As part of Florals for Spring month I tried elderflower to see if I could actually like it. I don’t think I’m as sold on it as I am on rose, but I like it and I think it is a nice refreshing note in cocktails and ice lollies. I also liked it with lemon, in this cake, but found you need to dial back the lemon from a standard lemon drizzle cake so the elderflower isn’t overwhelmed. A convenient thing about using elderflower cordial is it’s already a syrup, so you can use just as it is to drizzle in cakes or to flavour cream.
This recipe is adapted from recipes by Ravneet Gill and Helen Goh (both fab bakers and wtiters). It made a nice change from the typical creaming butter and sugar method. I’m usually lazy about sifting flour, but because there’s a lot of folding, it’s actually important here to avoid pockets of it in the finished cake. It’s really reliable. For best results you want a really consistent, even oven temperature, so preheat the oven really well, if you can.
Lemon Loaf with Elderflower Drizzle and Elderflower Cream
For the cake:
- 3 large eggs (UK large – c. 180g whole)
- 225g caster/ superfine sugar
- 150ml / 140g double cream
- 75g butter
- 180g plain flour
- 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
- The zest of 1-2 lemons, depending on the size of lemon and how much you can get from them. (I do love a lemony cake, but if you want to taste the elderflower, don’t go overboard.)
- 6 tbsp (90ml) elderflower cordial (I used Bottle Green)
For the cream: 150ml/ 140g double cream, 3 tbsp (45ml) elderflower cordial
1. Preheat the oven to 180C / 160 fan/ 350F. Grease and line a 1lb /900g loaf tin. These seem to vary a lot, but the one I’ve had success with for cakes is light coloured and on the smaller side. (I now reserve my black loaf tin for bread duty.)
2. Zest the lemons and set aside. Weigh the flour and add the baking powder in a bowl and set aside.
3. Whisk the eggs and sugar until very light and frothy and roughly tripled in volume.
4. Melt the butter in a small pan or the microwave. Stir in the cold cream. Heat again if necessary, very gently, so you have a barely warm but liquid mixture. (Too warm will scramble the eggs.)
5. Pour the butter and cream down the side of the bowl, then fold them, and the zest, in gently to the egg mixture with a spatula.
6. Sift in the flour mixture and fold in, in two goes.
7. Bake for 50 minutes or so, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
8. Take out of the oven and leave for 5-10 minutes. Stab all over, maybe about 12 or 15 times, with a skewer. Evenly pour over the elderflower cordial. Leave to cool completely in the tin.
9. To make the cream when you’re close to serving the cake, whip the cream on its own to soft peaks. Add the elderflower cordial and beat in until just combined.