Lemon and elderflower cake

94ADE0FC-8DB1-44EC-981C-CE9C040B8767Will you make a cake for me she said, yes I said, little did I know it was going to be on the two hottest days of the year one being the second hottest ever recorded!! So obviously this recipe is worth sharing it withstood ridiculous temperatures and not only was it intact it was by all accounts delicious! I’ll include in my post what I done to try and ensure the buttercream didn’t split and not end up just oil!!! Because room temperature butter in high heat can go from just ready to unusable in minutes. 

Apologies for the photos but it was melting before my eyes!!!!

The next bit is just to tell you what I done baking a naked layer cake in a heatwave!!

I made up the three layers of the sponge the day before and kept them wrapped in clingfilm, so I didn’t have to worry about them cooling enough for the buttercream. Then when it was time to start the buttercream I removed the butter from the fridge to soften I watched it like a hawk and caught it when it was soft but still cool, then in my stand alone mixer I mixed it just enough without it going oily in the heat. Stopping and testing along the way. Then slowly added the sifted icing sugar and as soon as it was incorporated I drizzled in the double cream followed by the elderflower cordial. Taking care not to over beat so it didn’t split. I then put it in a Tupperware container and put it in the fridge for about an hour to cool and just gave it a gentle mix with a spoon before using. Once I had filled and covered the cake in buttercream i put it back in the fridge again for about an hour before decorating with flowers and herbs. Then back in the fridge for about 30mins. And then finally as an extra precaution i stuck two thin wooden skewers through the cake to prevent it from slipping apart in transit!!! Remember you won’t need to do any of this unless its a really hot day!! … You’re welcome…

Because of all the above it has made the cake seem much harder than it is, it’s really not difficult at all. It’s a beautiful cake for a celebration. In the original recipe there wasn’t any lemon curd it was all just the elderflower buttercream the curd was my addition so that’s up to you. I added it just on the second layer as well as buttercream. Leave it out if you cant be bothered!! I just thought it would add a little sharpness to the cake.

You will need: 3 x 20cm loose bottomed round cake tins. I buttered and based lined the tins.

Oven set to 200c/180fan 


  • 450g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 450g caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 unwaxed lemons, zest only
  • 8 large free range eggs
  • 300g self raising flower, sifted
  • 20g ground almonds
  • 4 tbsp elderflower cordial
  • Fresh flowers or fruit to decorate or both

For the drizzle

  • 100ml elderflower cordial
  • 1 unwaxed lemon, juice only

For the buttercream

  • 250g unsalted butter, room temperature 
  • 500g icing sugar, sifted
  • 73ml double cream
  • 4 tbsp elderflower cordial 


Pre heat oven to 200c/180fan and have your tins greased and lined.

Put the butter, sugar, salt and lemon zest into a bowl of a stand alone mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a spoonful of flour occasionally to prevent the mixture from splitting.

Fold in the remaining flour and the ground almonds. Divide the mixture equally between the tins and bake for 20-25 mins until risen and golden. Test with a cocktail stick or skewer, if it comes out clean the sponges are ready.

Transfer the tins to a cooling rack and use a cocktail stick to prick holes all over the surface of the sponges. Mix together the lemon juice and cordial then spoon over the sponges while they are still in the tins. Leave to cool for 30 mins then turn out to cool completely.

Once they are cool check to see if they have domed slightly during baking, if they have, use a bread knife to carefully flatten the tops. TIP… I use the top one bottom side up to ensure a smooth flat surface if you do this remember to cool it upside down to avoid lines from the cooling rack.

Now to make the buttercream…. Beat the butter in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand whisk until soft. Gradually beat in the icing sugar until pale and fluffy, then beat in the cream and cordial. Take care not to over beat as the mixture can split.

To assemble the cake add a spoonful of the buttercream to the board or cake stand. (I used a board and a turntable.) then lay one of the sponges on top. Spread the sponge with some buttercream then lay a second sponge on top. Now you can leave it with buttercream but if you’re adding lemon curd then I piped buttercream around the edge to avoid it seeping out, then added the curd to the centre. Add your third sponge topping it with the remaining buttercream using a palette knife, spreading across the top and around the sides. Then turn the cake whilst holding the knife to scrap away some of the buttercream so the sponge is visible. 

All that’s left is to decorate with flowers/fruit or whatever you wish, serve and enjoy.


If anything isn’t clear please don’t hesitate to get in touch.






One thought on “Lemon and elderflower cake

  1. What a beautiful cake, you are amazing, Thanks for the in-depth explanation. This is training if we ever bake in Cyprus! Well done your friend is lucky to have you.


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