Monday, December 20, 2010

Spekkuk Spiced Coffee Cake

Spekkuk is one of the few positive byproducts of Holland's brutal, nearly four-century colonization of Indonesia.  A rich cake heavily spiced with some of the spices that first attracted the Dutch to Indonesia, Spekkuk is traditionally served with sweet tea.  Baked in alternating layers of spiced batter and plain batter, lapis legit, is an even more elegant version of spekkuk and can be found in bakeries throughout the archipelago.

Wanting something sweet for a morning get together that had the flavor of spekkuk without the excessive richness, I adapted a recipe from The San Francisco Chronicle Cookbook for Cafe Beaujolais Coffee Cake. The original recipe is delicious, but the spices for this spekkuk version result in an even more amply spiced coffee cake.  This is a no-fuss recipe that could easily be prepared for a Christmas morning breakfast or brunch.

Spekkuk Spiced Coffee Cake
adapted from Cafe Beaujolais Coffee Cake

2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp nutmeg (preferably freshly ground)
4 teaspoons cinnamon, divided (I ground one stick of Indonesian cinnamon)
6 whole cloves, ground
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup corn oil
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg, beaten
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350º F. Butter a 9 x 13 x 2 inch (22.5 x 32.5 x 5 cm) baking pan.

In a large bowl thoroughly mix the flour with the salt, 3 teaspoons of the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and sugars.  Stir in the oil and mix well.  After removing 3/4 cup of this mixture to a smaller bowl, add the chopped nuts and remaining teaspoon of cinnamon to it.

Add the remaining ingredients to the mixture in the large bowl.  Stir well until you have a fairly smooth batter.  Pour the batter into the greased pan and then sprinkle the nut mixture on top.

Bake for about 40 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Although best served warm, this is also fine served at room temperature.


  1. Spekkuk Coffee Cake sounds like another delicious holiday treat.

    Don't be so hard on the Dutch -- just fun loving sailors and business men.
    Papa Bob (look for my wooden shoes)


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