“I don’t mind some cake – seed-cake, if you have any.”

“Lots!” Bilbo found himself answering, to his own surprise; and he found himself scuttling off…to a pantry to fetch two beautiful round seed-cakes which he had baked that afternoon for his after-supper morsel.

When my sister read those words from The Hobbit, I could almost taste the seed-cakes. They sounded like a wonderful blend of sweet and savory. A perfect companion to tea.


Nearly tenyears after listening to that timeless tale, I decided to try my handing at baking up a beautiful seed-cake.



The ingredients and process are very simple: Mix together the dry ingredients. Cream butter, sugar, orange zest, and vanilla. Beat in eggs & stir in dry ingredients & milk. Fold in the caraway seeds. Bake & enjoy with butter or cream.


Notes: Need I say that I made my usual substitutions? I used approximately half whole wheat & half all-purpose flour. If you’re feeling brave, you could use all whole wheat flour.

For the sweetener, I used our newly made maple sugar. You can use granulated sugar, rapadura, demerara, or whatever you wish!

The original recipe called for 1 tablespoon of orange zest. The amount scared me a bit, so reduced it to about a teaspoon. My mistake. Another time I would add the complete amount.

Caraway Seed Cake

Adapted from Rosa

Printable Page


  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground almonds
  • 3/4 cup (1 ½ sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup maple sugar or sweetener of choice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons caraway seeds

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter a 9×5 inch loaf pan & line with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flours, baking powder, salt, and almonds. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter & sugar until light colored and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the orange zest & vanilla extract and mix.

4. Add the dry ingredients and milk alternately, a little at a time, until it is fully incorporated. Fold in the caraway seeds.

5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 50-60 minutes or until lightly golden on top and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Let cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Pull the cake out of the pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.  Serve with butter, cream, or whipped cream.

Makes 1 (9×5-inch) loaf cake

13 Responses to “Seed-Cake”

  1. Reeve says:

    You have been passed on a little gift from my blog, which was passed on from others to me- it is the Pure in Heart gift! You can easily get the (simple) details if you visit my blog. I just love your blog and writing and recipes and photos! May Jesus be your every Light!

  2. Kristin says:

    I love your blog! This recipe looks so good. What kind of camera do you use?

  3. It looks so tender! I wish I could try one – maybe two? – slices, yum… :)

  4. I love this! Although I was enthralled with all the adventures the hobbits got into, I was also captivated by just how much they loved food. Those little guys sure could eat. ;)

  5. Erica Lea says:

    Reeve: Thank you – you’re so sweet!

    Kristin: So glad you enjoy my blog! I use the Nikon D80 with a 50mm 1.8 lens for the majority of my food photos. I absolutely love it.

    Patricia: It is hard to stop at just one slice. ;)

    Carolyn: Yes, you can definitely tell that Tolkien liked his food. It certainly comes out in his descriptions!

  6. Amanda says:

    Beautiful Erica! I should have stopped by here to get ideas for photography my banana bread… you are just so talented!

  7. polwig says:

    The cake looks absolutely great…. orange zest, almonds and caraway seeds can make it almost savory as much as sweet… to be added with chicken chilli as much as with spring salad…. not that i know my taste buds of course… but I love it… thank you

  8. Maria says:

    Oh my, this cake has it all. Love the flavors.

  9. As soon as I get a breather this week I am making that!!! Ooooooo :)

  10. Megan says:

    Hello! I was looking for a seed cake recipe since we’re currently reading The Hobbit as a family and was delighted to find not only the recipe here, but also the mention of the book. I linked to this page on my blog, and thought you’d like to know. Lovely website!

  11. Lauren says:

    I am listening to ‘The Hobbit’ audiobook. I just listened to that passage and found this blog via google search. Love the title! I will have to try this recipe. Thanks for posting!

  12. Lauren says:

    Oh yes, I meant to mention I grew up cooking for 6!


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