Early summer Elderflower cake.

This is a firm fave at this time of year in our house. The Elderflower season is so short but so lovely. The sprays of distinct smelling flowers get me in the mood for sunny day cooking so I decided to make an Elderflower cake.

I am an enthusiast not a chef.

I would love to give you a polished, refined recipe. However I am not that kind of cook. I am also working against several injuries so standing up for too long is a bit of a mega mission so this is a Chuck-It-In-And-Good to go sort of bake.

We have common Elder and black elder growing in our garden

Elderflower what??

You will need to know how to correctly identify Elderflowers. There are a few things that look a bit like Elder that also grow near Elder that are definitely not what you want it to be.

Elder flowers have a very summery flowery smell. Do not pick them on a wet or dull day- they will take on a urine smell/taste unless it’s warm and sunny. The flowers are formed in sprays of tiny white flowers on green stalks on bushes that can grow very large.

Elder imposters can include, Cow Parsley, Pyracanths and Cowbane. I’d always advice people research before they go exploring. There are lots of really good foraging books and Facebook groups that can help you if you aren’t sure. We are also happy to help on our Facebook page or our Group.

It is also noteworthy to ensure that you never take more than you need. This is a valuable time for the birds and the bees.

This can be adapted really easily.

This recipe can be made vegan by subbing out the eggs, milk and fat for the usual alternatives. It can also be made Gluten Free really easily by switching the flour. This recipe does contain nuts. The almonds give the cake a really bouncy, melty texture which works really well with the Elder flower- If nuts are a problem for you, just leave them out. You will lose the texture but you will still get a lovely cake.

The recipe- now I’ve stopped waffling.

For the Elderflower cake

  • 4 Elderflower sprays
  • 150g Ground Almonds (we plan to stock these if people want them- larger than supermarket packets, better value)
  • 200g butter/vegan spread/baking fat
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 3 eggs (or egg sub such as chia seeds)
  • A splash of milk or milk alternative- I used Soya
  • 200g sugar

For the Lemon Drizzle

  • 2 Elderflower sprays
  • Zest and juice of half a lemon (or a whole one if you’re into that) you can also use bottled juice- doesn’t really matter.
  • 150g sugar
  • 300ml water
Eggs from our own hens

Well then what?

As I said previously, this is not a fancy refined recipe. The most intensive part is preparing the Elder. You can do this by using a wide comb (clean it first) to pop the flowers off of the stalks. You don’t really want the green bits in it. Don’t panic too much if you have a few though. This is a great fine motorskill activity for little children and a great time killer to do with the bigger ones.

Once you have prepped your flowers you can literally chuck everything besides the milk into the bowl- either of your mixer or your mixing bowl.

This is quite a gloupy concoction due to the almonds which is where the milk comes in. Add the milk a splosh at a time, leaving you with a lovely smooth mix.

Cake Mix
Mix it until you have a nice smooth cake mix

Remember- not a chef.

I used a 10 inch baking tin that was lined with baking paper to bake this. You could put it in anything- sometimes I put it in a loaf tin as it is a good shape for freezing. It is personal preference.

This will now show up my unrefinedness- put it in the oven at about gas mark 6- until its cooked. If it wobbles or you stick a knife into it and it comes out cakey then it is not cooked. It should feel light and spongy to touch.

As soon as you put the cake in the oven, move onto the drizzley syrupy bit. Put the syrup ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce the heat so that it simmers and reduces by about half. When you stir it you can feel the difference in the liquid- when it feels syrupy, it’s done. Some people may want to seive the bits out of the syrup but I quite like the gooey candied flowers so I leave them in- again, it is up to you.

Elderflower goup
Elderflower goup. This doesn’t look pretty, it’s a process!

Once the cake is out of the oven, drench it in the syrup and let it cool down.

Best enjoyed outside, on a hot day with something fizzy in hand.

Elderflower Cake
It didn’t even last long enough for a photo

Enjoy, take care and send us your pics if you have a go!

Molly’s Pantry x

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