Cakes and slices using mixed spices are very popular in Europe, especially around Christmas time, when the delicious scents of baking fill the air of every household.
Traditional Scents of the Holiday Season
This easy to make Christmas slice is tasty with the traditional scents of the holiday season. Made with butter, brown sugar and mixed spice, and decorated with almonds, it can be neatly sliced and wrapped in cellophane for an ideal gift. It is also a good lunchbox treat, and goes well with tea, coffee, or hot chocolate. Traditionally, in the Netherlands, it was served with hot chocolate after an ice skating party in the late afternoon or evening on December 5th. In the evening, St Miklos visits to give gifts to the good children.
Mixed spice is a sweet ground spice that usually contains cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, cardamom, cloves, anise and star anise. Depending on where you live, it may contain other spices. It’s usually used for sweet and spicy cake mixes, and also some curries and chutneys.
The recipe is this traditional cake is from Rita in Holland.
Recipe for Thick Spekulatus – Dutch Spice Cake
- 350 grammes butter – melted
- 450 plain flour
- 225 brown sugar
- 2 level teaspoons baking powder or
- 15 grammes or one teaspoon mixed spice powder
- a pinch of salt
- Some peeled almonds for decorating.
- Heat the oven to about 170 C degrees
- Line a flat baking tray with baking paper.
- In a large bowl ix the baking powder with the flour, or use the same amount of self raising flour if it’s available
- Mix in the spice powder and the pinch of salt
- Add the brown sugar and mix
- Melt the butter
- Mix the butter with the flour mix
- Knead the dough until all the ingredients are mixed with the exception of the almonds.
- Spread the dough as a thin slab about 1.5 cm thick on the baking tray
- Decorate the slice with a pattern of peeled almond halves, or sprinkled with slivered almonds, pressing them down into the mix.
- If you have a rolling pin with decorations cut into it, run it over the dough to the patterns are etched into the dough
- Bake the slice for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown and baked through. Be careful not to burn the cake.
- Allow to cool on the tray, marking squares on it while it is still warm to make it easier to cut when it’s cold.
How to peel Almonds
Drop the almonds into a container of very hot water, allow to stand for a minute or two, and then drain off the water. Make a cut in the peel with a very sharp knife, and you’ll find that the skin comes off easily and neatly.
Enjoy Christmas cakes from other countries, such as the Hungarian poppy seed roll