Lemon Caraway Seed Cake – An Old-Fashioned Bake with a Modern Twist
This lemon caraway seed cake recipe is a riff from a Rachel Roddy recipe I spotted in the Guardian. I thought a version of it would be perfect for an upcoming visit from two of my aunts last summer.
Seed cake seems a very old-fashioned kind of a cake and something I associate with elderly aunts along with sherry. My aunts, I hasten to add, aren’t at all old-fashioned and are definitely not of the seed cake & sherry drinking variety. I think it’s an image I got from childhood reading rather than any sort of reality.
In fact both my aunts put me to shame whilst they were staying here. One had skin that was younger looking than mine and the other went out running before breakfast. Luckily, they both liked the cake. Funnily enough, they said it reminded them of visiting elderly relatives when they were young. This caraway seed cake thing seems almost guaranteed to tug at our childhood memories.
Seed cake is a plain buttery cake flavoured with caraway seeds. It really must be a vintage cake though, because when I googled “seed cake”, pretty much all that came up were recipes for poppy seed cakes. Well done Rachel Roddy for bringing such a delicious cake back to our consciousness.
Here is Mrs Beeton’s take on a seed cake, from her Book of Household Management, 1861.
“A VERY GOOD SEED-CAKE.
INGREDIENTS – 1 lb. of butter, 6 eggs, 3/4 lb. of sifted sugar, pounded mace and grated nutmeg to taste, 1 lb. of flour, 3/4 oz. of caraway seeds, 1 wineglassful of brandy.
Mode.—Beat the butter to a cream; dredge in the flour; add the sugar, mace, nutmeg, and caraway seeds, and mix these ingredients well together. Whisk the eggs, stir to them the brandy, and beat the cake again for 10 minutes. Put it into a tin lined with buttered paper, and bake it from 1–1/2 to 2 hours. This cake would be equally nice made with currants, and omitting the caraway seeds.
Time.—1–1/2 to 2 hours. Average cost, 2s. 6d.
Seasonable at any time.”
Lemon Caraway Seed Cake
I decided to go very modern and bake my lemon caraway seed cake in a bundt mould. It didn’t take me long to decide. My silicon bundt mould, as seen in this A Tale of Two Bundts post, is now my favoured container for baking cakes. But don’t worry if you haven’t got one, a large loaf tin would do just as well. Wholemeal spelt was, of course, my flour of choice, but I also decided to add a little lemon zest and juice. I thought the lemon would freshen the cake up a bit and bring out the lemony notes of the caraway seeds.
Rachel just states “sugar” in her recipe, so I went with a mix of light muscovado and golden caster sugars. I also used sherry rather than the madeira or marsala she suggests. It’s what I had in the cupboard and it seemed to be more fitting to an old-fashioned seed cake somehow. This is meant to be a plain kind of a cake, but I jazzed it up just a little with some lemon icing drizzled over the top.
I must have made all the right decisions, because the cake was really really good. CT and my aunts appreciated it anyhow. Old-fashioned this lemon caraway seed cake might be, but sometimes the old ones are the best ones.
Other Recipe for Old-Fashioned Cakes you might like
- Blackcurrant buckle via Tin and Thyme
- Dorset apple cake via Fuss Free Flavours
- Easy ginger cake loaf via Apply To Face Blog
- Felton spice loaf via Dragons and Fairy Dust
- Old-fashioned English tea loaf (vegan) via Yumsome
- Remarkable rhubarb cake via Tin and Thyme
- Rock cakes via Recipes Made Easy
- Victoria sandwich via Fab Food 4 All
- Vinegar cake via Tin and Thyme
- Yorkshire barm brack with Wensleydale via Farmersgirl Kitchen
- Yorkshire parkin via Veggie Desserts
I’m linking this lemon caraway seed cake up to #BakingCrumbs with Apply To Face Blog, #CookOnceEatTwice with Searching for Spice, #BakeOfTheWeek with Casa Costello and #CookBlogShare with Recipes Made Easy.
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Lemon Caraway Seed Cake – The Recipe
- 250 g unsalted butter
- 100 g light muscovado sugar
- 150 g golden caster sugar
- 1 lemon (organic or unwaxed is best as you're going to use the zest)
- 1 tbsp caraway seeds
- 5 medium eggs (or 4 large ones)
- 340 g wholemeal spelt
- 2 level tsp baking powder
- 150 ml sherry
- 50 g icing sugar
Turn on the oven to 180℃ (350℉, Gas 4).
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Grate in the lemon rind and add the caraway, then beat until combined.
Beat in the eggs, one by one, adding a little of the flour if the mixture looks as though it's splitting.
Sieve in half the flour and baking powder, then stir in half of the sherry. Repeat with the remaining flour, baking powder and sherry.
Juice the lemon and stir in half until just incorporated.
Spoon the batter into a greased bundt tin or a lined large loaf or round cake tin and bake in the centre of the oven for about 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean (ish).
Allow to cool in the tin for ten minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Beat the remaining lemon juice with the icing sugar and drizzle over the cake in anyway you see fit.
Adapted from Rachel Roddy's seed cake - Guardian, 11 August 2018
You can use a large loaf tin if you don't have a bundt mould.
Please note: calories and other nutritional information are per serving. They're approximate and will depend on exact serving size and ingredients used.