in the kitchen with: yvette van boven’s luxurious gingerbread

We’re getting a jump-start on the holidays with this week’s recipe. Dutch illustrator and food stylist Yvette van Boven shares a luxurious gingerbread, the fancy version of the traditional loaf which appears in her most recent book, Home Made Winter. Personally, gingerbread in all its international forms is one of my favorite winter treats. Yvette’s version seems perfect to present as a gift or to bring to an afternoon tea with friends or, let’s be honest, to make all for yourself! Unfortunately, where I live it’s still too hot to think about hot tea, but I’m saving this for when the temperature drops.   If you prefer something savory in the meantime, check out Yvette’s previous recipe for a modern twist on the traditional Dutch bitterballen.Kristina

About Yvette: Yvette van Boven is a freelance food stylist, recipe writer and co-owner of the Aan de Amstel café in Amsterdam. Yvette’s first award-winning cookbook, Home Made, was published in the Netherlands in 2010, and has since been followed by Home Made Winter and Home Made Summer (May 2013 in the US), all of which have been translated into French, German and English. Home Made Winter was launched this month in the USA. If you’d like to catch Yvette in person, she will be teaching how to make homemade soups at Haven’s Kitchen next Friday and will cook a three-course dinner and make cocktails at Sunday Suppers in Brooklyn on October 18th.

See Yvette’s recipe in illustrations and photos after the jump . . .

Please note that we have also transcribed the recipe into text, complete with photos, after the illustrations!

Luxurious Gingerbread with Dates, Nuts and White Chocolate

  • 3.5 cups (400g) self-rising flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 pinch of allspice
  • 1/2 cup (100g, packed) brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons (150g) runny honey
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (200ml) milk (or more if the batter is stiff)
  • 2/3 cup (100g) dates, coarsely chopped
  • 1 + 1/3 cup (200g) white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 handful + 2 tablespoons of any nut mix (seeds, nuts, dried cranberries and chocolate-covered raisins)


Note: Make the batter quickly and be careful not to overmix!

1. Preheat the oven to 300F (150C / Gas 2 mark).

2. Grease an 8 x 4 inch (1 liter) loaf pan with melted butter.

3. Mix flour, salt and dry spices. Add the brown sugar, honey and milk. If the batter is too stiff at this point, add a bit more milk. Stir in the dates, the handful of nuts and half of the white chocolate.

4. Pour into your baking pan and bake for one hour until golden. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.

5. When the cake has cooled, melt the remaining white chocolate au bain marie (using a double boiler or a bowl set over a pot of simmering water). Pour the melted white chocolate over the loaf and sprinkle with the remaining nuts.

6. Store tightly packed in paper or foil to keep that sticky gooeyness that makes this gingerbread so lovely. It will keep for a couple days, if it lasts that long.

Illustrations by Yvette. Photography by Oof Verschuren, Yvette’s lovely husband, right hand and fellow cookbook maker.

Why Yvette Loves This Recipe

This is a recipe that I looove. Not only because it’s so delicious, but also because it’s made in the blink of an eye, and because I always have the ingredients for it lying around. It doesn’t contain eggs or butter. I guess that if you made it with soy milk instead of regular milk you could even call it vegan! White chocolate is also one of my favorites, so that had to go into this recipe, and so did the nuts and seeds. Dates too, of course. Nice sticky ones. This makes a perfect breakfast loaf. You should eat it while it’s still warm, with a thick layer of salted butter on top. Cold butter, straight from the fridge. Are you with me? Or have you run to the kitchen already to bake it?

  1. Monica says:

    I love the illustrations, gives the recipe a nice touch. I great idea for a cookbook, especially for those of us who are visual.

  2. donna says:

    I love gingerbread so I’m definitely going to make this. I also wonder where she got that cute loaf pan from.

  3. Christine says:

    These graphics are terrific. And the gingerbread loaf looks delicious. No sense waiting for holidays – I’m going to try this out this weekend. And share with my family and friends. Maybe.

  4. This looks incredible. Seriously incredible. I am pinning this bad boy for future consumption.

  5. Emily says:

    Holy smokes! This looks heavenly! And I agree with Monica, those illustrations are great :)

  6. calley says:

    The bread looks devine and I really love the addition of the illustrations. I just made pumpkin bread and I’m thinking I need to add some chocolate.

  7. gretchen says:

    the illustrations make this wonderful recipe even more so…
    I love dates used in baking- one of my favorites is a Date Nut Torte cake recipe that’s been in my family forever. This quick bread will be joining it!

  8. YUM! I love gingerbread – this recipe looks delicious and I love the illustrations. Definitely going to check out this cookbook.

  9. Magda says:

    I love Yvette’s illustrations and her recipes are so well written. What a great cake!

  10. Ana says:

    Beautiful! Instead of white chocolate, maybe we could use dark chocolate? I prefer it!

  11. Laura says:

    I like so much this post! Everything (from drawnings to photographs, passing through the lovely portrait in the end) is so joyful and fresh!

  12. I need this in my life. Great pics too!!

  13. The illustrations are great! They remind me of the first cookbooks i had when i was a kid. I love a cookbook that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
    Gingerbread is a cool weather staple in our house. My son will love to help with this one – Thanks!

  14. sherrie says:

    Chilly weather makes this recipe more appealing to try, the photo illustrations look easy to follow and the ingredients are so tempting, I’m anxious to give it a shot. Can almost smell my kitchen now.

  15. Kristina says:

    I personally have to say that while I do love all the visuals, my favorite is the portrait of Yvette!!

  16. heidilicious says:

    I loved this recipe so much that I decided to make it. Sadly, I encountered some issues from the beginning. Maybe it’s just me, but there’s not enough liquid in this recipe to hold 3.5 cups of flour together. I had to add nearly an additional cup of milk. Yikes! I was nervous while it baked but it actually came out really well. It cuts nicely and the spice is actually subtle. Since I do not like white chocolate, I opted to try it with a little schmear of goat cheese. Winner! I also think cream cheese would be a great complement. Hope this helps other bakers.

  17. Looks delicious! I love gingerbread, too. And the drawings are so cute!

  18. Barb says:

    Yum Yum, will make this for sure.

  19. Tera says:

    Excited about trying this. Thank you, Heidilicious for your comments, very helpful. I will actually be trying/experimenting with gluten free flour. We’ll see how it goes…

  20. Rita Corbett says:

    Can’t wait to make this, and I loved the loaf pan in the photo. It is very pretty………..

  21. Chelsea says:

    I just made this recipe. I have some experience baking and followed the recipe exactly besides the milk. I also had to add much more milk than called for, more than a cup more. The spices are very subtle, too subtle. In fact this loaf is pretty much flavorless, dense and dry. It is visually pleasing, but very bad tastewise. Maybe there are suggestions to modify the recipe? Or perhaps a different recipe for gingerbread?

  22. Aga says:

    Love the drawings and your pictures, awesome!

  23. this sounds like heaven! Yvette rocks.

  24. Tina @ MOMS CRAZY COOKING says:

    I made this recipe too, exactly as it states and I bake VERY often and it was a complete disaster and went straight to the trash. I guess I should of read the comments first, because I am not the only one that had problems. super frustrating

  25. Terri says:

    How can this work without the inclusion of eggs?

  26. Marie says:

    This looks fantastic! And I love the loaf pan too…please can you tell us where to get these?
    A quick look using Google search, ‘white ceramic loaf pan’ revealed nothing as nice as the one in the photo.


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