New Year’s Hobbit Seed Cake


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.

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Q: How was your New Year’s?


Have you ever mistaken one ingredient for another?


  1. These look so perfect for a cozy day! I celebrated New Year’s at home so it was relatively quiet…but I did manage to stay up until midnight 😉 Wishing you all the best! 😀

  2. What a way for me to start my New Year with you Jessica.
    Today I embarrassingly realized that I’ve been living in a small hole of my own. LOL
    Other than the movie…I truly had no clue there was a cake by the name of Hobbit. Now, I can appear a little more up to date with friends that may a little more updated than me. Thanks ;o))

    Here’s wishing you and Peter…love, health and yes, appreciation galore for having found each other. Happy New year my dear friend.

    Flavourful wishes,

    1. Happy New Year, Claudia! I hope 2013 is a wonderful year for you 🙂

  3. Hobbit cake, eh? And in 2007. Someone had a brilliant idea to name a little seed cake with this name! Next time, I hope it is me! Looks yummy! Enjoyed the recipe rescue story, too!

  4. I had a pretty lowkey new years too and its almost become impossible to stay up past 11. Argh feels old but I love my sleep 🙂 These muffins with cumin seeds is a great combination. does it have slightly salty flavor and crunch from cumin seed?

    1. That’s a great question, Dixya – I didn’t find the cumin added any salty flavor, but it DID add a spicy flavor that wasn’t hot at all, if that makes any sense 😛 They do add a tiny crunch, though!

      Happy New Year!

  5. Very cool. I’ve never seen cumin as a cake ingredient.
    But I think I’d probably like this better with cumin seeds than caraway seed anyway.

  6. How neat! Black cumin is quite prevalent in South Asian cuisine (in fact, the name on the bag is the Urdu/Hindi name for black cumin). It’s always neat to see it in dessert options. My mom used to make a cumin cookie that was similar to these muffins 🙂

    1. I didn’t know that! Thanks, Azmina 🙂 Now I’m curious about these cookies!

      Have a great weekend!

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