Harmony Day 21 March is a day of cultural respect for everyone who calls Australia home – from the traditional owners of this land to those who have come from many countries around the world. www.harmony.gov.au


One of the great things about this nation is that everyone here is a migrant, or from a migrant family; we all immigrated to this country. I think this fact is a great leveller, if you take the time to acknowledge it. Even the Indigenous people, though many thousands of years ago, would have made the trip by boat from somewhere. Though the issue of boat people has become a ridiculously heated political issue lately, it needn’t be.


My own father’s mother’s family made the voyage from England to Australia by boat; and that vessel (the ‘Buffalo’) is now berthed and operates as a restaurant cum museum by the sea. A few years ago, while reading up on family history, I made the amusing discovery that a friend of mine comes from the same family tree – the early settlers who came out on that boat are her ancestors also – we’re related, about five generations back!


Although I can’t boast anything more than mere British blood, another good friend has a much more varied lineage; her father is Dutch and her mother Canadian. On a recent visit, I was thrilled to get a copy of her grandmother’s recipe for Honey Cake, and have made it twice already. In the spirit of Harmony Day, I’m offering a take on it here. The original Dutch honey cake is made with rye flour, but I figure spelt flour will do just as well.


Spelt Honey Cake {Dutch Honey Cake}
I have adjusted the recipe a little, to make it easier to follow. Otherwise, it is here as given.


Dry Ingredients
360g (2 2/3 cups) plain white spelt flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
Spekulaas spice (ratio of 2 tsp cinnamon: 1 tsp cloves: ½ tsp nutmeg)

Wet Ingredients
150g (2/3 cup) golden caster sugar
120g (1/3 cup) honey
100mL (3.5 fl oz) boiling water

Flaked almonds for decoration (optional)

Preheat oven to 140degC (284degF). Grease and line a large loaf tin, base measuring 11 x 21 cm (4 x 8 inches).

Sift together the flour, baking powder and spices. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, honey and boiling water. Mix wet and dry ingredients together thoroughly, and if too thick add more water. Mixture should be thick and sticky like cement (or wet sand, if you prefer).

Spoon mixture into prepared loaf tin, sprinkle liberally with flaked almonds and bake in a slow oven for 1 hour or until fully cooked. This cake can be deceptive and will sink otherwise.

Allow to cool completely before slicing and enjoying. If storing, wrap in foil and store at room temperature or freeze. Enjoy fresh, or toasted with or without butter.

*This combination packs a spicy punch; if you like yours a bit more subtle, dial back on the cloves.

0 thoughts on “Spelt Honey Cake {Dutch Honey Cake}”

  1. We had harmony day morning tea at work too, and everyone brought in the most delicious food. Haha though admittedly almost everyone had little more than British ancestry so there was a lot of pressure on the few people with any sort of exciting heritage to turn out with something amazing. This looks delicious, by the way!

    1. Hi Sam, that’s funny… I think perhaps we all prefer our cooking not to be much aligned with the mother country! Although this post is late, I like the idea of sharing food on Harmony Day. 😉

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