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Catholic Recipe: Seed Cake


  • 1 cup butter
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3 cups pastry flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder


Serves: 10

Prep Time: 2 hours

Difficulty: • •

Cost: $$$$

For Ages:11+

Origin: England


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In England the celebration has always been elaborate and various cakes were made especially for this day. First among them came the seed cake, but the "god cakes" of Coventry were also very popular. These last were of all sizes, some so small they sold for a penny and some so large they sold for a pound, and they were not really cakes at all, but a sort of tart with a filling and cut in a triangle. At St. Albans cakes were made in the form of a woman and were called locally "pope ladies," but neither legend nor history tell why.

This is a modern version of the English seed cake.

The triangle shape is a reminder of the Trinity, which would make them appropriate for Trinity Sunday.


Beat the butter until creamy and add the egg yolks and sugar, beating thoroughly. Stir in the egg whites and mix briskly. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt and add to the mixture, alternating with the milk. Beat well; add caraway seeds and vanilla. Pour into a well-greased tube pan and bake at 350┬░ F. for an hour and fifteen minutes. An early American recipe says, "Wash the butter in rose water, drean out the water and add a few drops of oyl of sinnamont."

Recipe Source: Feast Day Cookbook by Katherine Burton and Helmut Ripperger, David McKay Company, Inc., New York, 1951