readingStrawberry and Elderflower Cake

Strawberry and Elderflower Cake
Recipe - 02 July 2024


Elderflowers have an extraordinary affinity with strawberries, and make a perfect summer cake. Assemble only a couple of hours before the event (and chill, if you can) as the cake won’t keep, especially in the heat. A summer celebration on a plate!


45 minutes

Cook Time

30 - 35 minutes






  • 450g unsalted butter, really soft, diced, plus more for the tin
  • 450g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 8 eggs, lightly beaten
  • finely grated zest of 2 large unwaxed lemons
  • 450g golden caster sugar, plus 2 tbsp for the elderflower cream
  • 4 tbsp elderflower cordial, plus 8 tbsp for the elderflower cream
  • 1.2kg ripe, even-sized strawberries, cleaned, dried and hulled
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 600ml double cream



Preheat the oven to 180C/ fan 170C/ 350F/ gas mark 4. To make the three-tiered cake, take three 20cm round sandwich tins. Butter the tins and line the bases with baking parchment. If you have only 2 tins, then make the cake mixture and divide it evenly into three batches, baking the third as soon as a tin becomes free.

For this cake, I use an electric mixer and beater attachment, but you can use a food processor, or a bowl and electric whisk, if you prefer. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl, add the butter, eggs, lemon zest and sugar, and beat well, adding the cordial towards the end. Be careful not to over-mix, as you want a light cake.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer emerges clean. Remove from the oven, leave for a couple of minutes, run a knife around the rim to loosen the cakes from the tins and turn out on to a wire rack. Remove the papers and leave to cool completely. Trim the cakes flat.


Slice 400g of the strawberries and toss in a bowl with the sugar and vanilla. Leave all the flavours to mingle together for 30 minutes.

Whip the cream until soft peaks form, adding the cordial slowly just as it begins to thicken. Place one cake stand and spread with a layer of cream and half the sliced strawberries. Top with the last cake. Spread the remaining cream all over the top and sides.

Take the best-shaped strawberries and cut 10-12 in half. Place the halved strawberries, cut side up, in a circle around the edge of the cake, and pile up the rest in the centre. Cut the remaining strawberries into slices – or in half – and press into the cream all around the sides.

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