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