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granny's seed cake for Halloween ...

I have lots of memories of my Granny, one of them being her Seed Cake. Why I've waited so long to make one I don't know. I waited in anticipation, and once cool enough to slice, it tasted just as I remembered. It uses Caraway seeds, and Caraway seeds to me are an acquired taste, and not particularly a taste a kid would like. Did I eat it out of kindness, or did I screw my face up with the first bite? I don't remember.

I don't know what became of Granny's cookbook. The recipe I used for my Seed Cake came out of The Best of Good Housekeeping, 1973 edition. This book belonged to my Mum, and I remember this being the only cookery book she would ever use.


40z butter or hard margarine
8oz SR flour
a pinch of salt
4oz caster sugar
2 beaten large eggs
approx 4 tbsps milk
1oz of caraway seeds - once weighed, 1oz seemed a lot, I decided on 2 tsps

Rub the fat into the flour to resemble fine breadcrumbs, add salt. Stir in sugar and caraway seeds. Mix the egg into the dry ingredients and gradually add enough milk to make a dropping consistency.

My Granny used a round tin, I used a 2lb loaf tin, setting the oven temperature at 160c and baking until golden brown and springy to the touch.

With money I had for my birthday, I treated myself to the lovely green mixing bowl in Cargo Homeshop in Chichester. It's big and heavy, and only cost £10! I was so annoyed with myself recently as I allowed my trusty, vintage, worth a pretty penny, TG Green Easimix mixing bowl, with a pale blue inside, to fall out the cupboard and smash to pieces!

Whilst piling through recipes on the internet, I discovered that in one small corner of the Midlands region of the UK, Seed Cake was the traditional food to be eaten on October 31st.

The article also states varying recipes, something I discovered too. Hannah Glasse, in The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy, published in 1805, uses yeast. Mrs Beeton, in the Book of Household Management, published in 1861, uses eggs and butter. The recipe I used has the quality of a Madeira cake. Somes recipes include ground almonds, this would have made my cake more moist. Candied peel can be added too.

Caraway Seeds are often partnered with rich foods that are not easy to digest. My cake, turning out a little dry around the edges, was a tad difficult to digest, with the caraway seeds getting stuck between my teeth!

I remember my Mum was always baking. Her, The Best of Good Housekeeping compiled by the Good Housekeeping Institute, shows all the signs. Grease marks and cake mix on The Family Cakes/Biscuits and Cookies pages!



nicolaknits said...

My well-used recipe books have splashes on them, and notations where I've adapted a recipe or doubled it. It's the sign of a good cookbook!

Simone said...

I love cook books covered in cake mix! My Nan used to make caraway seed rock cakes. The flavour reminds me a bit like aniseed.x