"But I don't mind some cake - seed cake, if you have any." -Balin, The Hobbit, An Unexpected Party, page 19.
The first recipe to be posted here, huzzah! Seed cake is mentioned very early on in the Hobbit, so it seemed a logical place to start.
The recipe I followed came from an early 20th century copy of Mrs Beaton, it is a very traditional English cake and it is safe to assume that it is the type Tolkien would have been familiar with, though I welcome any discussion on this point.
The cake turned out well, after a few small issues such as misreading the scales and putting in 100g extra butter. It has a dense, soft texture on the inside and quite a lot of thick, golden, biscuity crust. Delicious with a good, milky tea, sweetened to taste. The cake has a mild licorice flavour from the caraway seeds, but do not be put off if you do not like licorice, it is quite palatable. The cake is robust enough that you could double the amount of caraway seeds and spices, and even throw in a handful of candied citrus peel.
350g of butter
450g/3 cups of plain flour (all purpose)
350g/1 3/4 cups castor sugar
2 tablespoons of caraway seeds
6 eggs, whisked
Milk, if needed
1 teaspoon Mace, ground
Nutmeg, grated, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 170C/325F/Gas Mark 3.
2. Grease and line an 8 inch (20cm) round cake tin.
3. Cream the butter with the sugar, then sift in the flour.
4. Add the mace, nutmeg and caraway seeds, mix together well.
5. Stir in the whisked eggs, and enough milk to make a thick, soft batter. Beat the cake again for 2-3 minutes, until smooth.
6. Pour mixture into cake tin and bake for 1 1/2-2 hours or until a skewer comes out clean from the centre of the cake. The cake should be well risen and a deep golden brown in colour.