ANGELS OF THE RESISTANCE Ontbijtkoek (Breakfast Cake) Recipe from Noelle Salazar

While writing my novel,  Angels of the Resistance, my curiosity was piqued about the kinds of food my characters would’ve eaten in the Netherlands in the 1940s, both before and during the occupation. Time and again, I came across ontbijtkoek, which translates to “breakfast cake.” This gingerbread-like cake is filled with spices, molasses, and honey, and is traditionally served slathered in butter.

I decided to try this bread/cake out for myself, as I am big on both bread and cake. And so, off to the grocery, I went to pick up some rye flour, molasses, and a few spices not already in my cupboard. Back at home, I pulled out my mixing bowl and got to work making the cake of my angel’s many breakfasts.

My kitchen smelled like heaven if heaven were bread/cake —and in my dreams it is. The ontbijtkoek came out perfect. Heavy, fragrant, and shining prettily from its wash of milk. I had a hard time waiting for the loaf to cool to have a taste.

Unlike most American bread of this nature, ontbijtkoek is not nearly as sweet. But it’s every bite is as delicious. It is the perfect complement to a cup of coffee, a cup of fresh fruit, or a meal all on its own.

-Nicole Salazar

Angels of the Resistance Book Club Buzz: author note, menu, giveaway


12-16 servings

Prep Time

20 mins

Cook Time

20 mins

ANGELS OF THE RESISTANCE Ontbijtkoek (Breakfast Cake) Recipe from Noelle Salazar

Adapted from

Use dark molasses (not blackstrap molasses).
You can substitute 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie or apple pie spice mix for the spices in the recipe.

Dry Ingredients
  • 2 cups rye flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground anise
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt  
Liquid Ingredients
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1/3 cup dark molasses (see note)
  • ¾ cup milk, plus extra for brushing
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Add dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk well to combine.
  2. Place liquid ingredients in a small saucepan and gently warm over medium heat until completely runny—do not boil.  
  3. Using a rubber spatula dd the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring gently until a sticky batter forms.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and flatten the surface. Lightly brush the top with milk.
  5. Bake for approximately one hour, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in the pan. Slice thinly, and serve warm or cold with butter.