Seed cake

Seed cake

Democracy dies in darkness

By Éléonore Ford

The seed cake is a pleasantly old-fashioned bread, barely sweet, sprinkled with caraway seeds which give it a slight crunch and a subtle touch of licorice. It has been around since medieval times with an abundance of variations, including four from the famous Mrs Beeton of Victorian England.

Caraway can be divisive, but know that the cake would be just as delicious without seeds or with a different selection of them. See Substitutions below.

Storage: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the freezer (the whole loaf or slices) for up to 2 months.

Adapted from “A Whisper of Cardamom” by Eleanor Ford (Apollo Publishers, 2024).


Measuring cup

Servings: 8ten (makes one 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf)


Time icon

Active: 30 minutes|

Total: 1 hour 25 minutes

  1. Step 1

    In a medium bowl, combine the flour, almond flour or powder, caraway, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer, beat the butter and cane sugar on medium-high speed until light and foamy, 4 to 6 minutes, scraping sides and bottom. from the bowl as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating on medium-high after each addition. If the dough begins to curdle, stir in a spoonful of the flour mixture. Scrape the bowl, add the remaining flour mixture and mix on low until everything is well combined. (It’s okay if the batter seems slightly dry or thick.) Add the milk and mix again on low until smooth and uniform, about 1 minute. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir several times with a flexible spatula to make sure everything is well incorporated.

  2. 2nd step

    Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and spread in an even layer to the corners. Smooth the top and sprinkle with demerara or turbinado sugar. Bake for 55 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

  3. Step 3

    Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then use the excess parchment paper to remove the cake, transfer it to a wire rack and let cool completely.


or a cake with more seeds >> use 1 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds with 1 teaspoon anise seed and 1 tablespoon poppy seeds.
Don’t like caraway? >> Leave aside (add more nutmeg, if desired) and/or use anise, poppy, fennel or sesame seeds together or separately.
Raw cane sugar >> 3/4 cup granulated sugar plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar or golden powdered sugar.
Dairy milk >> Vegetable milk.
Butter >> Vegan butter.


You can make this in a 9×5-inch loaf pan, but the cake will be chunkier and will bake in less than 50 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

Per serving, based on 10

  • Calories


  • Fat


  • saturated fat


  • Carbohydrates


  • Sodium


  • Cholesterol


  • Protein


  • Fiber


  • Sugar


This analysis is an estimate based on the available ingredients and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a dietitian or nutritionist.

Adapted from “A Whisper of Cardamom” by Eleanor Ford (Apollo Publishers, 2024).

Tested by Becky Krystal.

Published on May 10, 2024

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