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Lemon Caraway Seed Cake – An Old-Fashioned Bake with a Modern Twist

Lemon Caraway Seed Cake

British, Bundt | 5th February 2019 | By

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. 

Elderly Aunts

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

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.

Lemon Caraway Seed Cake

Here is Mrs Beeton’s take on a seed cake, from her Book of Household Management, 1861.


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.

Lemon Caraway Seed Cake

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


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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Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make this lemon caraway seed cake, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below or via social media. Do share photos on your preferred social media site and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.

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Choclette x

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Old-Fashioned Caraway Seed Cake - a vintage recipe that really shouldn't be forgotten. It's delicious, especially with the addition of lemon. #TinandThyme #ClassicCakes #VintageCakes #SeedCake #BundtCake #caraway #lemon

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Lemon Caraway Seed Cake – The Recipe

Lemon Caraway Seed Cake
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5 from 11 votes

Lemon Caraway Seed Cake

An old-fashioned seed cake, jazzed up with a little lemon and sherry with a drizzle of lemon icing over the top.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Afternoon Tea, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: British
Keyword: caraway, lemons, seed cake, sherry, vintage, wholemeal spelt flour
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 385kcal


  • 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.


Calories: 385kcal | Carbohydrates: 44.9g | Protein: 6.5g | Fat: 19.5g | Saturated Fat: 11.4g | Cholesterol: 113mg | Sodium: 40mg | Potassium: 47mg | Fiber: 2.8g | Sugar: 25.6g


  1. Alison

    5th February 2019 at 4:36 pm

    I always wondered what a seed cake was! This looks delicious, I will have to give it a try. It does sound perfect for visiting aunts!

    • Choclette

      5th February 2019 at 7:36 pm

      Hahaha, indeed. If you like caraway seeds, you’ll love this cake.

  2. Nico @ yumsome

    5th February 2019 at 4:53 pm

    I love seed cake! Reminds me of my grandparents – my gran used to make it at Easter. I can almost smell it baking now! xx

    • Choclette

      5th February 2019 at 7:35 pm

      Ah, you see I was right. Seed cake is a trip down memory lane.

  3. Iris Tilley

    5th February 2019 at 6:35 pm

    That does look good

    • Choclette

      5th February 2019 at 7:34 pm

      Thank you Iris. Bundt moulds are just brilliant for making cakes look good. It did taste good too though 😀

  4. Jenny Walters

    5th February 2019 at 7:58 pm

    Absolutely love this recipe! Seed Cake does indeed evoke memories of old delicate aunts and talcum powder that they always seemed to be in a cloud of…well mine anyway! Sounds just delicious and thanks for including mine

    • Choclette

      6th February 2019 at 8:21 am

      Yes, what happened to talcum powder? I haven’t, thankfully, seen any in years.

  5. Janice

    5th February 2019 at 8:35 pm

    I love Seed cake. My Mum used to make little Caraway seed buns.

    • Choclette

      6th February 2019 at 8:18 am

      Oh gosh yes. Now you mention caraway seed buns, I remember those too.

  6. Mandy

    5th February 2019 at 8:50 pm

    I’ve never had a seed cake like this before but I do like the taste of caraway seeds so will have to give this a try

    • Choclette

      6th February 2019 at 8:17 am

      Oh, seed cake is an English classic Mandy. It has to be tried, at least once.

  7. Jere Cassidy

    6th February 2019 at 3:30 am

    So interesting as I have never heard of a seed cake. I love caraway so may need to try this and will definitely add the wine glass of brandy to mine.

    • Choclette

      6th February 2019 at 8:16 am

      Hahaha Jere, the wine glass of brandy does sound rather good. Let me know how it goes.

  8. angiesrecipes

    6th February 2019 at 5:22 am

    I love the unusual yet very delicious combo of flavours! The cake looks not only beautiful also so good!

    • Choclette

      6th February 2019 at 8:17 am

      Thanks Angie. Seed cake with caraway is a British classic. The lemon addition was entirely my idea.

  9. Jo Allison / Jo's Kitchen Larder

    6th February 2019 at 11:07 am

    I love caraway seeds but have never come across them being used in a cake. I have eaten plenty of savoury bread loaves with them in which are just soo good. Your cake sounds delicious and looking gorgeous too plus with added tanginess from the lemon and lemon icing it must be just super delicious plus the prove is in the aunties liking it! 🙂 Thank you for sharing with #BakingCrumbs 🙂

    • Choclette

      6th February 2019 at 3:59 pm

      Oh Jo, it is a bit sad that some of these old cakes aren’t better known. Seed cake isn’t something I particularly liked as a child, but I love it now.

  10. Sisley White

    6th February 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Oh I can imagine the flavours of this work so incredibly well together. What a treat. Definitely one to try.

    • Choclette

      6th February 2019 at 4:00 pm

      Thanks Sisley. Lemon in cake is always a winner 😀

  11. Anna | Once Upon A Food Blog

    6th February 2019 at 3:05 pm

    I love that your aunts put you to shame. One of mine cycled round the entire coast of mainland Britain a few years ago to celebrate her 60th. I’m looking forward to feeling that good when I’m 60! I’m not sure I’ve ever had a seed cake but this one looks delicious – a great place to start.

    • Choclette

      6th February 2019 at 3:58 pm

      Oh, go your aunt, that’s really something. I don’t think I’ve ever been fit enough to do something like that. Mine are both nearer to 80 than 60.

  12. Heidi Roberts

    6th February 2019 at 3:58 pm

    Oh I am glad you reminded me how nice seed cakes can be! Poppy seeds are one of my favourite to use.

    • Choclette

      6th February 2019 at 5:01 pm

      Poppy seeds are great, but they’re quite new fangled compared to caraway 😉

  13. Jane Saunders

    6th February 2019 at 10:25 pm

    This cake sounds right up my street – anything with spelt flour gets a big tick from me. I also think my husband would adore this cake – I might just have to bake it for him as a surprise.

    • Choclette

      8th February 2019 at 8:35 am

      Thanks Jane. I’ve been baking with spelt flour for more years than I care to remember. It works really well I find.

  14. Corina Blum

    7th February 2019 at 1:23 pm

    I’d never heard of a seed cake before! I wonder if it’s just something that wasn’t very popular in my family as all my older relatives like baking and used to bake cakes when we visited when I was a child. I’d love to try it though as it sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing with #CookOnceEatTwice!

    • Choclette

      8th February 2019 at 8:34 am

      It was old-fashioned even when I was a child. I remember trying it way back when and not being very impressed. I think caraway seeds are more to an adult’s taste than a child’s.

  15. Rebecca Smith

    8th February 2019 at 8:25 pm

    I’ve seen this across social media today, and just had to click on it when I had a moment to myself, this is such a simple but beautiful looking cake. I love the idea of the flavours together and all those eggs, how indulgent – all the yums x

    • Choclette

      9th February 2019 at 2:05 pm

      Thanks Rebecca. It’s a really nice cake. It’s a shame seed cake is so underrated. I’m sure this would work well for you with gluten-free flour. Let me know, if ever you try it.

  16. Jenny Paulin

    21st February 2019 at 4:49 pm

    I do not know if I have eaten a slice of seed cake. I would love to try a slice of yours though, because it looks so light and tasty. The simple iced decoration suits thew shape fo the cake perfectly. I love that an old fashioned recipe is being given some love and recognition.
    Thank you for sharing with #Bakeoftheweek and I am so sorry for the late commenting. life has been very hectic!! x

    • Choclette

      22nd February 2019 at 8:34 am

      Please don’t apologise Jenny. Life often gets in the way I find. Thanks for the kind comments. It’s a shame that some of these more old-fashioned cakes don’t get a bit more love.

  17. Monika Dabrowski

    25th February 2019 at 4:33 pm

    I love the idea of using caraway seeds in a cake recipe! I’ve only ever had them in savoury dishes. Your cake looks super neat too! Pinned!

    • Choclette

      26th June 2019 at 3:17 pm

      Thanks Monika. Do let me know if you try caraway seed cake. I really like it.


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