The Hobbit Book Discussion and Themed Lemon "Seedcakes" Recipe

Updated on September 5, 2018
Amanda Leitch profile image

I wish to inspire readers, teachers, and book clubs to bake along with their reading and promote discussion about the books we've enjoyed.

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Hobbits are the kindest, most eccentric beings in all of Middle Earth, the land of fantastic creatures and a great evil ring. Most have heard of this story, or seen the films, but have you ever given the book a try? Hobbits are the hardworking middle-class residents of Middle Earth who love brewing ales, smoking pipes, gardening, and above all, eating. Hobbits are usually not fond of adventures, especially the sedentary main character, Bilbo Baggins. That is, until Gandalf the gray wizard lit a fire in his latent Tookish bones and sent him off with 13 dwarves to recover lost treasure under the Mountain from Smaug the evil dragon. With many more smaller adventures than it is possible to reference here (or to be covered in the films), The Hobbit is a must-read for anyone who shares any of the same characteristics of a hobbit, elf, dwarf, or wizard, or who would simply enjoy reading of grand adventures from the comfort of their own Hobbit-hole.

Discussion Questions

1. What are some of the physical characteristics of hobbits that you liked/ could relate to most?

2. Bilbo and the others hide the trolls’ treasure; how does this prove to be valuable to Bilbo in the end?

3. What are your first impressions of Gollum in the story? Would it have been better if he’d died in the mountain? Why/not? What happens to a mind left alone, manipulated by evil slowly over time? Is he a tragic figure?

4. What did you think of the game of riddles? Were you able to figure out the answer to any before you read them? Be honest.

5. The Eagles appear and save them from the Wargs. Why couldn’t they have just flown Bilbo and co. all the way to the Lonely Mountain?

6. Was there anything about Beorn’s character/ way of life that appealed to you?

7. What are some of the differences between the Lake-Master and Bard? How do you think the Lake Master became that way? If you’ve read LOTR, how is he similar to the Steward of Gondor? Do you think the same mindset possibly overwhelmed both of them over time and affected who they were?

8. How does wealth (and power) often reveal the true character of a person (think of The Master of Laketown and Thorin)? Contrast this with Bilbo. Did Bilbo using the Arkenstone as a bargaining chip show his intelligence and foresight?

9. His family assumes he is dead, can you blame them? How greedy are we for gifts after a friend returns from a trip? Are you ever disappointed when there isn’t one for you? Why? What do you think motivates this desire?

10. Do you think Bilbo has had enough adventure for a lifetime and will live peacefully without that desire for years to come? Would you? Why?

Bonus question:

What are the names of all the hobbit meals preferably eaten in a day, in the order that they occur? (Whoever answers correctly deserves a minimum of 2 cakes, just as many as Bilbo sat down to eat before he was interrupted by an unexpected party).

The Recipe

This recipe was chosen as a result of the requests from Bilbo’s unexpected guests of dwarves and a wizard. Balin specifically asked Bilbo for some seed cake, which, when gone, the dwarves started “on a round of buttered scones.” Bifur requested raspberry jam and apple tarts, Gandalf for a few eggs, and all asked for more cakes. This recipe combines some of those items (seed cake, eggs, butter, raspberry jam) into single-serving moist “seed cakes” or muffins.

Raspberry Jam Lemon Seed Cakes

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, melted
  • 2 large lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 cup vanilla or plain Greek yogurt or sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 tsp raspberry jam
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature

Raspberry Jam Lemon Seed Cakes

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Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350° F. In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, combine zest, sugar, and melted butter for one to two minutes or until all are combined. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder. To the mixer, add the Greek yogurt and vanilla extract and mix for one minute. Drop the speed to low and add half of the flour mixture a little at a time. Add the lemon juice, followed by one egg. Mix for half a minute, then add the rest of the flour, the poppy seeds, and the last egg. Mix on medium-low just until all the flour disappears and appears mixed in. Stop the mixer to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula if any of the flour is sticking to the walls of the bowl.
  2. In a paper-lined (or well oil-sprayed) muffin tin, dollop a a heaping tablespoon of muffin batter into each muffin well. Use a teaspoon to place a dollop of raspberry jam on top (try to aim for the center) of each of these scoops of batter. Spoon the remaining batter evenly onto the tops of the jam muffins. Bake for about 16-18 minutes or until the sides of the muffins begin to turn brown. Makes about 1 dozen muffins.

Raspberry Jam Lemon Seed Cakes

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Rate the Recipe

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Similar Books

If you love tales of hobbits, elves, wizards, and dwarves, Tolkien wrote an entire trilogy called The Lord of the Rings. The first book in the series, The Fellowship of the Ring, follows The Hobbit chronologically. If you’ve never read them, but you liked The Hobbit, give them a chance. They are on a more adult reading level, but the drama and intrigue is very entertaining.

For a tale of another unlikely hero practically dragged along on an adventure to a faraway land, try Out of the Silent Planet by Tolkien’s colleague and close friend, C.S. Lewis.

For a tale of dragons in a fantasy world and the dynamic characters it takes to impress them, read Dragonflight, for adults, or Dragonsong, for children, each the first in their own series by Anne McCaffrey.

For a much more sinister, more adult, and more fast-paced and dramatic tale (with a character that strongly resembles Gollum), Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind.

Notable Quotes

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

“Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”

“There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”

“May the hair on your toes never fall out!”

“Far over the misty mountains cold

To dungeons deep and caverns old

We must away ere break of day

To seek the pale enchanted gold.


The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,

While hammers fell like ringing bells

In places deep, where dark things sleep,

In hollow halls beneath the fells.


For ancient king and elvish lord

There many a gleaming golden hoard

They shaped and wrought, and light they caught

To hide in gems on hilt of sword.


On silver necklaces they strung

The flowering stars, on crowns they hung

The dragon-fire, in twisted wire

They meshed the light of moon and sun.


Far over the misty mountains cold

To dungeons deep and caverns old

We must away, ere break of day,

To claim our long-forgotten gold.”

“Where there's life there's hope.”

“There are no safe paths in this part of the world.”

“Things are drawing towards the end now, unless I am mistaken. There is an unpleasant time just in front of you; but keep your heart up!”

“You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”

“It was at this point that Bilbo stopped. Going on from there was the bravest thing he ever did. The tremendous things that happened afterward were as nothing compared to it. He fought the real battle in the tunnel alone, before he ever saw the vast danger that lay in wait.”

“The road goes ever on and on”

“Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.”

“Go back?" he thought. "No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!"

“So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their endings.”

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Amanda Leitch

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      • profile image

        Naude Lorenzo 

        2 months ago

        a very interesting book and a delicious recipe, Once again, thanks Amanda

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