Spice Loaf (aka Koek)

I started baking at a very young age. I was about seven years old when my mom showed me how to bake a basic two-egg cake with butter icing. It was my task to bake one every Saturday and it would be dessert after dinner that night and the other half would be our after church coffee time treat on Sunday.

Another cake she taught me to bake was this Spice Loaf. My mother had this recipe printed out in a spiral bound notebook and, once I was old enough to read and understand what I was reading, I realized that she had made an error in writing out the recipe, understandable, really, in that English is her second language and, at that time, it was a new language to her. Instead of writing cloves, she had added an “r”, and the recipe called for 1/2 tsp clovers. I teased her about it for years!


Apart from one egg, there’s no added fat and a lot of yummy spices. Having said there’s no added fat, my favourite way of eating this is by the slice, slathered with copious amounts of  butter, and accompanied by a cup of tea.

If you try it, let me know what you think.

ETA: Well, I am astounded. In all the years I’ve been baking this loaf cake,  I have never (and I do mean never) had it fail. Until this time. I’m not sure what happened but I decided that, in the interest of brutal honesty, to let you know that it does happen. I think it may have been a combination of contributing factors. First, I’ve not made this cake in the time that we’ve lived here in this house and this oven, an old one, bakes on the hot side. If I take that into account, and the fact that the recipe, as written, calls for an oven temperature of 375º (a hot oven), it was probably baked at too high a temperature. As well, I should have moved the oven rack up one notch but I know that this cake can rise quite a bit. This time, it rose and burst, and batter oozed out of the side in an almost obscene display.

Then, when it was time to remove the cake from the pan, it stuck. And when I say stuck, I mean as if it had been glued into the pan! I did get it out eventually, with the air filled with colourful language. It is still edible, though, and as imperfect a loaf as it is, it is still delicious, even if the edges are a bit on the black side. 

Don’t let my failure this time stop you from trying this loaf; it really is a tasty treat. Just make sure you butter the loaf pan; I sprayed it with olive oil but that obviously wasn’t enough. As well, I’ve lowered the temperature to 350º in the recipe. That’s a better temperature for a loaf like this one.

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Spice Loaf (aka Koek)

[printable version]

Makes 1 loaf

  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground mace
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 egg

In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients until well mixed and smooth. Pour into a well greased 8 inch loaf pan and bake at 350ºF in the centre of the oven for about 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from pan and allow to cool on a rack before slicing.