Lemon Sponge Cake with Edible Flowers

Lemon Sponge Cake with Elderflower and Edible Flowers

This lemon sponge cake, flavoured with elderflower cordial and decorated with edible flowers, is the perfect show-stopper for a spring celebration. I bring it out for Mothers’ Day and Easter and also for spring birthdays.

There are lots of things that I love about this cake. First off, it is delicious! Lemon and elderflower are great flavour partners. Secondly, it is really easy to make. It is just a simple lemon sponge, perked up with the fantastic floral taste of elderflower cordial, sandwiched with lemon curd and covered in simple lemon and elderflower buttercream. It is also really easy to decorate. You do not need any icing or cake-decoration skills to produce a really striking cake. It is a doddle to cover the cake with the buttercream. Then all you have to do then is to get creative and add the fresh edible flowers. If there are any bits of the icing that are less than perfect, just cover them up with a flower!

As with all sponge cakes, this cake is best if it is eaten as soon as possible. You can make it a day ahead but any longer than that and it won’t be as good. However, you can make the sponge cakes and then freeze them if that makes things easier. After they have cooled, wrap in cling film and put in the freezer. When you are ready to use, allow to defrost and then sandwich them together, add the icing and decorate.

I make my own lemon curd and elderflower cordial and you can find recipes on this blog. However, there is absolutely no need to do this. A good quality shop-bought lemon curd is fine to sandwich the cakes together and there are lots of great ready-made brands of elderflower cordial. Having said that, it is really fun to make your own if you have time!

Using edible flowers – what you need to know

As you might have worked out from the name of my blog, I love using edible flowers. For someone who really appreciates the visual impact of the food that they eat, but has little decorative skill (piping sugar roses really is not my thing), edible flowers are the perfect ingredient. If you have never used edible flowers before, this is what you need to know.

  • There are many varieties of flower that are edible. There are also many that are not either because they don’t taste very nice or because they are harmful if eaten. It is vital that you know what varieties of flowers you can use in your cooking. If in doubt, don’t use it!
  • Similarly, you need to be sure that the flowers that you are using have not been treated with any chemicals (pesticides or fertilisers) that might be harmful to you. The best way to be sure of this, is to obtain your flowers from a location that you know to be safe such as your own garden. Alternatively, you can now buy edible flowers from suppliers such as Ocado or Fine Food Specialist. Do not use flowers from the florist as they will often be chemically treated to prolong their life.
  • Broadly speaking, edible flowers fall into three categories. Firstly, there are flowers that are primarily decorative. They include lilac, primroses, violas and pansies. Secondly, there are flowers that are decorative but also provide a flavour. These include roses, lavender, elderflowers and dandelions which are generally used in sweet recipes and the flowers of many herbs, such as chives or thyme, which are generally used in savoury recipes. Thirdly, there are flowers which actually form part of the dish. These include peppery nasturtiums which can liven up a salad or courgette flowers which can be stuffed and then either fried or steamed.
  • Before you use your edible flowers, you need to make sure that they are clean. I soak mine in a bowl of cold water for around 10 minutes and then let them dry out on a clean kitchen towel for a further 5 minutes.
  • If you are using edible flowers to decorate a cake, you need to add them just before you are ready to serve it up. This is because the flowers will only keep fresh for a few hours once they have been stuck to the cake. I will keep my decorative flowers in a bowl of water until just before I need to use them. They keep fresh for a couple of days if kept in a bowl of water.
Other recipes using edible flowers

If you would like to explore using edible flowers, I have a lot of recipes that use them for decoration and flavour.

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Lemon Sponge Cake with Edible Flowers

Lemon Sponge Cake with Elderflower and Edible Flowers

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 25
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 810 1x
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This Lemon Sponge Cake, flavoured with elderflower cordial and decorated with edible flowers, is probably the easiest show-stopping cake you will find!


Scale

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 450 g butter
  • 450 g caster sugar
  • 8 eggs
  • 400 g self-raising flour
  • 50 g cornflower
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons elderflower cordial
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon

For the decoration

  • 250 g butter
  • 500 g icing sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of elderflower cordial
  • 8 tablespoons of lemon curd
  • Edible flowers (primroses, pansies, roses)

You will also need three 18 cm loose-bottomed sandwich tins.


Instructions

  1. First make your cakes. Set your oven to 180 degrees centigrade or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Cream the butter with the sugar.  (I usually soften the butter for about 30 seconds in the microwave first as it makes it much easier.)
  3. Gradually add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture.  If it looks as if it is going to curdle, add some of the self-raising flour.
  4. Once the eggs have been incorporated add the rest of the self-raising flour and the cornflower.
  5. Add the milk, elderflower cordial and the grated lemon zest.
  6. Grease your Victoria Sandwich tins or containers and then add the cake mixture.
  7. Bake your cakes in the oven for around 35 minutes.  They are done when they are golden brown, springy to the touch and have shrunk away from the edge of the tin.  You can test this by inserting a skewer in the middle of the cake – if it comes out cleanly with no mixture attached, your cake is done.
  8. Allow your cakes to cool on a rack before removing them from the tins or containers. 
  9. Next prepare the icing and decoration. Beat the butter and icing sugar together in a food processor or using a hand blender.  Add the lemon juice and elderflower cordial and beat until the mixture is pale and smooth.
  1. Spread 4 tablespoons of lemon curd on top of one of the cakes.  Place the second cake on top of it.  Spread 4 tablespoons of lemon curd on top of the second cake.  Place the third cake on top of it.
  2. Spread the lemon buttercream over the top and sides of the cake.  
  3. Decorate with edible flowers.  

 

 

 


Notes

  1. Make sure that you are using varieties of flower that are safe to eat and that they have not been chemically-treated.  Wash flowers before  use.

Keywords: cake, lemon, elderflower, edible flowers

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with Feast Glorious Feast, and #BakingCrumbs with Apply To Face Blog and #Fiesta Friday with Fiesta Friday and [email protected], Spoons and Spatulas

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Cheese Muffins with Chilli Jam

Cheese Muffins with Chilli Jam

These Cheese Muffins with Chilli Jam are really quick and easy to make and combine a delicious, gooey cheesiness with the hot-sweet punch of the jam. I think cheese and chilli is a flavour combination made in heaven! You can use either shop-bought or home-made Chilli Jam for this recipe. If you want to make your own, have a look at my really easy Chilli Jam recipe.

I have always made quite a lot of sweet muffins as they lend themselves to seasonal flavours and adaptations – such as my Blackberry Muffins – but I had not made many savoury muffins until recently. Now I make a lot of plain Cheese Muffins – they are my school lunch box salvation on many occasions – but decided to try and make a more adult version. These Cheese Muffins with Chilli Jam are the result. However, if you are cooking for non-chilli lovers, you can use this recipe to make plain Cheese Muffins – just don’t add the Chilli Jam.

Gotta love a muffin..

Muffins are the perfect introduction to baking for anyone who lacks confidence in their baking skills. The method is really easy (just combine the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients) and also very quick (20 minutes to cook). This means you can pretty much whip up a batch of muffins whenever you are in the mood! This is good as the only issue with home-made muffins is that they must be eaten fresh. In my opinion, the best time to eat a muffin is when it is still warm from the oven. Otherwise, you need to eat them within a day or so as they will get stale pretty quickly.

Lovely Chilli Jam

I love Chilli Jam. It packs a chilli punch, tempered with sweetness, and is fantastic as a condiment as well as an ingredient. I use it a lot in sandwiches (particularly good with cheese and also hummus) but it is also great with roasted sweetcorn or drizzled onto baked potatoes with a dollop of sour cream.

I make my own Chilli Jam and will sometimes use it in these muffins. However, if I do not have any home-made chilli jam, I will use ready-made and this works really well too. I particularly like the Garlic Jame with Chilli produced by the Garlic Farm which has the additional benefit of garlic flavour too. The heat of these muffins will depend on the the strength of the chilli jam so choose one according to your chilli tolerance.

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Cheese Muffins with Chilli Jam

Cheese Muffins with Chilli Jam

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 muffins 1x
  • Category: Muffins
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

These Cheese Muffins with Chilli Jam are really quick and easy to make and combine a delicious, gooey cheesiness with the hot-sweet punch of the jam.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 275 g self-raising flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 250 ml milk
  • 100 g melted butter
  • 1 large sprig of thyme
  • 75 g of strongly flavoured cheese (I generally use cheddar or a mixture of 50g cheddar and 25g gruyere)
  • Chilli Jam – (I have a really easy recipe to make Chilli Jam but shop-bought is great too)

Cheese Muffins with Chilli Jam


Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 200 C/180F/Gas Mark 6.
  2. Line a 12-hole muffin tin.
  3. Put the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add the egg, milk and melted butter.  Stir to combine.
  5. Remove the leaves from the sprig of thyme, roughly chop them and add them to the mixture.
  6. Finely grate the cheese and stir into the mixture.
  7. Spoon approximately 1 tablespoon of the muffin mixture into each of the lined holes in your muffin tray.  
  8. Make an indentation in each portion of muffin mixture and add a spoonful of chilli jam.
  9. Put the muffin tray in the oven and bake the muffins for 20 minutes until they are risen and golden.
  10. Remove the tray from the oven and allow the muffins to cool for five minutes before taking them out of the tin.

Cheese Muffins with Chilli Jam


Notes

If you don’t have shop-bought liners, you can easily make your own by cutting baking parchment into squares and using a small jar or tin to mould each square into the hole in the tin before adding the mixture.

If you are cooking for non-chilli lovers, you can just leave out the Chilli Jam and then you have a straightforward gooey cheesy muffin.

Keywords: muffins, cheese, chilli, easy,

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare at Recipes Made Easy and #Baking Crumbs at Jo’s Kitchen Larder and Apply to Face Blog and #Fiesta Friday with Fiesta Friday and Antonia @ Zoale.com 

Loved this recipe? You may also like the following recipes. Or checkout the Recipe Index.

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Gingerbread Loaf

Easy Gingerbread Loaf

Dark, moist and sticky, with a wonderful treacly sweetness and a hint of spice, this easy Gingerbread Loaf is the perfect autumn or winter treat. It is truly one of the easiest cakes to make and, if you follow my instructions (!), you will have very little washing up too.

Treats not tricks

I associate this cake with autumn and it has been a regular at Hallowe’en Parties and Bonfire Night celebrations over the year. When you have been out in the cold for a few hours, this is exactly the kind of cake that you need! It is not the healthiest recipe – and includes a lot of sugariness and quite a bit of butter – but I firmly believe that everyone needs the occasional sweet treat.

In my family, this cake is actually know as Trick Cake. This is because the finished cake looks very much like a chocolate cake although, obviously, it tastes totally different. When my youngest son was very young, he was adamant that the only cake that he would eat was chocolate cake. He was given a helping of Gingerbread Loaf, wolfed it down and announced that it was the best chocolate cake he had eaten!

An easy and versatile cake

This cake is made using the “melting” method. This means there is no faffing about with creaming butter and sugar or rubbing them together to resemble fine breadcrumbs. The butter is melted and, basically, all the ingredients are stirred together and then poured into a tin and baked. There is really very little likelihood of anything going wrong.

This cake also keeps very well. If you wrap the cooled cake in foil, it will keep for at least a week. In fact, it actually improves if it is kept as it will become stickier and the flavours will deepen. Needless to say, in my household, with three ravenous teenagers, the life expectancy of one of these loaves is generally measured in hours rather than days and they very rarely last a week!

Despite its autumnal associations, I make my Gingerbread Loaf recipe pretty much the year around. Partly because it is so easy to make and the also because it is so versatile. It is great with morning coffee or afternoon tea but it is also a really good cake to include in a lunchbox or a picnic or in your back-pack if you are going for a hike as it is quite robust. It has a sustaining quality which is a great pick-me-up if you are feeling a bit tired!

Gingerbread loaf

…but not very pretty!

The one slight negative point about this cake is that it doesn’t look particularly attractive. It is basically a big brown square! In order to make it a bit more attractive in the photographs, I was inspired to produce leaf silhouettes on the top of the cake. It is the matter of minutes to do this. You just need to gather some nicely shaped leaves (making sure that they are not poisonous!), wash and dry them, place them on top of the cake and then sift a little icing sugar over them. When you remove the leaves, you should get a nice leaf-shaped pattern to jazz up your boring brown cake!

Gingerbread Loaf

Other autumnal bakes..

If you are in the mood for an autumnal bake, you might also like to have a look at my recipes for Apple Cake, Ginger and Pear Cake, Blackberry Muffins, Cherry and Almond Cake or Latte Cake.

Gingerbread Loaf

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Gingerbread Loaf

Gingerbread Loaf

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 60
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: I large cake
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This Gingerbread Loaf is one of the easiest, no-fail cake recipes.  It is dark, moist and sticky with a wonderful deep treacly sweetness and a hint of spice.  Perfect on a cold autumn or winter’s day!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 225 g butter
  • 225 g soft brown sugar (dark or light)
  • 1 tin of treacle (454 g)
  • 350 g plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 300 ml milk
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 eggs

Gingerbread loaf


Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 140C, 275F or Gas Mark 1.
  2. Grease and line a square 25cm cake tin.  Do not use a loose-based tin – the cake batter is very liquid and will run out of any gaps!
  3. Put the butter, sugar and treacle in a large, heavy-based saucepan.  Heat gently until the butter is melted and the sugar has dissolved.  
  4. Sift the flour, ginger and cinnamon into the saucepan.  Stir to combine with the melted butter, sugar and treacle.
  5. Heat the milk either in a small jug in the microwave or in a separate pan until it is “blood heat”.  That is, warmed to the point where you can just keep your finger in the liquid without it being uncomfortable.   Stir the bicarbonate of soda into the warmed milk.  Then pour the milk into the large saucepan with the other ingredients.
  6. Whisk the eggs lightly and then add them into the saucepan.   Stir the mixture to combine.   
  7. Then pour the batter, which will be very liquid, into your prepared cake tin.
  8. Place in the oven and cook for 1 hour.
  9. Remove the tin from the oven, place it  on a cooling rack and allow the cake to cool completely before removing it from the tin.

Gingerbread Loaf


Notes

  • If you want to make your rather boring brown cake look a bit more fancy, you can use a little icing sugar to make leaf-shaped silhouettes on the top.  Instructions are included in the blog post.

Keywords: Gingerbread, loaf cake, recipe

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare at A Strong Coffee  and on #Fiesta Friday at Fiesta Friday and #Baking Crumbs at Jo’s Kitchen Larder and Apply to Face Blog

Loved this recipe? You may also like the following recipes. Or checkout the Recipe Index.

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Easy Apple Cake

Easy Apple Cake – perfect for early autumn!

This Easy Apple Cake combines sharp cooking apples with toasted hazelnuts and brandy-soaked sultanas. It is a versatile cake which can be eaten with morning coffee or afternoon tea but also makes a great pudding, particularly if served warm with cream or ice-cream!

I have a Bramley apple tree in my garden which means that in late August and early September I get a huge over-supply of cooking apples. This is the season for all things apple – Apple Crumble, Apple Pie, Apple Sauce! I also get to work freezing the apples – I peel, core and chop them first – so that they can be used later on in the year. Although this is a bit laborious but I get the benefit later in the year when I have ready-to-use cooking apple chunks in the freezer to make a quick crumble or pie.

Until recently, despite the early autumn apple frenzy, the one thing I didn’t make was Apple Cake. This year, I decided to give it a go and, continuing on the autumnal theme, decided to add hazelnuts and sultanas.

Recent posts from tastebotanical

Loved this recipe? Checkout the Recipe Index.

And, if not apples…

I always have renewed enthusiasm for cake baking (and eating) in autumn. There is something about the colder days and the abundance of delicious fruit, that get me back in the baking zone. If you are looking for other great autumn cake recipes, you might like Ginger and Pear Cake, Rum Banana Bread, Earl Grey Cake with Orange or even my Blackberry Muffins.

Easy Apple Cake recipe

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Apple Cake

Easy Apple Cake

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 60
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 1 large cake 1x
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This is a fantastic cake to make during  early autumn which brings together sharp cooking apples, toasted hazelnuts and brandy-soaked sultanas.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 100 g sultanas
  • 1 tablespoon of brandy or apple brandy (or apple juice)
  • 225 g butter
  • 350 g self-raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 500 g cooking apples (eg Bramley)
  • 100 g of toasted hazelnuts (finely chopped)
  • 175 g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • a little white or brown granulated sugar (optional)

Apple Cake


Instructions

  1. Heat your oven to 180 C, 400 F or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Put the sultanas in a ceramic bowl and add the brandy or apple brandy.  Put in the microwave to heat for a few seconds and then set aside.  The sultanas will plump up as they absorb the alcohol.   If you do not want to use alcohol, you can use apple juice as a substitute.
  3. Grease a 20 cm loose-bottomed cake tin.  If your tin is not non-stick, line the base with a circle of grease-proof paper or baking parchment.
  4. Cut the butter  into small cubes and put it into a large bowl.  Sift in the flour and cinnamon.
  5. Rub the butter into the flour, either by hand or using a food processor, until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  6. Peel the cooking apples with a vegetable peeler, remove their cores and roughly chop.   
  7. Add the chopped apple,  plumped-up sultanas, chopped hazelnuts and sugar to the mixture.  Then stir in the eggs.
  8. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin.  Place it in the oven for one hour until it is golden and firm to the touch.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin on a cooling rack.  You can sprinkle granulated sugar (white or brown) on the top of the warm cake to give it a crunchy topping.


Keywords: apple cake, apples,

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Blackberry Muffins

Home-made Blackberry Muffin recipe

These Blackberry Muffins are an English seasonal take on a traditional Blueberry Muffin. I love blackberries and thought that they might be a good alternative to blueberries in a muffin. They have a dark, sweet juiciness which is perfect in a light, sweet vanilla-flavoured muffin.

Muffins are very easy to make. It really is a question of mixing all the ingredients together, cooking for 20 minutes, and then enjoying your freshly baked muffins. The key to a good muffin, as well as having a good flavour combination, is to eat it when it is fresh. A warm muffin, just out of the oven, is truly sublime. A two-day old muffin, not so much!

I like to try and keep things seasonal, as much as I can, so I tend to make these Blackberry Muffins in late August and September when I can pick fresh blackberries. However, if I am organised enough, I pick lots of blackberries during the season as they freeze very well and can be used throughout the year. Also, nowadays, you can buy blackberries in most supermarkets.

I tend to serve muffins as a treat with morning coffee. I will sometimes take them into work or, if I’m working from home, will enjoy a solitary muffin and coffee break. Muffins are also great additions to lunchboxes for children or adults as they are fairly robust and don’t disintegrate into crumbs too easily!

Lovely cakes!

If you like these muffins, you may like some of the other cake recipes that I cook regularly. They are so quick and easy to make and you can get really creative with the flavours! On other pages of this blog you can find recipes for Rosemary Cake,  Thyme Cake, Earl Grey and Orange Cake,Lemon DrizzleBlood OrangeLime and CoconutRum and Banana and Ginger and Pear.

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Blackberry Muffins

Blackberry Muffins

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 large muffins 1x
  • Category: Muffins
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: British

Description

Blackberry Muffins are quick and easy to make and are a great way of using this dark, juicy berry!  Eat them fresh out of the oven when they are still warm.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 100 g butter
  • 140 g golden caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 200 ml Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 250 g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 125 g blackberries (washed)

Blackberries


Instructions

  1.  Set your oven to 200 C/180F/Gas Mark 6.
  2. Line a 12-hole muffin tin.   
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together using a food-processor or hand-held beater.
  4. Add the eggs, yogurt, vanilla essence and milk and stir to combine.
  5. Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold into the mixture.
  6. Gently stir in the blackberries.   Some will get a bit crushed when they are stirred in but this is fine as it spreads the flavour!
  7. Put around two tablespoons of the mixture into each of the lined holes in your muffin tray.
  8. Put the muffin tray into the oven and bake the muffins for 20 minutes.  They will be ready when they are risen and golden on top.
  9. Remove the tins for the oven and allow the muffins to cool for five minutes before removing from the tin.

Blackberry Muffins


Notes

If you don’t have shop-bought liners, you can easily make your own by cutting baking parchment into squares and using a small jar or tin to mould each square into the hole in the tin before adding the mixture.

Blackberry Muffins

Keywords: muffins, blackberries

Recipe shared on “Cook, Blog, Share” by Easy Peasy Foodie and on #Baking Crumbs by Apply to Face Blog and Jo’s Kitchen Larder

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