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Dutch Spice Cake

  • Makes 1 cake
Dutch Spice Cake

This fabulous recipe comes from Harry Machiela of Napier where it is always on the menu. It is not at all difficult to make but it takes some time to cook each layer so this is the kind of cake you cook for someone you love. The spice layer is heavily scented with sweet spices and all that is needed to complement the hard work is a fresh berry puree or couli and I find raspberries or boysenberries are the best with this cake.


  • 500 grams butter
  • 500 grams caster sugar
  • 10 eggs (size 6), separated
  • 250 grams flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp ground aniseed
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1½ tsp ground cardamom


  1. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and beat well.
  2. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Carefully fold into the egg mixture with the sifted flour.
  3. Divide the mixture in half and to one half stir in the sifted spices. Take about 2 tablespoons of the spiced mixture and spread thinly over the base of a well-greased and paper-lined 23cm spring form cake tin.
  4. Bake at 180ºC for 7-8 minutes or until cooked. Remove from the oven and turn the oven to grill at 180ºC. Spread 2 tablespoonfuls of plain mixture over the top of the cooked spice layer. Grill for about 5 minutes, watching carefully until the layer is cooked. Repeat the layers finishing with a spice layer. As the cake becomes higher, lower the cake away from the grill bars so that the layers cook before they burn. Aim to get a minimum of 13 layers, try for 17. Serve the cake slightly warm in wedges with the fruit sauce.

Cooks Tips

Unless the kitchen is very warm keep the bowls in a shallow sink of warm water and stir the mixtures occasionally. If the cake mixtures become too firm, it is hard to spread them on top of the cooked layer without breaking the skin on the top. To add moistness brush each cooked layer with a little melted butter before spreading over a new layer.

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