I like to drink tea out on my porch. The only problem with tea is that there are very few snacks that go well with it.
But no longer. I was looking through an old cookbook from the 60s, and I happened upon a recipe for the seed cake.
Seed cakes are slightly less fancy than crumpets, but crunchier and just better overall. Most importantly they go perfectly with black teas.
Plus the nerdier among you might remember these as Balin the Dwarfs favorite kind of cake in The Hobbit.
Step 1: Procuring the Ingredients
Take an epic quest to your local grocery store to pick up these ingredients.
•1 cup of butter (generally speaking, this is just two sticks)
•1 cup of sugar
•2 cups of all purpose flour
•1/2 of a teaspoon of salt
•1 teaspoon of baking powder
•1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
•1-2 tablespoons of caraway seeds (I put about 1.5 tablespoons into my cake)
Caraway seeds are the one thing that may prove difficult to find. Check in the spice area of your grocery store.
Also, you will need a cake pan. Preferably a tube pan, though I think any type of cake pan would work. (seed cake cooked in a brownie pan could be pretty interesting, though I don't know how that would turn out. If anyone takes a risk and tries making seed cake/brownies, let me know. I'd be interested to know if it works.)
Step 2: Making the Batter
Leave the butter out for a few hours to warm up. You want it as soft as possible without it being melted.
Once the butter is decently soft, drop it in a large mixing bowl and pour in the sugar. If you have an electric mixer, use that; otherwise just mash the sugar and butter together with a spoon until they're mixed in thoroughly
Now add the five eggs one at a time. Each time you add an egg, whisk the mixture together to help it mix before you add another one.
preheat your oven to 350 degrees, so that you won't have to wait for long once you're ready to bake.
At this point you can add all the other ingredients in no particular order. You don't need to whisk it again until everything is in the bowl.
Step 3: Pouring the Batter
Take the cake pan that you have decided to use. Remember that your pan should be more than large enough to hold all of the cake batter, or it could overflow if you aren't careful.
Rub some butter on the sides of the pan to prevent the cake from getting stuck.
Pour the batter into your pan leaving an inch or so of room at the top. You may need to use more than one pan (I wound up using two when I realized one wasn't enough).
Step 4: Bake That Cake
Pop the pan into the oven and set the timer for an hour, checking on it every once in a while to make sure nothing has gone awry.
After an hour, poke it with something to see if it seems firm enough to be done. If it is, take it out and let it cool. If not, put it back, but check on it often to make sure it doesn't get burned.
Now it's time to enjoy it with some good tea. I'd go with Earl Grey, but any black tea would do wonderfully.