elderflower and lime cake

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Elderflower is starting to bloom, so what better time to make the most of it! I love the combination of elderflower and lime, so dusted off my ‘How To Be A Domestic Goddess’ book by Nigella Lawson to make an epic lime curd to go with the cake.

There are so many things you can do with elderflower, from syrups, jams and honeys and a whole variety of alcohols.

As it was early in the season when I made this, I only had a small handful of elderflower so decided to use it to garnish the cake, and used elderflower cordial instead.

So fear not, you can still make this recipe even if you haven’t gone out foraging.

If you have, or want to make your own syrup, you can use that in place of the cordial, which is what I plan to do once mine is ready.

I use this elderflower syrup recipe from All That I’m Eating.

Elderflower and Lime Cake


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Firstly it uses part butter, part oil.

This is because I love the crumb you get from a good buttery sponge, but they can dry and go stale quickly. So I find substituting a little butter for vegetable oil helps to keep it moist for longer.

Secondly, I also substitute part of the flour for wholemeal flour.

This is for the extra texture. Trust me it adds a depth to the sponge which is delicious, and also helps keep it from going soggy with the addition of the syrup.

Finally, a little tip to help you get perfectly risen, flat cakes that look beautiful is… two old rags!

That’s right!

Cut an old tea towel in half lengthways, dampen, and carefully tie around the cake tin before baking. Make sure it doesn’t get under the tin otherwise it will rise slanted (I’ve made this mistake).

But if you get it just right, the cakes will come out perfectly flat and that makes for a much better looking cake.

A note on the lime curd too:

There is nothing wrong with buying some from the supermarket, but if you do want to make your own, the best recipe by far I have tried is the one from Nigella’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess book.

I have included the recipe I used in this cake for ease, but it was more of a concoction of what I had in the house.

It still turned out delicious, but not quite to Nigella’s standards.


Elderflower and Lime Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 12 slices
  • CAKE
  • 150g Self raising flour
  • 75g Wholemeal flour
  • 150g softened butter
  • 75g vegetable oil (rapeseed or sunflower is best)
  • 225g Soft brown sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • ½ lime zest
  • juice 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon elderflower cordial/syrup
  • 150g butter
  • 150g Soft brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 lime juice
  • 1 lime zest
  • 200g butter
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon elderflower cordial/syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or essence)
  1. First make the lime curd (if making home made)
  2. In a bowl over a pan of lightly simmering water, add the butter, lime juice and zest, and the sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs until they are thick and pale.
  4. Add the eggs to the butter mixture and keep on the heat. Be sure not to boil the mixture and stir regularly for 25 plus minutes until it has thickened.
  5. Strain through a fine sieve to remove any lumps or zest and refrigerate.
  6. For the cakes:
  7. Pre heat the oven to 170'C
  8. Take 2 20cm cake tins and butter well.
  9. Cream the butter,oil and sugar together until pale.
  10. Add the eggs, vanilla and lime zest and mix again fully.
  11. Slowly combine the flour, and mix until there are no lumps and the mixture is smooth.
  12. Separate between the two cake tins and bake for 25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  13. While baking combine the lime juice and elderflower syrup and set to one side.
  14. Once baked, remove the cakes from the oven and poke small holes into the sponge with a skewer, then carefully and evenly pour the lime juice and syrup mixture over the two cakes and allow to cool before turning out of the pans.
  15. For the buttercream
  16. Mix the icing sugar, vanilla, syrup and the butter together with a spoon until roughly combined, then whisk with an electric whisk until pale and fluffly.
  17. To assemble:
  18. Spread half the buttercream on one cake, and some of the lime curd (there will be some left over) on the other cake and sandwich together.
  19. Use the remaining buttercream to decorate the top of the cake.
  20. Use any excess to smooth along the sides to create a 'bare sides' look. The best tools to use to smooth and shape the buttercream are a palette knife and a spatula.
  21. Finally decorate with any elderflowers you have left over.

Elderflower and Lime Cake


I’m entering this into this months Credit Crunch Munch with Fab Food 4 All and Fuss Free Flavours 

blog hop and linky about frugal food


If you’re looking for other ideas for using up elderflower you could also try:

Strawberry and elderflower mojito from Celery & Cupcakes

Elderflower and lime no-churn ice cream from Fuss Free Flavours

Elderflower Panna Cotta (dairy-free) from Hedgecombers

Mint and elderflower slushie from Coriander Queen

Elderflower and gooseberry ice cream from Thinly Spread

Elderflower and white chocolate cupcakes  from Tin & Thyme

About the Author Lisa

I'm Lisa and this is the Lovely Appetite blog. I’m always experimenting with recipes, hunting through cookbooks for inspiration or trying out new places to eat. Please browse the site and enjoy reading about my findings.

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