Happy New Year! I hope you all had fun and safe New Year’s Eve celebrations, whether you were at home tucked up comfortably in bed or out in the middle of a crowd waiting for the clock to strike midnight. As you might guess, Peter and I are typically the former, although we were actually awake at midnight for the first time in years. Besides working on late night physics problem sets in college, the last time I stayed up past midnight was for a Star Trek: The Next Generation marathon in high school. So worth it.
As I’ve written before, I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions – in fact, I think the linked post was the last time I even thought about the concept. This year is no different. Instead, I entered a time warp back to Thanksgiving and resolved to be grateful for what I have, such as a great husband and supportive community, and enjoy who I am at this moment rather than focus on improvement.
Yesterday, after my typical morning smoothie, I decided to bake something I hadn’t made in years: Hobbit Seed Cake.
The last time I made this cake, it was 2007 and Peter and I were not yet married. At the time, I dealt with a number of stresses that seem ridiculously silly to me now: planning details of a wedding where not everyone I loved would be present and deciding whether or not to go back to school for dietetics (we all know how THAT one turned out). Unable to sleep one night, I wandered out to the kitchen of our apartment and ate the outside of a half loaf of this cake. The outside is the best part, of course.
I hadn’t saved the original recipe, so I did a web search for it and discovered that a ton of other blogs had put up recipes for Hobbit seed cake recently, probably due to the movie that’s just come out. Darn. Luckily, Peter saved the recipe on his computer back in 2007 and has been carrying it around digitally ever since. Using keywords from the saved document, I found the recipe for Belladonna Took’s Seed Cake here.
Most seed cake recipes call for poppy seeds or caraway seeds, as this one does. The first time I made this recipe, I had no idea what caraway seeds looked or tasted like (yes, weird). I bought a bag of seeds from the local Asian market labeled “Caraway Seeds” and called it a day. It wasn’t until several years later that I discovered what I thought were caraway seeds were actually black cumin seeds. And that was the first of many times I’ve been duped by mislabeled spices from Asian grocery stores.
Surprisingly, black cumin seeds are excellent in this cake. They give this cake a quaint, old-fashioned flavor that makes me want to live in a hobbit hole in the ground. Well … almost. Only if it looks as awesome as this guy’s place.
I changed up this recipe by replacing some of the spices with ginger and making muffins instead of a cake. And swapping the caraway seeds for black cumin seeds, of course. The dough will be very stiff and the cake will be a little crumbly, kind of like a cross between cake and shortbread.
Hobbit Seed Cake
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 17 min (muffins), 30-40 min (cake)
Keywords: bake bread snack vegetarian cake
Ingredients (1 loaf or 12 muffins)
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1 Tablespoon black cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3 Tablespoons corn starch
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- Powdered sugar (optional)
Cream together butter and sugar for 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs. Stir in black cumin seeds, cinnamon, ginger, cornstarch, and baking powder. Stir in flour until thoroughly blended. Dough will be very stiff.
Pour into a greased and floured 7″ round cake pan or loaf pan. Alternatively, spoon into greased and floured 12-cup muffin tin. Bake at 350 degrees F for 17 minutes (muffins) or 30 to 40 minutes (cake) or until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean.
Cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate. Serve warm with powdered sugar sprinkled over it, or serve at room temperature.
Q: How was your New Year’s?
Have you ever mistaken one ingredient for another?