A delightful elderflower cake full of all the flavours of summer

Melanie Johnson's latest offering combines berries, rhubarb and elderflower into a delicious teatime treat.

Depending on the weather, elderflower can be picked during late May and June. It’s at its best when the sun has been on it for an hour or two and the flowers are dry. An easy way to remember is that it’s time to pick when Wimbledon begins. Our easy elderflower cordial recipe is a store cupboard essential, and can be drunk alone or used to flavour dishes like this wonderful cake from Melanie Johnson’s delicious collection. Enjoy with tea!


for the cake:

  • 175g butter, softened
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tspn vanilla-bean paste
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 50 g ground almonds
  • 150g prepared rhubarb, cut into 2 cm chunks
  • 100g frozen raspberries

For the filling:

  • 400ml double cream
  • 2tbspn elderflower cordial

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Be sure to keep a few fresh raspberries and elderflower heads to decorate.


Preheat your oven to 180˚C/350˚F/gas mark 4. Grease two 20cm (8in) round loose-bottomed cake tins and line the bases with baking parchment.

In a bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating in between each addition, together with the vanilla-bean paste. Tip in the self-raising flour and ground almonds and mix until just combined. Finally, fold in the rhubarb and frozen raspberries, before spooning the mixture into the prepared tins. Bake for about 45–50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Once baked, remove both halves of the cake from their tins and invert them onto a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile, softly whip the double cream and add the elderflower cordial.

When the cake is cold, place one half onto a serving plate and spread with the elderflower cream. Place the other half of the cake on top and cover with the remaining cream – or pipe it prettily onto the top in a pattern of your choosing. Decorate with elderflowers and a few raspberries.

Elderflower cordial recipe

Elderflower cordial is one of the most rewarding and easiest things to make. Grab a basket and get picking.

How to make elderflower cordial and wine

The English summer is thought to start when the elder blossoms and ends when the berries ripen. Country Life recommends