I've been stalking elderberry bushes all spring waiting for the delicate florets to bloom, and at last the time is here! Luckily I haven't run off the road or bike paths yet while scouting the roadsides and fields for wild edibles to forage.
Elderflower is commonly foraged and used to make elderflower cordial, a sweet drink to add to cocktails or lemonade. I wanted to try infusing the blooms into a tea cake and (after watching every season of GBBO - who's with me???) it seemed like the perfect marriage for a lemon drizzle cake. (Hopefully Mary Berry would be proud!)
I infused elderflowers into non-dairy milk before adding it to the cake batter and the flavor does come through nicely in the final result. While the cake is still warm it's soaked with a lemon-honey-elderflower tea infusion. Once cooled the cake is then drizzled with an elderflower lemon glaze. So basically it's an explosion of elderflower love. My number one (6yo) taster gave his approval and we finished the last tiny pieces this morning with our tea. I guess I need to go foraging again!
If you can't find elderflower I have a good feeling that this cake would be equally as wonderful infused with chamomile blossoms or lemon balm or verbena. Ok, getting lots of ideas now so I can make this cake over and over again once elderflower season has ended.
Important: Please be sure that you can properly identify the plant before picking/using it! If you're unsure, DON'T pick or eat it! Seek out a local forager and cross reference plant guide books to help you identify any wild edibles you are unsure about.
You will only need a few large elderflower heads for this recipe. I picked a large basket full of flowers and currently have a batch of my first try at elderflower champagne started. Fingers crossed it works!
Happy foraging friends!
recipe after the jump...
Wild Elderflower Honey Lemon Drizzle Cake
- 1-½ cups white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup unrefined sugar rapadura or coconut sugar for instance
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅔ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 3 large heads floret clusters of elderflowers - divided
- ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoons raw honey - divided
- ⅓ cup canola or extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest - divided
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice - divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup confectioner's sugar
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease a standard loaf tin well with vegan shortening or butter.
- First infuse elderflowers into the non-dairy milk by removing the flowers from stalks of 2 of the heads. NOTE: The stalks of the elderberry plant contain toxins so remove as much of the stalks as possible.
- Add milk and flowers to a saucepan and bring milk to scalding (just before boiling) temperature. Do not boil. Cover and remove from heat and let flowers steep in milk for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes of steeping strain milk through a fine sieve. You will need ½ cup of infused milk for the cake recipe. If you have less than ½ cup then just add more milk, and if you have more than ½ cup then pour off the extra so you have ½ cup for the recipe.
- Make an elderflower tea with the flowers from the remaining head and a little bit of boiling water. (You will only need 1 tablespoon of the finished elderflower tea.) Pour boiling water over flowers in a heat-proof vessel, cover and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain tea through a fine sieve.
- Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl.
- Whisk together ½ cup of elderflower infused milk, ⅓ cup honey, oil, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of lemon zest and vanilla extract in a separate mixing bowl.
- Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir together with a rubber spatula until just combined. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for about 35 minutes until cake is golden brown and comes away from the sides and a inserted toothpick in the center comes out clean.
- Allow cake to cool in pan for 10 minutes then run a butter knife along the sides to loosen the cake from the pan. Invert cake onto a cooling rack and tap bottom of loaf pan to release the cake if necessary. Remove the loaf pan then invert cake again onto another cooling rack so it is right side up.
- Stir together 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of elderflower tea to make the "drizzle" mixture. Reserve 1-½ tablespoons of this mixture for the glaze. While the cake is still warm brush the "drizzle" mixture over the cake and allow it to seep into the cake.
- Whisk together the reserved 1-½ tablespoons of "drizzle" mixture with ½ cup of confectioner's sugar to make the glaze. Once cake has cooled to room temperature drizzle glaze over the top of the cake.
- Sprinkle top with remaining 1 teaspoon of lemon zest. If you'd like, decorate cake with fresh elderflower clusters and other edible flowers such as chamomile as shown in the photos. Enjoy!