Monday, February 04, 2008

Seed Cake

Sun 3 Feb 2008

I am rather partial to cake. It is very civilised to have cake and tea in the afternoon on the weekend and it's good to have something to take to work during the week. So, if I'm ever lost for something to do I make cake.

There are so many good, quick and dirty cake recipes. For example, seed cake. When I first made a seed cake, people at work found the idea of caraway seeds in cake novel. Not enough cake eating, I suggest.

This recipe is from An Elegant Sufficiency. As this is a book of Edwardian recipes it just hints at caraway's pedigree as a cake ingredient. I liked the fact that the recipe also contains brandy. With no decent cognac available (and, to be honest, I possibly lacked the inclination to part with the cash, even if it had been) I substituted grappa. I was quite careful, because grappa's taste is quite distinct and I didn't want to end up with the caraway swamped by the brandy.

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease 1lb loaf tin.

Cream 125g of unsalted butter with 150g of caster sugar. Add 2 eggs, 300g of self raising flour and a teaspoon of baking powder. Add ground mace or nutmeg to taste (I used about half a teaspoon of mace). The recipe became a bit vague when we got to the brandy. One tablespoon but also one wine glass ... I opted for a generous tablespoon of grappa and then made the mixture up to cake mixture like consistency with milk. Last of all, mix in two teaspoons of caraway seeds.

Pour in the pan and bake for about 45 minutes, or until done. Be careful not to overcook (rather easily done in my pestiferous oven!).
If you have the luxury, take a slice at around 4pm with a glass of madeira. Exceedingly good!

(If you have over done the cake the flavour will still be excellent so turn into bread and butter pudding, or slather with butter or Nutella ...).

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