Friday, 8 February 2013

Three Seed Cake

I remember when I first read The Hobbit.  I was about 14 and had just been stuck in bed for a week with the chicken-pox, and someone had bought me The Lord of the Rings to keep me occupied.

It did.

Then I went back and read The Hobbit, which I had previously dismissed as too childish to be interesting, based on the first page, which I couldn't get past. This time I persevered, and loved The Hobbit as much, if not more, than The Lord of the Rings.  My favourite parts of both books were the parts that other people often seem to find tedious; the descriptions of the landscapes, the houses, the food. Well, of course the food.

As a person who takes their food very seriously I read with as much horror as amusement of Bilbo's loss of his seed-cakes to insouciant, encroaching dwarfs. I didn't know quite what a seedcake ought to be, but it sounded mysterious and alluring, right up there with dragon-hoarded gold.

A little research showed that the seeds in traditional British seedcake would have been caraway, which disconcerted me quite a bit. I like a good caraway rye bread, and cheese seems like a reasonable repository for them, but cake? I couldn't see it. Later, I decided maybe... and put some into what I thought a proper, hobbity seed cake should be. This one. It's deceptively simple, but it's rich and subtle. Just the thing for elevenses, with a good cup of steaming hot tea.

8 servings
1 hour 30 minutes - 20 minutes prep time

Three Seed Cake

2 cups soft unbleached flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsps baking powder
1/3 cup poppyseeds
2 tbsps anise seed
1 tsp caraway seed

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
the zest of 1 lemon
4 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and flour an 8" round spring-form pan.

Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Mix in the poppyseeds, anise seeds and caraway seeds.

Cream the butter and sugar and beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the grated lemon zest. Mix in the flour until well and evenly combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing it out as evenly as you can, and getting it to the edges of the pan.

Bake for 70 to 75 minutes, until the top is firm and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Last year at this time I made Citrus & GInger Beet Slaw

1 comment:

Karen said...

I've been looking for a recipe for seed cake for ages! Thank you. Thank you, Thank you!
I've had to adapt this to gluten free, but I think it will work just fine.