I read somewhere that seed cakes are usual in England to celebrate the end of spring. We don’t have spring in Southeast Asia but I love seed cakes and I don’t have to wait for any particular season to bake one. This caraway seed and orange marmalade cake was inspired by Nigel Slater’s A frosted marmalade cake in The Kitchen Diaries, p. 8, which doesn’t include caraway seeds among the ingredients. Adding caraway seeds was my idea. I just used Mr. Slater’s recipe as a base. See, I like soft and moist cakes and his seemed to be the exact thing that I wanted.
If you’re not familiar with caraway seeds, they look like palay but darker, shorter and slimmer. They look similar to anise seeds too but totally different although the smell and flavor are not too dissimilar. Caraway seeds are highly aromatic (some describe the smell as pungent but I disagree), sweet but at the same time rather tangy. You can buy them dried in small jars in the spice section of most supermarkets. They do not require any further preparation; you just add them to the cake batter or bread or cookie dough.
Caraway seed and orange marmalade cake
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup white sugar plus 2 tablespoons
- rind of 1 large orange
- 3 large eggs lightly beaten
- 1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup caraway seeds
- 1/3 cup orange marmalade
- juice of 1/2 orange
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Lightly butter a 10"x4" loaf pan (I used a non-stick loaf pan but I buttered it anyway just to be safe).
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and caraway seeds.
- In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (I used a hand mixer but you can do this with a wire whisk). Pour in the beaten eggs little by little, mixing as you pour. Add the orange marmalade and zest; mix just until blended.
- Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until no streaks of flour are visible. I did this by hand with a rubber scraper using the cut and fold method. Pour in the juice and continue folding until blended.
- Pour into the prepared pan, leveling the surface with a scraper or the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes.
- Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and continue cooling on a wire rack.
- The caraway seed and orange marmalade cake cake can be sliced after about 15 minutes while it is still warm. It was marvelous at that stage with the crisp sides and bottom and super moist interior. It’s not too sweet and the uncomplicated flavors make it an ideal partner for either coffee or tea.