Middle Earth Merrymaking: Hobbit Lithe Celebration

We’ve come to the end of Midsummer week.

We started the week with Tarnin Austa, the elven Midsummer-esque fest.

We’re ending the week with the hobbits’ version of Midsummer: Lithe.

Lithe is a 3-4 day celebration centered around Midyear’s Day, which falls around the summer solstice. The fest starts with 1 Lithe, the day before Midyear’s Day and then ends with 2 Lithe, a day or two after Midyear’s Day (depending on if it’s a leap year or not.)

In The Hobbit, Midyear’s Day (also called Midsummer) falls on June 22nd. Midsummer’s Eve is when Elrond helps the Company read the moon runes on Thror’s map and Midsummer’s Day is when the Company departs from Rivendell.

All of them, the ponies as well, grew refreshed and strong in a few days [in Rivendell]. Their clothes were mended as well as their bruises, their tempers and their hopes. Their bags were filled with food and provisions light to carry but strong to bring them over the mountain passes. Their plans were improved with the best advice. So the time came to midsummer eve, and they were to go on again with the early sun on midsummer morning.

In the extended version of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, there is a scene which features a Midsummer’s Eve celebration. It’s the scene where a young Bilbo meets Gandalf for the first time. We hear lively music as we see the hobbits dance around beneath the light of paper lanterns and Gandalf’s fireworks.

. . .

To the hobbits, the Lithedays are some of the most important days of the year, along with the Yuletide and New Year celebration in December.

Like with most hobbit festivals, Lithe would involve music, dancing, and LOTS of feasting.

It might even involve a homemade cake or two.

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What’s more hobbit-esque than a homemade dessert featuring fresh berries?

Hobbits have quite a sweet tooth, which makes this strawberries and cream cake perfect for a hobbit summer celebration!

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The juicy strawberries make this a rather messy cake, making it the perfect dessert to bake with help from some little hobbits.

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Keep an eye on those younger hobbits though! They tend to be a rather mischievous sort.

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Just look at that grin! She can’t wait to dig into this sweet, creamy cake.

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Can’t you picture little hobbits helping to pick fresh berries in the Shire’s strawberry patches?

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Even though Midsummer week is nearly at its end, you can enjoy this delicious, summery sweet anytime!

Strawberries and Cream Cake

Ingredients:

White Cake:
2 ½ cups (300g) all-purpose flour
2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups (320 mL) buttermilk
½ cup (120g) butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 egg whites

Whipped Topping:
1 cup (240 mL) heavy cream
¼ cup (25g) powdered sugar
1/3 cup (85g) Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced

Directions:

For the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F / 176 C. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add buttermilk, butter and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping the bowl as needed. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Add the egg whites and beat for 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Pour the batter into two greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. (I lined the bottom of mine with a parchment circle and greased the top of the parchment circle.) Bake the cakes for 28-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with moist crumbs. Don’t overbake or the cakes will be dry. Cool the cakes on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides with a butter knife and remove the cakes from the pans to cool completely.

For the whipped topping, pour the cream into the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix until slightly thickened; add sugar and yogurt. Whip at high speed for 2-3 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Mix in vanilla and chill until needed.

To assemble the cake, slice each cooled cake round in half horizontally to form 4 cake circles. Place one cake layer on a cake plate and spread an even layer of whipped cream over the top. Top with a layer of sliced strawberries. Add the next layer of cake. Cover the entire cake with whipped topping. Garnish with strawberries and powdered sugar. Chill for 1-2 hours before serving to let the cake set up.

Recipe from the ever-wonderful Middle Earth Recipes.
For the gluten-free, vegan version: I doubled this cupcake recipe to make two 9″ cakes and then topped them with this frosting. (I would recommend using vegan whipped topping instead or just leaving the sides nude since the strawberries drip so much and cause frosting to run off the cake!!)

 

Happy Midsummer! Go feast like a hobbit.

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Thanks for reading!

Always remember: adventure first, breakfast second

-Marissa and Victoria

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Model: Cecily (Marissa’s niece)
Cake-baking helpers hobbits: Ronan, Blaise and Cecily (Marissa’s nephews and niece)
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