This cake is a combination of tweaked recipes from elsewhere and my own imagination. It came about because of my recent obsession with elderflower. I have always loved the flavour of elderflower and knew that people gathered the flowers and made their own cordial and wine, but for some reason I assumed it didn’t grow in Scotland.
But since getting our puppy, then moving to our new house and village, I have become much more aware of the passing seasons and the flowers, trees and plants around me. I had a rough idea of what elderflower looked like but wasn’t sure. Then I saw some flowers that I thought might be it whilst out on a walk with the dog. I photographed it and had it confirmed by my friends on a Facebook group, who are keen cooks and bakers. I researched more about collecting and making cordial and decided to give it a try.
I decided to use The River Cottage recipe which was very straight forward and easy. During the process I did doubt how it was going to taste because it didn’t smell especially edible when I poured the boiling water on the flower heads, but all came good by the morning after the sugar and lemon and orange juice had been added.
I had been thinking of how best to use this summer flavour in a desert or cake for Father’s Day, and eventually took inspiration from a strawberry cake that I had previously made using a BBC Good Food recipe.
I won’t pretend that this cake is super fast, but if you have the time and patience it’s worth it for a special family occasion and is very summery. Of course, making your own cordial is completely optional: I just had a bee in my bonnet about trying it out. I do actually have some ready made in a bottle in my kitchen from Ikea.
150g of Butter
150g of Caster Sugar
150g of Self Raising Flour
3 Medium Eggs, beaten
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
2 Teaspoons of Elderflower Cordial plus 100ml to soak the baked and cooled sponge
450g of Strawberries
75g of Icing Sugar
2 Gelatine Leaves
1 Tablespoon of Elderflower Cordial
300ml of Double Cream
1 Tablespoon of Icing Sugar
200ml of Double Cream
3 Tablespoons of Elderflower Cordial
Fresh and washed Elderflowers
You will also need two 8″ round sandwich tins, and a loose bottomed 7″ deep sided round tin.
- Grease and line the two 8″ sandwich tins and preheat the oven to 180C or 160C fan.
- Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then very slowly add the eggs. Add a spoon of flour if you are worried about the mixture cuddling.
- Add the flour and fold in.
- Add the vanilla and cordial and mix in gently.
- Split the mixture between the two tins, smooth out and bake for 20 minutes.
- Allow them to cool a little for a few minutes before turning out to cool completely.
- Whilst the cakes cool, make the strawberry cream for the filling.
- Wash and remove the stalks of 150g of strawberries. Put them in a food processor or blender with 75g of icing sugar and blend until smooth.
- Soak the two gelatine leaves in some cold water.
- Put the strawberry puree in a saucepan with the cordial and warm through. When it is hot (not boiling) squeeze the excess water from the gelatine leaves and add them to the strawberry mixture and stir until dissolved.
- Put this mixture to one side and allow to cool completely. You can pop it in the fridge to speed this up.
- Meanwhile, wash and remove the stalks of the remaining 300g of strawberries for the filling. Try to gather strawberries of a similar size and half them. These are going to line the tin so should be as uniform as possible. Chop up the rest of the strawberries (it’s a good idea to wait to do this until after you’ve lined the tin with the halved strawberries first).
- Once the cakes are cool, line the 7″ tin with greaseproof paper. Trim the sponges to the exact size as the tin, and level off the tops so that they are even.
- Place one sponge on the bottom of the tin. It will be a snug fit.
- Drizzle or brush 50ml of the cordial over the sponge at the base of the tin.
- Now line up the uniform strawberries inside the tin with their cut edge facing outwards.
- Scatter the rest of the cut strawberries inside the ring of strawberries.
- Make the strawberry filling by whisking the 300ml of double cream until firm then folding in the cooled strawberry puree.
- Gently add the strawberry filling to the tin, making sure it goes between all the gaps between the strawberries, especially the ones lining the tin. Give the tin a gently tap on the work top to help ensure the gaps are filled. Smooth the top off.
- Place the second cake on top and soak the remaining 50ml of cordial over it.
- Place the cake in a fridge to firm up for at least an hour, but your could leave it longer.
- When you are ready to finish the cake off, whip up the remaining 200ml of double cream with 3 tablespoons of cordial until firm enough to pipe.
- Remove the cake from the tin as carefully as you can. Using a sieve, sprinkle the centre of the cake with icing sugar. Then pipe the elderflower flavoured cream around the top edge before placing the last of the strawberries and fresh elderflowers on it.
If you were not going to eat the cake within the hour I would pop it back in the fridge to help it to keep its shape, but remove it about half an hour before you want to eat it.