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More Nigella recipes

Cumin Seed Cake

by . Featured in AT MY TABLE
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Introduction

It occurred to me - while cleaning out my spice drawer, a task I soon abandoned - that it might be interesting to use cumin in place of the caraway in a traditional seed cake. It really works: the toasted cumin gives a subtle spiciness but does nothing to rupture the calm of a classic plain cake.

Interestingly, caraway did used to be known as Persian cumin, and in many languages both cumin and caraway are known by the same name. Some ideas are just meant to be...

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

It occurred to me - while cleaning out my spice drawer, a task I soon abandoned - that it might be interesting to use cumin in place of the caraway in a traditional seed cake. It really works: the toasted cumin gives a subtle spiciness but does nothing to rupture the calm of a classic plain cake.

Interestingly, caraway did used to be known as Persian cumin, and in many languages both cumin and caraway are known by the same name. Some ideas are just meant to be...

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Cumin Seed Cake
Photo by Jonathan Lovekin

Ingredients

Serves: 12 slices

Metric Cups
  • 4 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 300 grams plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 250 grams unsalted butter (soft)
  • 200 grams caster sugar (plus 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 orange (finely grated zest)
  • 2 teaspoons orange blossom water
  • 3 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 3 x 15ml tablespoons full fat milk (at room temperature)
  • 4 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (soft)
  • 1 cup superfine sugar (plus 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 orange (finely grated zest)
  • 2 teaspoons orange blossom water
  • 3 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk (at room temperature)

Method

You will need 1 x 2lb (900g) loaf tin, approx. 25 x 12 x 7cm / 10 x 5 x 3 inches.

  1. Toast the cumin seeds in a dry, hot pan, until their earthy aroma wafts up: keep watch over your pan, as you don’t want the seeds to burn. Transfer to a plate to cool. Mix the flour and baking powder together, then set that aside, too.
  2. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C Fan/325°F and pop a paper liner into your loaf tin, or line the base and sides with baking parchment.
  3. Beat together the butter, the 200g of sugar and the orange zest until light and fluffy. Beat in the orange blossom water and then, at a slightly lower speed, about a third of the flour mixture. Once it is incorporated, beat in one of the eggs until it too is incorporated and continue in this vein until both flour and eggs are finished.
  4. Give a good scrape down to mix in any flour clinging to the sides of the bowl then, still gently, beat in the milk and the cooled toasted cumin seeds. Finally, give everything a good stir with a wooden spoon, making sure there are no speckles of flour remaining, and gently dollop the stiff batter into the lined tin.
  5. Smooth the top, sprinkle the teaspoon of caster sugar over and bake in the oven for 50–60 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean and the cake has a beautiful, golden-crackled top. Place on a wire rack and let the cake cool completely before removing from its tin.

You will need 1 x 2lb (900g) loaf tin, approx. 25 x 12 x 7cm / 10 x 5 x 3 inches.

  1. Toast the cumin seeds in a dry, hot pan, until their earthy aroma wafts up: keep watch over your pan, as you don’t want the seeds to burn. Transfer to a plate to cool. Mix the flour and baking powder together, then set that aside, too.
  2. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C Fan/325°F and pop a paper liner into your loaf tin, or line the base and sides with baking parchment.
  3. Beat together the butter, the 200g of sugar and the orange zest until light and fluffy. Beat in the orange blossom water and then, at a slightly lower speed, about a third of the flour mixture. Once it is incorporated, beat in one of the eggs until it too is incorporated and continue in this vein until both flour and eggs are finished.
  4. Give a good scrape down to mix in any flour clinging to the sides of the bowl then, still gently, beat in the milk and the cooled toasted cumin seeds. Finally, give everything a good stir with a wooden spoon, making sure there are no speckles of flour remaining, and gently dollop the stiff batter into the lined tin.
  5. Smooth the top, sprinkle the teaspoon of superfine sugar over and bake in the oven for 50–60 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean and the cake has a beautiful, golden-crackled top. Place on a wire rack and let the cake cool completely before removing from its tin.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
Wrap cooled cake tightly in cling film and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

FREEZE:
Cake can also be frozen, tightly wrapped in a double layer of cling film and a layer of foil, for up to 3 months. To defrost, unwrap cake, transfer to an airtight container and leave overnight at room temperature.

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
Wrap cooled cake tightly in cling film and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

FREEZE:
Cake can also be frozen, tightly wrapped in a double layer of cling film and a layer of foil, for up to 3 months. To defrost, unwrap cake, transfer to an airtight container and leave overnight at room temperature.

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