An easy version of Lemon and Elderflower Cake with a cream cheese frosting to celebrate any event.
Lemon and Elderflower Cake will brighten any weekend. The cake is light and lemony with a lemon and elderflower marinade, lemon curd filling and lemon and elderflower cream cheese frosting. Altogether it isn’t too sweet and is best eaten straight from the fridge.
If you don’t usually have elderflower cordial in the house, this is a good excuse to get some in. Try it in the summer with water, but especially with soda water for an alcohol-free sparkling drink.
It’s the sort of thing to take on picnics or to alternate with Prosecco at summer lunches if you don’t want to overdo it. At least you don’t feel quite as deprived.
Full-fat cream cheese
You do need full-fat cream cheese. Low fat won’t work. My own view is better to have a little of the real thing!
As you’re not mixing the lemon curd with anything for the filling, it’s worth buying the best you can find. (If you make it yourself, even better, but I can’t quite find the time.)
Secrets of Success
The cake is the usual simple all-in-one recipe (otherwise known as chuck it in and whizz it up). The key here is to have the butter quite soft. I’d say room temperature unless your kitchen is cold.
Elderflower and lemon marinade
Like a Lemon Drizzle Cake, this cake is marinated while it’s still warm and in the tin. Two points here:
- Make the marinade while the cake is cooking so you can pour it over immediately to get the flavour through the cake
- Prick the surface of the cake with a cocktail stick before you marinate it, but push the stick quite a way in. The marinade will then go all through the cake
Cream cheese frosting
Don’t overbeat the frosting! I do use a hand-mixer for this but keep an eye on the texture. Stop as soon as it’s smooth.
Why are my cakes sometimes dry?
If your cakes turn out dry, check out my article Why Is My Cake Dry? for some of the most common reasons and the solutions.
How long does the cake keep?
Lemon and Elderflower Cake is best kept in the fridge to keep the frosting a good texture – especially in warm weather. Store for up to a week in an airtight box.
- Baking parchment circles – Such a simple idea. Gone are the days where you had to draw round the base of the cake tin and cut out your own parchment circles. These mean that your cakes never stick to the base of the tin and, of course, that also means a saving on the washing up – never my favourite chore.
- Splatter lid – Once again this has saved my kitchen surfaces from being covered in icing sugar. I don’t know why, but in the past year or so icing sugar has become more fly-away. You pour it into a bowl and a cloud floats up and covers the worktop. The splatter lid provides a lid to the mixing bowl with a hole to put the beater(s) through, keeping the ingredients in the bowl.
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Lemon and Elderflower Cake
For an 18cm (7-inch) cake:
- 2 lemons, zested
- 180 g butter
- 180 g caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 225 g self-raising flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder (10ml)
For the marinade:
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 tablespoons elderflower cordial (30ml)
For the filling:
- 2-3 tablespoons lemon curd
For the frosting:
- 60 g butter, at room temperature
- 120 g full-fat cream cheese
- 350 g icing sugar
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 teaspoon elderflower cordial (5ml)
- 1 teaspoon lemon curd, rounded tsp (10ml)
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/ 170°C fan/ gas mark 5/ 375°F
- Line the tins with paper liners
- Grease the tins (if needed) with butter paper (or a little butter on kitchen paper)
- Grate 2 lemons for the zest.
For the cake:
- Beat all the cake ingredients together thoroughly(Butter, caster sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, lemon zest)
- Spoon the mixture equally into the tins. Smooth the tops with a palette knife and make a slight dip in the centre
- Cook for 25-30 minutes until the cake surface springs back when you touch it lightly with your fingertip. Meanwhile, make the marinade (below)
- Leave the cakes in the tins and marinate the cakes immediately.
For the lemon and elderflower marinade:
- Mix the lemon juice and elderflower cordial
- Prick the top of the cakes with a cocktail stick. Spoon the marinade over and leave the cakes in the tin to cool.
For the filling and cream cheese frosting:
- Zest the lemon
- Measure the ingredients into a medium-sized bowl and beat together until smooth – but don’t overbeat
- Take the cooled cakes from the tins and put them on your serving plate. Choose the better of the cakes as the top one
- If necessary level the tops of the cakes with a sharp knifeI usually use both cakes the right way up, i.e. with the top facing upwards
- Spread the lemon curd over the bottom cake and position the other on top. Using a palette knife, smooth the icing over the top and sides of the cake.Decorate as you wish.
- If the butter is still hard, soften for 1 minute on defrost in the microwave. Repeat if necessary, but don’t let it melt
- Like most cake recipes this is easiest with a mixer or a food processor. At the least, you can use hand-held beaters
- Use pre-cut baking parchment circles to line the base of the tins.