Saturday, March 24, 2012


Those of you who have any background in Dutch will recognize that "koek" is the Dutch word for cake.  I call this recipe "Deet's Koek" after the woman who gave me the recipe.


3 cups of white flour                                    
1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour              
2 cups of white sugar                                  
1 tsp salt                                                          
1 tsp baking soda                                        
2 tsps baking powder                                
1 tsp nutmeg                                                
2 tsps ginger                                                
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cloves
2 tsps cinnamon
2 tsps instant coffee
1 cup of maple syrup
2 1/2 cups of cold water
1 - 225 gram container of Deluxe Glazed Mixed Fruit                                                                        

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Mix the syrup, cold water and Glazed Fruit in a 4 cup measuring cup.
Dump the liquid into the dry and mix well.
Turn into a 13 x 9 cake pan lined with baking parchment.
Bake in center of oven for 1 hour at 350º.

When cool, cut lengthwise into 3 long loaves or short way into 4 short loaves.
This freezes well.

Notice that there is no fat or eggs in this recipe.

If you are acquainted with Voortman's Honey Cake (which comes in a long, narrow loaf), you'll find this very similar in texture and taste.

After the Second World War, many, many Dutch immigrants came to Canada.  There was then and still is now in the Netherlands strong feelings of connection with Canada because Canadian troops liberated the Netherlands at the end of WWII.

The Voortman brothers were part of that immigration and ended up near Hamilton, Ontario where Jim's family also settled.  In fact, Jim's oldest nephew married a daughter of one of the original Voortmans.  Jim can remember the brothers baking cookies in their mother's oven, and going around peddling them.  Most of those Dutch immigrants were very hard workers, and used to living very simply, a result of having lived through the years of occupation when many of life's necessities were lacking.  So the brothers worked hard, and soon had built up their business to a large, successful company.

Try the recipe and think of the many contributions immigrants (of all nationalities) make to the rich cultural mix that is Canada.


  1. My family loves koek (we use raisins instead of the mixed fruit, but the recipe is quite similar). My grandparents immigrated from Holland after WWII and started their family in Canada. We also looove Voortman's cookies and other treats - thanks for sharing the interesting background on their family - and so interesting that your husband has a family connection! :)

  2. Thanks for your sharing! Although Jim immigrated as an 11 year old, I was born in the States, as were my parents. My Dad's mother was also born in the States, but other than that all my forebears were from the Netherlands. We don't have many Dutch recipes left anymore, and this one came from a woman (now deceased) who lived in Thornhill, Alberta. We both enjoy a simple treat like this, and don't care for fluffy, iced cakes at all.