Elderflower and Lemon Cupcakes

Elderflower and Lemon Cupcake

Elderflower and Lemon Cupcakes

These Elderflower and Lemon Cupcakes are the perfect easy summer baking recipe. The sponge is light and buttery. The use of fresh lemon makes them fresh and zesty and perfectly balances the floral flavour of the elderflower. The flavour of the cakes is echoed in the buttercream which is flavoured with fresh lemon juice and elderflower cordial.

Over the past few years, elderflower has become a very popular flavouring for all kinds of cakes and desserts. I first made these Elderflower Cupcakes a number of years ago at the request of my daughter for her to share with her biology class.  Each week a member of the class brings in cakes to share – school doesn’t sound so bad nowadays – and she specifically asked me not to make cakes with an unusual flavour.  Her exact words were “don’t make the flavour too ‘out there’, mum”.    After a focused discussion, during which various flavours were discounted –  lilac? (No), Lady Grey tea? (No!),  dandelion? (Seriously?!!) – we agreed on elderflower.

Although I love elderflower and use it in desserts regularly, this was the first time I had tried it in Elderflower Cupcakes.  I am not really a big cupcake maker!  I made two batches – one with just elderflower and one with elderflower and lemon.  When I tasted them, I understood immediately why it is usual to include lemon as an additional flavouring.  The cupcakes made just with elderflower were far too sweet for my taste but those made with elderflower and lemon were just right – floral but zesty!

What you need to know about these cupcakes

  • You don’t need access to fresh elderflowers to make them. In England, elderflowers are in season in May and June and are very common in hedgerows and the edge of woodland. I use fresh elderflowers to make many recipes including Elderflower Cordial. I really love making my own cordial but you can make these cupcakes using store-bought cordial and they taste just as good.
  • Cupcakes are very easy to make and quick to bake. Therefore, you can whip up a batch in under half an hour. However, you need to allow them to cool completely before you add the buttercream icing otherwise it will just melt into the cakes. I generally make these cakes the day before I plan to eat them so they have plenty of time to cool down.
  • I am not a brilliant icing piper. When I make these cupcakes, I generally simply put a teaspoon of icing onto each cake and smooth it down. I will always add some additional decorative element to make up for my lack of icing skills. If fresh elderflowers are in season, I will add a sprig to each cake. If not, I will add a little grated lemon zest as I think it is helpful to give a clue to the flavour of the cakes.

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Other Elderflower Recipes

I am a big fan of elderflower and love its distinctive floral flavour. I have lots of recipes, some using fresh elderflowers and some which can be made with shop-bought elderflower cordial.

  • Fresh Elderflower Cordial – very easy to make with fresh elderflowers and can be diluted as a drink and also used as a flavouring in other recipes.
  • Home-made Elderflower Gin – very easy to make with fresh elderflowers and great drunk on its own or as the basis for floral cocktails.
  • Elderflower Vinegar – delicious floral flavoured vinegar which is brilliant in salad dressings
  • Simple Elderflower Ice Cream – delicious floral ice cream which can be made using shop-bought elderflower cordial.
  • Elderflower and Gooseberry Sorbet – a refreshing floral sorbet that celebrates the brilliant flavour match of elderflower and gooseberry.
  • Elderflower Pannacotta – light and creamy summer dessert

Recipe for Elderflower and Lemon Cupcakes

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Elderflower and Lemon Cupcake

Elderflower and Lemon Cupcakes

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cakes 1x
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English


These scrumptious little cakes, flavoured with elderflower and lemon, are a perfect addition to afternoon tea!



For the cakes:

  • 250 g (9 oz) salted butter
  • 250 g (9 oz) caster or superfine sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 250 (9 oz) g self-raising flour
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 tbs elderflower cordial

For the icing:

  • 450 g (1lb) icing sugar
  • 225 g (8 oz) salted butter
  • 3 tbs elderflower cordial
  • Juice of 1 lemon


  1. Set your oven to 200 degrees C/gas mark 6.
  2. Put your cupcake papers into your cupcake trays.
  3. Make the cake batter by creaming together the 250 g butter with the 250 g sugar.   Add the eggs gradually to ensure the mixture does not curdle.  Then add the 250 g self-raising flour.
  4. Add the grated lemon zest and the 4 tbs of cordial to the mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Put a dessert spoon of the cake mixture into each of the cupcake papers.
  6. Put your cupcake trays into the oven and cook for around 15 minutes.  The cakes will be done when they are golden brown and springy to the touch.
  7. Remove the cupcakes from the trays and put on a rack to cool.
  8. Make the icing by putting the 500g icing sugar, 250 g butter, lemon juice and 3 tbs elderflower cordial in a mixing bowl and beating until they form a pale, smooth icing.   Ice the cooled cupcakes and decorate as you wish!

Keywords: elderflower and lemon cake, elderflower cupcakes

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2 thoughts on “Elderflower and Lemon Cupcakes”

  1. If I don’t have self-raising flour at home could I add bicarbonate of soda or baking powder, and if yes, how much?

    1. Yes – you can use plain flour with two teaspoons of baking powder if you don’t have any self-raising flour 😊

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