I wrote a post on Caraway Seed Cake in March 2018 and in doing so found that although caraway is such a popular herb/spice in Poland and used in breads, meat & vegetable dishes, it is quite surprising that it is not used in cakes.
I looked in all my recipe books and did not find any use of caraway in Polish cakes.
Caraway seed cake seem to be a quintessential British cake and recently whilst doing some research into Victorian cooking in the north of England I came across this delicious version.
As I live a short walk away from a house that Charlotte Brontë used to visit, I was very interested to find that seed cake is mentioned in her novel Jane Eyre (1847)
“And then Miss Temple invited Jane and her new friend Helen into her parlour for tea and I began to warm up. The kindly teacher unwrapped before their eager eyes a parcel containing ‘a good-sized seed-cake’.
‘I meant to give each of you some of this to take with you,’ said she, ‘but as there is so little toast, you must have it now,’ and she proceeded to cut slices with a generous hand.
We feasted that evening as on nectar and ambrosia; and not the least delight of the entertainment was the smile of gratification with which our hostess regarded us, as we satisfied our famished appetites on the delicate fare she liberally supplied.”
This recipe has been adapted from –
Mrs Somerville’s Cookery and Domestic Economy, published in 1862 and found in – The Victorian Kitchen by Jennifer Davies BBC 1989 TV Series.
The original recipe used 10 eggs! – here the ingredients have been adjusted to 5 eggs.
How large the bowl must have been & how hard the whisking of the whites without an electric whisk.
- 225g butter
- 225g caster sugar
- 200g plain flour
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 2 tablespoons of cornflour
- 2 tablespoons of caraway seeds
- 50g ground almonds
- 5 eggs separated
Pre-heat the oven to GM4 180°C.
- Use a loose bottomed cake tin – 24cm in diameter.
- Grease the tin and line the base with a circle of greaseproof paper.
- Mix together the flour, baking powder, cornflour, ground almonds & caraway seeds.
- Cream together the butter and sugar.
- Add the yolks, one at a time creaming the mixture on each addition.
- Fold the flour mixture into the creamed mixture.
- Whisk the egg whites till firm and stiff.
- Fold the egg whites into the cake mixture.
- Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth over the top.
- Bake for 60 minutes, check after 50 minutes and cover with grease-proof paper if necessary – to prevent burning.
- Leave to cool in the tin.
Caraway Seeds are thought to aid digestion – so this is a good cake to have at the end of a meal.
Royal Albert – Primulette tea set from the 1950s.
Lead Crystal cake stand – Tortenplatte – Venus by Nachtmann(Germany).