Introduction: Bilbo's Carroway Seed Cake (Old Biggs Family Recipe)
'A little beer would suit me better, if it is all the same to you, my good sir,' said Balin with the white beard. 'But I don't mind some cake - seed cake, if you have any.'
'Lots!' Bilbo found himself answering, to his surprise; and he found himself scuttling off, to, the cellar to fill a pint beer-mug, and then to a pantry to fetch two beautiful round seedcakes which he had baked that afternoon for his after-supper morsel.
J.R.R. Tolkien The Hobbit
It's not often I get to quote my favorite book, and It's not often that I remember quotes such like this (Infact I did have to pick the tatty old book off the shelf to get the exact quote)... But since as long as I have been eating Seedcake, I have been happy in the knowledge that if oneday a troop of 13 Dwarfs and an old bloke come knocking for an 'unexpected party' I know I shall be ahead of the game for poor old Balin!
Well this cake is an old recipe passed down my family, my grandmother passed it to me some years ago, and when I made one recently I decided to share it with the wider world. I tend to make this cake when off camping, as it lasts a good long while without going stale... Carroway has a great aniseed taste, and this cake is certainly a taste sensation! Its best served piping hot with lashings of proper English butter.... or you know, cold with a cuppa tea
Step 1: Ingredients!
You will need:
4 oz (113g) of Margerine or butter
5oz (142g) of Caster Sugar
5oz (142g) of Self Raising flour
1oz (28g) of Corn Flour
1/2 a teaspoon of Baking Powder
1/2 a teaspoon of Vanilla essence (Use the real essence if you can, not the artificial stuff)
2 GENEROUS teaspoons of Caraway Seeds
Two loaf tins
Parchment paper/ Greaseproof paper
Whisk: Either Electric or manual
Spoons, knife and spatulas
Cooling tray (or a clean tea towel to put the cakes on once they are cooked)
30mins or so for weighing out and mixing etc, and 1.5hrs for the cooking process
I managed to make two cakes, but you may only get one, depends on how big your cake tin is
Step 2: IMPORTANT! No Biological Warfare Please!
See this REALLY annoys me, when someone makes something for you to CONSUME and they don't bother to wash their hands before hand... So I have decided to make a point of a few things that TV Chefs or whatnot don't seem to be able to do
# Remove any rings/ Jewlery that may come in contact with the food
# Wash your hands before you cook
# After handeling Eggs, its good practice to wash your hands (Stops the spread of Salmonella and such)
# DO NOT Lick or taste off a spoon THEN put it back into the bowl you took the sample from... EWW... If I wanted your germs I would kiss you!
Before I start sounding like a rambling germ freak, I'm sure you'll agree this is all common sense... But some pople just dont ...get... that its not hygenic
Step 3: You Have Been Weighed, You Have Been Measured, and You Have Been Found Wanting... Cake
Okay, so 10 points awarded to the one who knows where the quote in the title is adapted from? Give you a hint, It's not the Hobbit ;)
Okay, time to weigh out your ingredients... I find its easier to to put everything in pudding bowls until you are ready to mix in... It's up you you
It's also at his point that I would suggest pre heating your oven to Gas Mark 4./375°F/190°C Whatever sort of oven you've got!
It would also be (for me) the time to line your cake trays... I used some pre done cake tin liners because we do ALOT of baking in this house... and they just make things easier... Failing that, cut out a sheet of parchment, and fold and trim it to your desired shape. I also like to grease them with a little bit of butter, but thats your call
Step 4: Lets Do This Then!
Right, firstly we need to 'cream' together the butter and the sugar... This is why I love to use an Electric whisk it just makes life SOO much easier... plus I think it gets a lot more air into a cake...
Step 5: Rough Up Those Eggs!
Now, some people like to mess about and, mix the eggs together before adding to the mix slowly... I say bugger it and just sling them in the mix... It makes no difference....
Step 6: Whack It All In!
Funny story, I was so concerned getting the pictures for this I'ble right, I forgot to put the baking powder in with the mix... so I had to scoop the mix out of the cake tin... and re-add it all... So unless you want slightly flat and deflated looking cakes please don't forget the baking powder!
Okay, so what I USUALLY do, is I put the Self raising flour, cornflour and baking powder in a pudding bowl, and mix it in a small amounts all in one go, since I'm lazy. The reason why I mix the dry powdered ingredients slowly, is otherwise the mix will go EVERYWHERE
I then add my Vanilla and Carroway seeds and put equal quantities in the cake tins
Step 7: Cook Em' Boys!
Right, by now your oven will have pre-heated nicely, put the cakes on the middle shelf for about an hour and a half, (time may be shorter for fan assistd ovens etc) I'll go into what you need to look for in the next stage
You know you don't wan't to face it... but now is the MOST logical time to do it... go on... go wash those dishes we'll wait...
oi... come on now don't procrastinate!
Step 8: I Bet the Kitchen Smells Great Now Yeah?
See I told you we would wait whilst you washed up... don't you feel better now thats all away?
Yeah I just bunged them all in the dishwasher too... But shhhh I won't tell anyone ;)
now, when your cakes have risen and have gone a nice golden brown colour, what you want to do is grab a knife to test to see if it is cooked all the way through...
Choose a spot somewhere in the middle of the cake, and push your knife in, and pull out (kinda like if you where checking the oil in your car) If the knife comes out with wet cake mix on it... It needs more time in the oven... if it comes out 'dry' then its time to turn those beautys out onto a cooling rack or clean tea towl
Step 9: The Proof Is in the Pudding!
well thats that... I find its best to eat it just fresh out of the oven with lashings of butter and a good cup of tea... Look even the puppies loved it!
I'm not EXACTLY sure how long thease cakes last, as they don't LAST long enough to ever go off in this house, but providing you keep it in an airtight container in a cool and dry place im sure it will last atleast a week