Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Indonesian Spice Cake ( Spekkoek )

Pic : My baby loves the smell of this cake!

I get this recipe from James Oseland's book called "Cradle Of Flavor" that I bought few months ago. I buy this book at first because the cover look good but then after I place it on my book racks I kind of forget about it for a while. Today while searching for a recipe to try I saw this book and after flipping through the pages of pictures, I saw this recipe for a spice cake. Actually I kind of thinking about making a spice cake for a while it just I really don't like my oven here that much because I am not use to oven that only have one heat source from the bottom of the oven. I tried several recipes that normally always give me a great result but somehow using my oven here everything that I made so far always comes out pretty bad. The cookies too soft, the bottom burn first, etc...

My father bought me 2 ovens from Italy when he is preparing for my coming home from Canada. One has upper and lower heat that has to be turn on separately, it also has a Celsius temperature setting. The other one is only half the size of the first one, it only allow me to choose to use one heat source. Bottom for roasting and upper for broiling and it has a 1 to 8 temperature setting.

For this recipe I use the smaller oven. This time I raise the rack one step higher than normal. With my fingers crossed I start mixing the batter....

To borrow a quote from the book here is what the book is saying about this cake ...

" This buttery-rich spice cake, flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves and known as spekkoek ( the Dutch spelling ) or spekkuk, is an inheritance from Holland's four-century colonization of Indonesian... Spekkuk is a special-occasion cake. It deserves a splurge... Essentially a pound cake baked in a tube, or Bundt pan, it has golden, faintly crisp exterior and a shamelessly rich, velvety interior. There are few things more satisfying than eating a warm slice of spekkuk along with sweetened tea ( the traditional accompaniment ) or icy cold milk ( the author favorite accompaniment "

" Have all the ingredients at room temperature and this cake will go together easily. "

I do admit that I tweak the recipe a little due to my taste and the ingredients that I have here. For example. I think the butter that I have here has more water in it. So to tackle this I add a bit more flour, about 1/8 cup more than what the recipe is calling for. Another change that I made is at the type of sugar that I use for this recipe. The recipe is only calling for a regular white sugar. But I happen to have palm sugar that has more aroma than just plain sugar so I use this one instead and I add 2 tablespoons more of palm sugar into my recipe. I also increase the baking powder to 1 tsp instead of just a half teaspoon. I also simplify the procedures by whisking all the eggs for this recipe first then drizzle it slowly into the batter while the flat paddle is running on medium-high speed. But you don't have to follow my system off course. This recipe is amazing. It is pretty much foolproof and it taste so good that the cake is gone in one day! My son who is a picky eater even ask me to make it again on the same day. Try this also if you need to bring a cake for potluck and get ready to receive a lot of compliment from your friends. Bring some print out of this recipe too. I know your friends will ask for the recipe.

Indonesian Spice Cake


2 cups (8 1/4 ounces / 235 grams ) sifted cake flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
4 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups ( 12 ounces / 340 grams ) unsalted butter ( 3 sticks ), at room temperature, plus more for greasing
1 2/3 cups ( 13 ounces / 370 grams ) granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs powdered sugar ( optional )


  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325F ( 165C ). Grease and lightly flour a 9-inch ( 23-centimeter ) tube pan with 3 1/2-inch ( 9 centimeter ) sides ( or my preference, use a non-stick pan of the same size but don't grease and flour it )
  2. Re sift the sifted flour along with the baking powder, nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, and salt into a bowl. Now, re sift the flour mixture and then set it aside.
  3. In another bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the butter until it's soft and very pliant, about 1 minute ( or 4 to 6 minutes by hand with a wooded spoon ). Gradually add the granulated sugar and beat on high speed until the mixture is pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes ( or 6 to 8 minutes by hand ).
  4. One a time, add the 4 whole eggs and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes ( or 5 minutes by hand )
  5. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in 3 equal parts, beating on low speed or stirring with wooded spoon until the batter is smooth and the flour is well combined with the butter mixture. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and continue to beat or stir until they are well mixed into the batter.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the surface. Place on middle oven rack and bake until a toothpick inserted into the thickest part of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour ( though I'd recommend checking it after 45 minutes )
  7. Remove the pan from the oven and let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. If necessary, carefully run a thin knife around the perimeter and the inner rim of the cake to help loosen it from the pan. Invert the pan onto the rack and lift it off of the cake. Turn the cake right side up and let it cool on the rack.
  8. Transfer the cake to a serving platter. Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust the top with the powdered sugar, if desired.

NOTE: I can testify that this recipe is foolproof. One thing that I never mention on this blog is that I AM A KLUTZ. Can you believe that when I took this cake out from my oven I dropped it upside down on my kitchen table??? It just slide off from the pan like butter! And the cake can still look this amazing on picture ???? Now you know the secret on why many times I don't put my own food picture here. I have to confess. A lot of the pictures comes from the book or sometimes I went to restaurant, eat there, took the picture, then go home and start researching for the recipe to make that dish. When I make it, there are always some "accidents" happen and even though the food taste amazing but no way in hell I can say that they look pretty. Only once in a while I can make my food look good. Maybe God took pity on me that day.


Anonymous said...

Outstanding quest there. What happened after? Take care!

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Anonymous said...

Hello there! This post couldn't be written much better! Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept preaching about this. I am going to send this information to him. Pretty sure he'll have a good read.
I appreciate you for sharing!

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