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

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

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Rose Ice Cream

Home-made Rose Ice Cream

I first came across Rose Ice Cream about ten years ago on a family holiday to Alnwick Castle Garden in Northumberland. The castle is famous for its wonderful, dramatic modern garden which includes a large area devoted to scented roses. When we visited, they were selling rose-flavoured ice-cream with a flavour based on the old-fashioned roses in the garden. I loved the ice-cream and, as soon as I got home, set about trying to make a home-made version. If you love gardens, I would recommend a visit to those at Alnwick Castle which also include a cascade of 120 water-jets, an area devoted to poisonous plants and an extraordinary tree-house which is the location for a very fancy restaurant.

Maybe because I first had Rose Ice Cream in Alnwick, I associate it with an English summer garden. There are a few recipes for Rose Ice Cream which have a more exotic twist, including pistachios or almonds, and having a 1001 Nights vibe, but this is definitely a traditional English version.

Edible flower recipes – rose, lavender and elderflower

As is probably obvious from the title of this blog, I love using floral flavourings in my cooking. For rose-lovers, there are recipes for Rose and Strawberry Cream Cake and Rose and Raspberry Pavlova. Lavender-lovers might like the recipes for Lavender Ice Cream, Lavender Cake and Lavender Shortbread and Honey Cream Tea with Lavender Scones. For elderflower-lovers, there are recipes for Elderflower Ice Cream, Gooseberry and Elderflower Sorbet and Elderflower and Lemon Cupcakes.

You only need the egg yolks for this recipe which means you will have spare egg whites.  As I hate waste, I pretty much always make Meringues when I make ice-cream as, very conveniently, my Meringue recipe requires four egg whites. If you are in a rose-loving mood, you could make Rose Meringues!

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Rose Ice Cream

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Rose Ice Cream

Rose Ice Cream

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x
  • Category: Ice Cream
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This Rose Ice Cream is a lovely summer recipe which combines the floral taste of rose with fresh cream.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 85 g caster sugar
  • 425 ml double cream
  • 1 tablespoon of culinary rosewater
  • A few drops of red food colouring (optional)


Instructions

  1. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a bowl until the mixture looks paler and resembles a mousse.
  2. Put the cream in a saucepan and heat gently. Do not allow to boil – it will be the right temperature when you are just about able to bear to dip a finger in it!
  3. Pour the cream into the bowl containing the egg yolks and sugar, whisking all the time.
  4. Transfer the combined mixture into a bowl set over a pan of simmering water or, ideally a double-boiler, as you need to reheat it very gently.
  5. The mixture will gradually thicken until it looks like a custard (which is what it is).  Stir regularly to make sure it does not stick while it is thickening.
  6. Remove the thick custard from the heat and transfer into a bowl. 
  7. Add the rosewater to the custard.  If you wish, stir in a few drops of red food colouring so that your ice cream will be pink.  If you don’t do this, your ice-cream will be cream-coloured but will still taste the same!
  8. Allow to cool to room temperature and then transfer to the fridge to become thoroughly chilled.
  9. When you are ready to make the ice-cream, transfer to your ice-cream maker and use according to your machine’s instructions.  If you do not have an ice-cream maker, you can place the mixture in a freezer-proof container, put in the freezer for several hours until half-frozen.  Whisk the mixture and then return to the container and replace in the freezer until totally frozen.

Notes

You only need the egg yolks for this recipe which means you will have spare egg whites.  As I hate waste, I pretty much always make Meringues when I make ice-cream as, very conveniently, my Meringue recipe requires four egg whites.

If you want to go for a full-on rose theme, you can decorate your ice-cream with Crystallised Rose Petals.

Keywords: rose, rose ice cream, rose recipe

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

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Lavender Cake

Easy Lavender Loaf Cake

Just the name, Lavender Cake, makes me think about an English summer garden. I love the calming floral fragrance of fresh lavender, which is held in both the flowers and the leaves. I also think it looks beautiful with green-grey leaves and deep blue, purple or white flowers.

If you grow lavender in your garden, this is a cake to make in high summer, late June through to August when it is at its best. Make sure that it hasn’t been treated with any pesticides or other chemicals before you use it in your cooking! If you don’t grow your own lavender, you can use culinary lavender which is available from some supermarkets and also online.

Like many of the cakes that I make, this Lavender Cake is a variation on a simple loaf cake recipe. Lavender and lemon has become a popular flavour combination in cakes and desserts. For this recipe, I combined lavender with orange, which adds a similar zesty citrus flavour. It occurred to me when I had made this cake that lavender and orange are both included in the classic Herbes de Provence herb mix from the South of France which is used in savoury dishes.

So many lavender recipes….

I use lavender mainly in sweet recipes. I make Lavender Ice Cream, which is creamy and floral and fantastic at the end of a summer dinner party. If you want to give someone a summer treat, you could do worse than make them a lavender-themed Afternoon Tea with Lavender Shortbread Biscuits and Lavender Scones. I sometimes make a Honey Cream Tea, combining Cream and Honey with the Lavender Scones, which is a great twist on an English teatime tradition. If you have a lot of fresh lavender in your garden, you can capture the flavour by making Lavender Sugar which you can use as a baking ingredient.

….and so many cake recipes!

If you like this cake, you may like some of the other loaf 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 CakeThyme Cake, Earl Grey and Orange Cake,Lemon DrizzleBlood OrangeLime and CoconutRum and Banana and Ginger and Pear.

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Lavender Cake

Lavender Cake

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaf cake 1x
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Scale

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 4 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh or half a tablespoon of dried culinary lavender
  • 125 g butter
  • 175 g Lavender Sugar (use caster sugar if you do not have Lavender Sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 175 g self-raising flour
  • Zest of 1 orange

For the icing:

  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh or half a tablespoon of dried culinary lavender
  • 100 g icing sugar


Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 180 degrees centigrade or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Put the milk into a small bowl and add the fresh or dried culinary lavender.  Heat to scalding point and then set aside to cool.   Heating the milk allows it to take on the flavour of the lavender.
  3. Grease a 450 g loaf tin and line the bottom with baking parchment.
  4. Cream the butter with the Lavender Sugar or caster sugar.  (I usually soften the butter for about 30 seconds in the microwave first as it makes it much easier!)
  5. 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.
  6. Once the eggs have been incorporated add the rest of the self-raising flour.
  7. Add the lavender-infused milk and the grated zest of your orange.
  8. Spoon the cake mixture into your prepared loaf tin.
  9. Put the tin in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  10. While the cake is baking, squeeze the juice from your orange into a small bowl and add the fresh or dried culinary lavender.  Heat to scalding point and then set aside to cool.   Heating the juice allows it to take on the flavour of the lavender.
  11. When your cake is done.  Remove it from the oven and place on a cooling rack. 
  12. When the cake is completely cool.  Combine the lavender-infused orange juice with the icing sugar and then pour over the cake.

Keywords: lavender, cake, loaf cake

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

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Lavender Shortbread

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Lavender Shortbread

I love lavender!  I grow several varieties in my garden and look forward to the first hot day of the year when you get a waft of lavender scent on the air and know that summer is truly here.   Lavender Shortbread is an excellent way of capturing the essence of this beautiful, fragrant plant.

Lavender has many culinary uses and its fragrance works well in a variety of sweet and savoury dishes.   However, you do have to be a bit careful though as lavender is a very strongly scented plant and, if you use too much, it can overwhelm other flavours.  For this reason, I think it is best used on its own rather than in combination with other aromatics.

Plain shortbread is  delicious – it should have a fairly soft, crumbly texture –   but it also makes great vehicle to showcase a range of flavours,  including lavender, rose geranium, thyme, rosemary and lemon verbena.   It is a great accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee and is also a good partner with ice-cream or sorbet.

About Lavender

The English word lavender is thought to be derived either from Old French lavandre which is taken from the Latin lavare “to wash” which refers to the practice of using it in infusions or from the Latin livere “blueish” in reference to its colour.   Lavender (“nard” in Hebrew) is mentioned in the Song of Solomon. 

It was introduced into England in the 1600s.  At that time, it was used to make herb tea which was appreciated for its taste and for its medicinal properties.   It was also used to make a conserve which was prized by members of the aristocracy including, allegedly, Queen Elizabeth 1.    Although lavender is often now associated with southern French cuisine, it was not widely used until the turn of the 20th century and its use was popularised only later  by its inclusion in the 1970s in herbes de Provence, a blend of herbs invented by spice wholesalers.

Lavender Shortbread

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Lavender shortbread, lavender cookies, lavender biscuits, lavender hearts

Lavender Shortbread

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 15 biscuits 1x
  • Category: Biscuits
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

These crumbly shortbread biscuits, delicately flavoured with lavender, are fantastic as an accompaniment to ice-cream or sorbet – or just with a cup of tea!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 125 g butter
  • 55 g sugar
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 20 g cornflour
  • 60 g ground almonds
  • 4 fresh lavender buds (or 2 tablespoons culinary lavender)
Lavender shortbread, lavender cookies, lavender hearts, lavender biscuits
Lavender shortbread

Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas Mark 6.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together.
  3. Add the flour, cornflour and ground almonds and combine.
  4. Detach the small lavender flowers from their stalks and add them to the mixture.
  5. Roll out the shortbread dough to a thickness of approximately 0.5 cm.
  6. Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes from the dough.
  7. Put the dough shapes onto a greased baking tray.
  8. Bake the shortbread dough shapes for 15 minutes.  They will be done when they are firm to the touch and light golden in colour.
  9. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack.
Lavender shortbread, lavender cookies, lavender hearts, lavender biscuits
Lavender shortbread

Notes

If you are using fresh lavender buds, make sure that they have not been treated with any chemicals.  Do not use shop-bought flowers unless they are specifically designated as “culinary lavender”.

Keywords: lavender, shortbread, lavender shortbread, lavender biscuits, lavender hearts, lavender cookies

Love this recipe?  You may like these too!

Lavender Sugar and Rose Geranium Sugar

Thyme Biscuits with Pinenuts

 

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Rose and Raspberry Pavlova

Rose Pavlova, Raspberry Pavlova, Rose Meringue
Pretty in pink – Rose and Raspberry Pavlova

Rose and Raspberry Pavlova

Get in touch with your girly side with this pretty-in-pink Raspberry Pavlova.   Sometimes, even the least girly of us (and I include myself in that description) feel  a need to embrace pink.  If you feel a girly mood coming on, this Raspberry Pavlova, with delicate pink rose-flavoured meringue could be the answer!

Raspberry and rose is a classic flavour combination.  In this Pavlova, the meringue is flavoured with rosewater and topped with whipped cream and fresh raspberries.   The slightly sharp flavour of the raspberries is an excellent contrast with the sweetly floral meringue.

Pavlova is my go-to dessert for celebrations of all kinds.  It is very easy to make, can be prepared in advance,  looks impressive and is not too heavy so is perfect as a summer dessert.    If you like the recipe for this Raspberry Pavlova, you may also like my classic Pavlova , my Rose Meringues and my classic Meringues.

If you are making any of my meringue-based recipes, you might also check out my ice-cream recipes such as Lavender Ice-creamThyme Ice-cream with Honey and Mascarpone  or  Elderflower Ice-cream. You need four egg whites for this recipe which means you will have four spare egg yolks.  As I hate waste, I pretty much always make some form of ice-cream when I make any type of meringue.  Very conveniently, all my ice-cream recipes require four egg yolks.

Rose and Raspberry Pavlova

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Raspberry Pavlova, Rose Pavlova

Raspberry and Rose Pavlova

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 60
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: for 6 people 1x
  • Category: Meringues
  • Cuisine: English

Description

Pretty and pink, this Raspberry Pavlova, has a wonderful rose-flavoured meringue base topped with whipped cream and fresh raspberries.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 225 caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon culinary rosewater
  • A few drops of red food colouring (optional)
  • 300 ml double cream
  • As many raspberries as you like!
Rose Pavlova
Rose Pavlova – pink meringue base

Instructions

  • Set your oven to 140 C/275 F/Gas Mark 1.
  • Whisk the egg whites with salt until they form stiff peaks.
  • Add two tablespoons of sugar and continue to whisk until combined and the mixture is thick and glossy.
  • Fold the rest of the sugar, the cornflour, the lemon juice, the rosewater and the food colouring (if using) into the whisked egg whites.
  • Cover a baking sheet with baking parchment or silicon paper.
  • Spoon the egg white mixture onto the baking sheet to form a large circle or oval.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour until the exterior of the meringue is hard to the touch.
  • Allow to cool.
  • When ready to serve, whisk the double cream until it forms soft peaks and then spread it on top of the meringue base.   Arrange the raspberries on top.
Rose Pavlova
Rose Pavlova – ready for raspberries!

Notes

  • If you want the Pavlova to be pink, you will need to add a little red food colouring.   This is optional – if it is not pink, it will still taste the same!

Keywords: pavlova, raspberries

Love this recipe?  You may like these too!

Pavlova with a hint of patriotism!

Rose Meringues

Meringues

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