JIM MAKES: Boterkoek

Boterkoek (Butter cake) is a delicious treat from The Netherlands.

My favorite thing about it is its texture. It’s dense, but not hard. You’ve had pound cake before, yeah? You’ve had shortbread before, yeah? Boterkoek is somewhere between the two: not crunchy like a cookie, but solid enough that you can pick up a piece and eat it like a brownie, no fork or plate needed.

What’s more, the denseness of the cake means that it keeps for quite a while, so long as it’s kept in the fridge. I had a two-week old slice for dessert tonight and it was as good as the day I baked it!

But the best part of boterkoek is, anyone can make it. Trust me – I’m the worst baker in the world, and I can do this:

SOFTWARE

1 cup good butter, softened
1½ cups white sugar
2 beaten eggs
1 tablespoon almond extract
2½ cups AP flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

HARDWARE

1 electric mixer
1 small bowl
1 medium bowl
1 large bowl
1 spatula
1 fork or whisk
2 round 8″ cake pans (or even better, glass pie plates)

NOTES: Take the butter out of your fridge a few hours before you want to make the cake. Also, this is a terrific recipe to splurge on some nice European butter. Cultured butters from Ireland, France and Finland are readily available near me, and at Lidl and Aldi they’re competitively priced, too. Take the hint. Lastly, if you only have one pan or pie plate, fear not: later, when dividing the dough in half to make two cakes, simply put one half in a zip-top bag and put it in the fridge – it’ll be good for a couple days. You could probably freeze it too, but don’t quote me on that!

1) Preheat your oven to 350F.

2) Put the sugar and butter in the large bowl, then use the electric mixer to cream them. Don’t know what “creaming” is? Watch this:

You don’t need a stand mixer to do this – any electric hand mixer will work, you just have to move the mixer around in the bowl.

3) Beat the eggs in a small bowl, then add almost all of it to the butter and sugar (we need a tiny bit for the last step, so save a little). Mix for a few seconds with the mixer until incorporated, then add the almond extract and mix for a few seconds more. Put the mixer aside and use the spatula to scrape as much dough off the forks as you can.

4) Add the flour and baking powder to the medium bowl, and stir well with a whisk or fork to mix.

5) Slowly add the flour to the dough, adding a little bit, then stirring with a heavy-duty spoon, then repeating until the flour has been incorporated completely. As a warning, the dough will look very dry.

6) Grease the pans (or use Pam, if you’re lazy). Put half the dough in each pan or pie plate and press it into place.

7) Remember the leftover egg? Brush it across the top of the cakes. If you forgot to save some egg, just beat another one and brush it across the top of the cakes. Don’t go crazy though: a little bit is all you need!

8) OPTIONAL: You can put sliced almonds on the top, if you wish. It’s also traditional to drag a fork across the top of the cake, creating a design a bit like this:

Boterkoek

9) Bake at 350F for around 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and delicious!

Jim's Boterkoek

Let cool completely before serving. Keeps amazingly well in the fridge – just take a piece out just as you sit down to dinner and it’ll be delicious by dessert time!

 

 

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