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A Proper Seed Cake Recipe

Today was a thoroughly lazy Sunday, a precious day spent at home, pottering about the kitchen reading books and drinking tea.  Soon my thoughts turn to cake, one that required not much effort, a plain and simple, no-nonsense kind of cake.  A cake with a soft tender crumb, brightly coloured yellow from proper eggs and organic butter. Nothing too sweet, and flavoured with just a hint of spice.

No question that it had to be a seed cake, with its golden crust and a crumb speckled with caraway seeds. My only dilemma was whose recipe to use. Mrs Beeton wrote a recipe for A Very Good Seed Cake, but it seemed a bit big, and Fergus Henderson has a robust sounding version in Nose To Tail.  But today Monty Don’s recipe was just the ticket, taken from my favourite comfort food book.   It was perfect, served as Monty suggests, with a glass of madeira. Now it's stashed in a tin to nibble on a slice over the next few days.

I thought I'd share the recipe here, because I'm afraid you won't have much luck finding a cake recipe if you google the words "seed" and "Monty Don" what with him being a garden writer and all.

Monty makes his with a bowl and wooden spoon, but I used a stand mixer because as I did say, it was a thoroughly lazy Sunday. 

Seed Cake 
extracted from The Home Cookbook from Sarah & Monty Don 

Serves 6
150g unsalted butter, plus a little more for greasing 
150g caster sugar 
3 eggs
2 teaspoons caraway seeds 
200g self raising flour, sifted 
1 -2 tbs milk if the mixture needs softening.

Preheat oven to 180C

Grease a 15 x 10 x 7 loaf tin with butter and line the bottom with baking paper 

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Sprinkle in the caraway seeds, then gently fold in the flour. 

Add a little milk if the mixture seems too stiff, it should drop easily from a spoon.

Spoon the mixture in the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted int eh middle comes out clean.

Allow to cool for a few minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely. 

It keeps well in a tin for several days.


  1. Oh, I can smell the caraway seeds and the idea of a nibble of cake with a glass of Madeira sounds a very decadent Sunday indeed.

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