Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Elderflower and Lemon Drizzle Cake

Have you seen green bottles of elderflower cordial selling in most supermarkets in Melbourne? Yes I have and I wonder what are these... Then my cousin told me that I can buy elderflower cordial at ALL Ikea too!!! Oh!

Please pardon me for being totally new to elderflower. Ha ha! Sua ku me! (meaning mountain tortoise in Hokkien saying that someone is not well informed) Accordingly to Wikipedia, elderflowers are borne in large corymbs (10–25 cm in diameter), where the individual flowers are tiny (about 5 mm), white creamy in colour and each has five petals. Due to its honey like scent, elderflowers are used to enhance a solution of sugar and water to produce the aromatic elderflower cordial. Interestingly, the leaves of this plant are rather bitter-smelling.

Elderflower cordial is typically consumed as a summer drink and is usually diluted with either water or sparkling water with or without tonic or gin. Thanks to my curiosity, we have been enjoying our sparkling water with a hint of elderflower cordial throughout this whole summer! Lovely!

Then the more curious me asked "Can I use elderflower cordial for baking?" Yes! Google tells me that I can and leads me to this recipe.

Hey! This recipe is familiar! This recipe is so like My Mother-in-law's Madeira Cake by Nigella Lawson... but a little different and I like it!

elderflower lemon cake
Elderflower and lemon drizzle cake
Like My Mother-in-law's Madeira Cake, this cake contains lots of butter and almost the same proportion of its core ingredients. The initial step of beating of butter, sugar and lemon zest is the same too.
Unlike My Mother-in-law's Madeira Cake, this cake contains slightly more eggs.
To minimise the mixture from curdling, this recipe uses the same mixing method like My Mother-in-law's Madeira Cake by adding tablespoonful of flour before adding the last egg.
After adding the last egg, the mixture does look pretty combined with least curdling.
Like My Mother-in-law's Madeira Cake, this recipe uses self-raising flour too and unlike My Mother-in-law's Madeira Cake uses hot water instead of lemon juice.
Unlike My Mother-in-law's Madeira Cake, this recipe didn't sprinkle sugar before baking but like My Mother-in-law's Madeira Cake, this recipe makes nice buttery cake with sugar crusty finish and suggested the sprinkle of sugar after pouring the syrup over the baked cake.
Combine the elderflower cordial and lemon juice to make the syrup.
Instead of having sugary crusty finish, I have chosen to enjoy the cake without the sugary topping and it is equally awesome!
elderflower lemon cake
Like My Mother-in-law's Madeira Cake, this cake is so robust in its buttery taste and tasty with a hint of lightness from the lemon. Unlike My Mother-in-law's Madeira Cake, this cake has a little extra... I mean the sweet honey-scented elderflower flavour.
elderflower lemon cake
Like My Mother-in-law's Madeira Cake, the texture of this cake is like a hybrid of both butter cake and sponge cake. It is moist and buttery with soft light fluffy crumbs but I must say this one is definitely moister with the addition of elderflower cordial syrup.

I would strongly recommend you baking this cake if elderflower cordial is available in the place that you live... because this cake is simply beautiful.

Here's the recipe that is mostly adapted from Good to Know and The Kitchn
Makes one 20cm or two 16 cm round cake/s

For the cake:
250g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
250g caster sugar (can be reduced to 100g and this amount is just right for me)
zest of 1 lemon
4 large eggs, roughly beaten
250g self raising cake flour, sifted
2 tbsp hot water

For the syrup:
3 tbsp (45ml) lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
100ml elderflower cordial
Update on 11 Feb 2016: Wendy from Table for 2 has mentioned to me that the elderflower cordial from Ikea can be quite sour but this green bottle that I'm using is actually quite ok! If you think that the syrup that you use is too sour, please stir in 2 tbsp (or more) caster sugar into this syrup before applying it onto the cake. 

2 tbsp (30ml) caster sugar, for a crusty finish (optional as I didn't use it)

Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C / 160°C fan forced /Gas Mark 4. Grease one 20cm or two 16cm round, deep loose-based pan/s and line the base and the sides of the pan/s with baking paper.

Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar and lemon zest together until they are pale and fluffy. While beating, add eggs gradually, whisking well between additions and adding 2 tbsp of the flour with the last egg - this will prevent curdling.

Sift over the remaining flour, then gently fold in with a metal spoon along with 2 tbsp hot water. Spoon into the prepared pan/s, level the surface and bake for 45-50 mins (for 20 cm cake) or 30 mins (for 14 cm cake) or until the skewer inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool slightly in the pan for about 5 mins. Remove the cake from the pan. Transfer cake onto a wire rack and allow it to cool completely.

While the cake is cooling, make the syrup by squeezing the lemon juice through a sieve to remove pulps or seeds. Stir in the cordial.

My personal note: The cake will sink in if the syrup is poured onto a cake that is still warm. On the other hand, the sugar will not melt nicely to form a sugary crust if the sugar is sprinkled onto a completely cooled cake. If you are like me who choose not to sprinkle any sugar on the cake after pouring the syrup, I reckon that it is better to pour the syrup after the cake is completely cooled. If you do so, you will get a fluffier cake with least amount of sinking.

Use the fine skewer to prick the cake all over, pour the syrup gradually and onto different spots of the cake. I can assure you that the syrup will absorb into the cake instantly without dribbling off. Then sprinkle the sugar to leave a crunchy crust (optional and I didn't do that).

Cut and serve with whipped cream, tea, coffee and lemonade!

Happy Baking
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  1. Elderflower has an interesting flavor, doesn't it? Never had it in a cake -- this looks so good! And I'm a real sucker for lemon, so this is perfect for me. Thanks!

  2. wow entirely a new ingredient and the looks so moist and fluffy

  3. When I started my Green drink, It tasted horrible to me at first. Then, someone told me that when your body is highly acidic it's not going to taste good until your body becomes more alkaline. Well, it happened to be the case for me and It started to taste a little better.

  4. Perfect combo and wonderful soft cake!
    Have a nica day

  5. Hmm!! The cake looks so buttery golden. Here I wish you a Happy Chinese New Year to you and your family :)

  6. Ha ha..I am also sua ku myself! I know what is lemon but nothing about Elderflower. Your cake looks so good!

  7. Certainly love to dig into this spongy cake, Zoe! Popping by to wish you a Happy CNY, dear! xoxo

  8. Hi Zoe,
    This spongy cake looks very inviting!
    Will checkout elderflower cordial from Ikea.

  9. This cake looks amazing, Zoe! Your post reminded me that Ikea sells Elderflower syrup. Looks like something I should try. ^.^

    Happy Lunar New Year to you and your lovely family!