This is what he promised to do for them. He would provide ponies for each of them, and a horse for Gandalf, for their journey to the forest, and he would lade them with food to last them for weeks with care, and packed so as to be as easy as possible to carry-nuts, flour, sealed jars of dried fruits, and red earthenware pots of honey, and twice-baked cakes that would keep good a long time, and on a little of which they could march far. The making of these was one of his secrets; but honey was in them, as in most of his foods, and they were good to eat, though they made one thirsty….
-The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
When recreating recipes from the most beloved books in the world such as The Hobbit, you tend to spend more time researching than usual, trying to find the right recipe to base your creation on. Fortunately The Hobbit has been closely looked at by many, trying to further understand the incredible world that JRR Tolkien created. To find out more about cram, honey cake and lembas, I based my understanding of this ‘cake’ on this Middle Earth/Tolkien blog.
The logic goes something like this- Tolkien was writing about a travel food, twice baked honey cake is compared in Fellowship of the Ring to lembas and cram in that it’s a travel food. Cram, it is assumed, is like hardtack, a sea biscuit that was used on long voyages as it kept for several months.
In terms of taste, it seems that cram is the bottom of the heap, probably exactly like hardtack (which is flour, water and salt). The best is lembas, and the honey cakes sit above average in taste as can be seen in this quote by Gimli.
” `Indeed it is,’ said Gimli. ‘Why it is better than the honey-cakes of the Beornings, and that is great praise, for the Beornings are the best bakers that I know of…”
The blog goes on to predict that Tolkien had in mind something like biscotti, which is what I’ve based this recipe on.
“However, Tolkien may have had something like Italian Biscotti or hard bisquits in mind when he wrote about these twice-baked cakes. The English word bisquit is in fact derived from Latin (panis) bis coctus, which means “(bread) twice-baked”. Ancient hardtack recipes have been refined and differentiated across centuries and countries. Many of these hard breads soften over time.” – Middle Earth/Tolkien blog
Twice Baked Honey Cake | The Hobbit
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 8 1x
This delicious yet easy recipe for twice baked honey cake is perfect for your next Hobbit Day party!
- 2.5 cups plain flour
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pre heat oven to 350of/176oC
- In one bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In the mixer, beat together the sugar, honey, eggs, butter, lemon zest and juice and vanilla extract.
- Bit by bit, add in the dry mixture of ingredients into the wet mixture.
- Once all combined, shape into squares. Use a butter knife to trim the edges for a cleaner look.
- Bake for 25 minutes, then remove and cool.
- Place back into the oven, reduce heat to 150C/300F and bake for another 10 minutes each side.
- Remove from oven, transfer and cool.
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
These look scrumptious.
What a great blog concept! And a fabulous recipe idea. (Much better than the raw fish Gollum ate.)
Excellent article. I was looking for recipes for twice-baked bread and this one revealed my reason for searching for it, haha! I will definitely have to try a version of this.
And I will definitely look through your site more!
I’m about to try this recipe, but I noticed it doesn’t say how many squares to make. I’m going to try 12 and see how it goes.
did middle earth have vanilla and lemons?
I’m really disappointed mine didn’t turn out as cute as yours did. 🙁
This totally made my day!
Great recipe! I ended up with 6 round cakes (personally liked them rounded), and could have made them smaller to make more. I served mine with cream and fresh cherries! I bet these would be great as a softer once-baked tea cake recipe too!
These are so delicious! Thank you for sharing your recipe; the perfect bake while watching An Unexpected Journey for the first time. I substituted the lemon zest and juice for fresh orange juice and orange zest. They turned out delicious. Can’t wait to try with lemon next time!
I made these but didn’t twice bake them and they are so good. Perfect snack or for breakfast.