A Boke of Gode Cookery Presents

Seed Cake

PERIOD: England, 16th & 17th centuries | SOURCE: Book of Cookrye and The English Huswife | CLASS: Authentic

DESCRIPTION: A sweet seed cake


This is an original recipe, based on cake receipts from A.W.'s Book of Cookrye (1591) and The English Huswife by Gervase Markham, 1615. These sources are not medieval, but this type of sweet, almost bread-like round cake was very common during the Middle Ages, and this recipe is an approximation of how this delectable may have been prepared during that earlier period. A round cake such as this is described in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, where it is compared to the shape of the medieval round shield, the Buckler.


  • 1 ½ cups unbleached flour
  • 1 cup cracked wheat flour
  • 1 pkg. yeast
  • 1/8 cup warm (100 degrees) ale
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 4 oz. (1 stick) sweet butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbs. seed (crushed anise, caraway, coriander, cardamom, etc. - choose something flavorful & pleasant)
  • ½ - 1 cup milk
Sift together the flours and salt; set aside in large bowl. Dissolve yeast in warm ale, along with 1/8 tsp. of the flour mixture. Cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and seeds. Make a well in the flour and add the dissolved yeast. Fold flour into yeast mixture, then fold in the butter. Slowly beat in enough milk to make a smooth, thick batter. Pour batter into an 8" round greased cake pan. Bake in middle of oven at 350° F for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool slightly before turning onto a cake rack.

Metric, Celsius, & Gas Mark Equivalencies

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Seed Cake © 2000 James L. Matterer

A Boke of Gode Cookery Recipes

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