All her plates were “mismatched” antiques! She had dozens of plates and none of them matched – it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen! She told me she had started collecting plates 1 at a time when she first got married, sometimes at a yard sale, sometimes at Goodwill stores, sometimes at antique stores. The only thing all the plates had in common was that they all had flowers on them. So, now I sort of do that myself and I always think of that lady I worked for in college!

    • says

      Oooh, I love that idea with the mismatched plates still having a theme – I would love to eat dinner at someone’s house like that, thanks for your comment!

  4. Ellen from Amsterdam says

    That’s really funny, because this is not the ‘Boterkoek’ we bake here in Holland. Ever since I was a little Dutch girl I baked Boterkoek for my granddad, and I am still baking one every year for his birthday.

    It’s not an almond cake, it’s just a delicious cake made out of butter, flour, sugar and eggs. Sometimes they use almonds here to decorate it, but as far as I know ‘we’ don’t use almond extract in the dough.

    This is my original recipe:

    250 gram butter (1 and 1/4 cup)
    250 gram all purpose flour (2 cups)
    250 gram light brown sugar (1 and 1/4 cup)
    1 egg for the dough
    1 egg for brushing

    Take the butter and eggs out of the fridge half an hour before.

    Preheat the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Mix all the ingredients together and put it in a cake pan. Here in Holland we have special ‘Boterkoek’ cake pans. There are about 3cm deep. Just google ‘boterkoekvorm’ to see how they look like.

    Brush the dough with the beaten egg and make a diamond pattern with a fork.

    Put the cake pan in the oven and bake it for 25 minutes until golden brown.
    If you google pictures of ‘boterkoek’ you see how it looks like. It’s more yellowish than yours.

    It would be nice if you’d also try this really sinful buttery cake. I adore it!

    • says

      I will have to try that, thanks for the recipe! My grandparents came from Holland when my dad was about 11 and this is the “boterkoek” they always made…yours sounds absolutely delicious too!! A Boterkoek cake pan sounds like something I definitely need to add to my kitchen :)

      • says

        It’s so funny because I’ve never seen a ‘Boterkoek’ like yours.
        They are so amazingly good. If it wasn’t so bad (= full of fat) I was eating this every day! ;-)

        Let me know if you can’t find any cake pan like that. I’m happy to send one over to overseas!

  5. says

    I have never tried making a cake like this and I’m thrilled to see such a simple, lovely recipe! I bet it turns out fantastically! Almond is definitely one of my favorite flavors/ingredients in baking, so I’m about to break out my almond extract and hop to it!

  6. says

    My favorite desserts are the ones that have no redeeming healthiness. And I’m sure you’ll get used to the van and grow to love it. I know I did!

  7. says

    So pretty! I have never made a butter cake-someday I’ll get around to baking one! Your cake, dishes and photos are just perfectly beautiful;-)

  8. says

    Beautiful dishes. I’ve been picking up ornate ones such as yours at the local thrift shop. Nothing matches, but I love it that way. And what a great way to top off fancy dishes–with a simple, unadorned cake with ingredients we all love: butter and sugar. Well done, Anna.

    Keep writing…

    • says

      It’s a good thing I think that I don’t have more time to myself to spend in thrift shops, I can only imagine how many mismatched dishes I would accumulate!

  9. Kim says

    Your dishes look beautiful Anna! :) If you hadn’t bought them, I’m sure I would have and I really don’t have room for any more.


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