Photo by Philippa Langley
In mid- to late May, elderflowers and roses bloom, and their fragrances intoxicate. In this cake, I really wanted these natural scents to sing, so I've used light base ingredients — white spelt flour and golden caster — to make a simple sponge cake, infused with elderflower syrup, then filled with rose petal jelly and whipped elderflower cream. I make my own jelly and cordial when I can, but good-quality store-bought versions work just as well. Finish the cake with edible flowers or petals, such as roses, elderflowers, cornflowers, primroses, pinks, marigolds, and pansies. Yield: 10 servings.
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (1-1/2 sticks), plus more to grease the pan
- Scant 3/4 cup golden caster (superfine) sugar
- 1/2 cup elderflower cordial, divided
- 1-1/4 cups white spelt flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 eggs
- 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
- Scant 1/2 cup rose petal jelly or strawberry jam
- Edible flowers and petals, for decoration (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Butter the sides and bottom of an 8-inch springform cake pan, using the extra bit of butter for greasing.
- Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
- In a free-standing mixer fitted with a paddle, electric hand whisk, or by hand, cream the butter, sugar, and 2 tablespoons of elderflower cordial until light and fluffy, stopping the mixer occasionally and scraping everything off the bottom of the bowl once during the process.
- In another bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.
- Resume mixing the butter mixture. Alternately add 1 egg and 1/3 of the flour mixture, beating well after each addition, until all the eggs and flour mixture are added. Beat until batter is smooth.
- Turn the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the cake halfway through.
- Remove cake from the oven, and pierce it all over with a skewer. Pour 1/4 cup of cordial over top of cake. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Fold in the remaining elderflower cordial.
- When the cake is cool, cut it in half horizontally. Spread rose petal jelly on the bottom cake layer, and top with half of the whipped cream. Cover with the remaining cake layer, and spread remaining whipped cream over the top. Decorate with edible flower petals, if desired.
- Refrigerate any leftovers for up to 5 days.
Henrietta Inman is a skilled pastry chef who has worked in award-winning kitchens. She lives and works in London and Suffolk, where she takes private commissions and bespoke orders, holds cookery classes and baking demonstrations, and hosts supper clubs. This recipe is excerpted from her book, The Natural Baker (Quarto Publishing).