Make elderflower macarons this summer, as well as elderflower bellinis and elderflower and white-chocolate cake.

Foraging for elderflowers spells springtime for me. Thanks to their unique and delicate scent, it’s hard to miss them when walking in the country. Traditional layer cakes are one of my absolute all-time favourites, and the way this one’s teamed with elderflowers makes it even more special Elderflower Bellini jellies.

Elderflower and white-chocolate layer cake (serves 6)

Ingredients
Elderflower cordial
20 elderflower heads
500g sugar
1 litre water, boiling
2 unwaxed lemons

Sponge
250g butter, room temperature
250g caster sugar
1tspn vanilla essence
4 eggs
250g self raising flour

Filling
150ml elderflower cordial
300ml double cream, whipped
50g icing sugar
100g raspberries

Decoration
25g apricot jam
300g white modelling chocolate
Elderflowers

Method
To make the elderflower cordial, dissolve the sugar in boiling water. Once cooled, add the sliced lemon and elderflower heads, after shaking them to ensure there aren’t any little creatures hiding in the flowers. Allow the mixture to steep until the following day, before straining through muslin and pouring into sterilsed bottles.

Preheat the oven to 170˚C/350˚F/gas mark 3 and grease and line an 8in baking tin. Using a handheld or standalone mixer, cream the butter and add the sugar, beating until light and fluffy.

Add the vanilla essence and lightly beaten eggs one at a time. If the mixture curdles, add a teaspoon of the flour to stabilise it. Finally, fold the mixture through the flour with a rubber spatula until just combined, scraping down the sides to ensure an even distribution. Pour the results into the prepared tin and bake for about 40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean, and allow to cool completely.

Whip the double cream, adding the icing sugar and half of the elderflower cordial as soon as you see soft peaks. Continue to whip until firm peaks appear and then fold the raspberries through with a metal spoon.

To assemble the cake, cut the sponge into three discs. Brush each with the remaining elderflower cordial and then layer with the whipped cream and raspberries. Work the modelling chocolate in your hands until soft and then roll it out into a circle for the top of the cake and long rect-angles to drape around the sides.

Use a pastry brush to cover the entire cake with the ‘glue’-apricot jam that’s been briefly heated (you can do this in a microwave) –– and position the white circle on top. Add the white chocolate to the sides of the cake, folding and overlapping as you go. Decorate with elderflowers and serve.

Add Champagne (or sparkling wine) to elderflower cordial and whisk in soaked gelatin leaves. Pour into individual glasses and refrigerate for half an hour. Add raspberries and refrigerate again to set completely, for about four hours. To serve, top with whipped cream and grated white chocolate.

More ways with elderflower

JUN 12 GARDEN KITCHEN.inddElderflower Bellini jellies (left)
Add Champagne (or sparkling wine) to elderflower cordial and whisk in soaked gelatin leaves. Pour into individual glasses and refrigerate for half an hour. Add raspberries and refrigerate again to set completely, for about four hours. To serve, top with whipped cream and grated white chocolate.

Elderflower macarons
Use a basic macaron recipe and food colouring to make them a soft shade of green. Once baked, add elderflower cordial to butter-cream and use as a filling to sandwich the discs together.

Summer fools
Add elderflower cordial to gooseberries and cook until soft. Stir half the berries through a half-and-half combination of gently whipped cream and mascarpone. To serve, divide the remaining gooseberries between glasses and top with the whipped cream.