dinsdag 23 augustus 2011

Caraway seed cake


It is summer- hard to believe I know, as I am writing I can hear thunder and lightning, I see rain and I feel cold! It is not even a summer storm!
Around ten days ago we braved the elements and carried on with the planned BBQ organised by my friend Breda. Dutch weather was not going to spoil our evening!
The theme was Eastern European and I while I wanted to make Dillisk (Irish seaweed) soda bread (recipe to follow) I also wanted to keep within the theme. I did a quick Google search and came up with caraway seeds. Hmmm
The thought of caraway seeds stirred memories- of years ago...of my humble beginnings in Holland. The time of no luxuries, I am not going to tell you I had no running water but I certainly didn’t have a fully equipped kitchen- heck I didn't even have a kitchen! It was a time when it was not common for the average Dutch household to have an oven. I was surprised (and horrified) that almost everything went in a pool of fat in een braadpan on the gas hob! I was, however, lucky enough to get hold of a Tefal mini grill-oven. It kept my sanity. I was able, when urge arose, (remember I am English!) to cook a traditional roast! The oven was small, not everything fitted in at the same time mind, and I remember (now in amusement, then it was pure frustration) how I used to partially cook the food and keep it warm on top of the oven covered in silver foil and then rotate everything! I got it to a T! I also remember having to 'hammer' baking tins to size in order for them to fit in with the oven door closed! I also remember how my baking, on more than one occasion, awoke my sleeping husband! Haha those were the times!
When I had family visitors I also used this oven to bake a cake, I kept it simple, one cake I remember regularly baking is the Seed Cake.
The recipe came out an old Marguarite Patten cookery book: Every Day Cook Book, one I no doubt ´borrowed´ from my mother. It is a book filled with, as it suggests, basic recipes, 1,000 to be exact!
I love caraway seeds and I use them in many dishes savoury (Pak Choi) and sweet alike.
This seed cake is based on the Traditional Madeira cake simply with the addition of caraway seeds. The measurements are lb and oz but I have translated. I used a 20cm cake tin but the recipe calls for a 18cm, in the old days I used a loaf tin which also worked fine.


Seed Cake
Cooking time 1 1/2hours
Oven temperature 325-350F, gas mark 3, 170C
(6 oz) 175gr butter
(6-7 oz) 185gr castor sugar
3 large eggs
(8 oz) 250gr flour, preferably plain
1 teaspoon baking powder with plain flour
approximately 2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon caraway seeds (a little more or less according to personal taste)
To decorate: 1 tablespoon sugar. (I find the coarser the better- roughly bashing sugar cubes work well for a crispy top)



Cream the butter and sugar until soft and light, the larger amount of sugar helps to give a very fine texture. Beat the eggs and add gradually to the creamed butter mixture. Should this show signs of curdling, fold in a little sieved flour. Fold in sieved flour and caraway seeds, then the milk. Pour in a greased and floured 7 inch (18cm) cake tin, sprinkle the sugar on top. Bake for approximately 1 1/2 hours in a very moderate oven. Cover if necessary with a piece of greaseproof paper to prevent it becoming dry or burned. Test the cake with a small skewer, if it comes out clean it is ready. Cool on a wire rack. 12- 14 portions.
I served it as a dessert with marinated(Balsamic)strawberries and cream.
This blog is especially for the BBQ guests that requested the recipe- always a sign of success!
Other interesting dishes included Russian 'sunflower' salads, Ukraine Shashlick, pickled tomatoes and....vodka! Cheers!

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