lemon elderflower drizzle cake

29 May 2022

A few years ago influenced by Harry and Meghan's lemon and elderflower wedding cake, I bought a bottle of elderflower cordial. 
The only trouble was I wasn't sure how to use it so the bottle stayed unopened until now. I did a hunt online and found a few cake recipes which paired elderflower with lemon so I decided to make a lemon and elderflower drizzle cake.

added a few spoons of elderflower cordial to my favourite lemon cake recipe; drizzled the cake with a lemon syrup after baking then topped the cake with a lemon and elderflower flavoured icing. To make it look a little more festive I candied some lemon rind and toped the cake with a few strands.

Here’s the recipe for you which makes a small loaf or a 17cm cake. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Lemon Elderflower Drizzle Cake
Candied lemon rind (optional but you’ll need to make the candied rind the day before baking the cake to allow the rind time to set).
1 lemon, washed
30g caster sugar (1 and 1/2 tbs)
30 mls water 
(1 and 1/2 tbs)

125g unsalted butter, softened
100g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 lemon, zested and juiced 
2 large eggs
100g self-raising flour
Pinch of salt 
½ tsp baking powder
50g almond meal 
30mls elderflower cordial

1 tbs caster sugar
30mls lemon juice

1 tsp melted butter
½ cup (75g) sifted icing sugar
1-2 tsp each lemon juice and elderflower cordial

Candied Lemon Rind
Remove the zest from the lemon in wide strips, making sure there is none of the bitter white pith attached. Slice into very fine strips then drop the strips into a saucepan of boiling water and leave them for 30 seconds before draining in a sieve.

Place sugar and water into a small saucepan. Heat over high heat, stirring all the while until the sugar has dissolved. As soon as it has, stop stirring and bring the mixture to the boil. Tip in the drained lemon strips and reduce the heat to low so the syrup bubbles gently. Cook the zest strips for 10 minutes, then remove the saucepan from the heat and leave the strips to cool in the syrup. Once cool, drain the strips through the sieve again. 

When the zest is well drained, tip some caster sugar onto a plate and toss the strips of zest so they’re coated in the sugar. Lay them onto a sheet of baking paper to set - they don't become brittle but remain pliable. Use them as you need them and store any leftover strips in a small airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Preheat the oven at 180°C, conventional. Grease, flour and line 
the base of a 17cm round tin with baking paper or grease and line a small loaf tin with a sling of baking paper.

To make the cake, combine the butter, vanilla, lemon rind and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Now sift together the flour, salt and baking powder into a small bowl then stir in the almond meal. Fold through the batter alternating with the cordial (don’t worry if the mixture looks like it’s curdling a little). If the batter is looking a little dry you can add a little lemon juice or reserved lemon syrup from candying the rind to the mixture.

Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared tin. Bake for about 45 minutes until risen and golden. Insert a metal skewer into the cake to see if it is ready. If it comes out clean, the cake is done; if it has mixture sticking to it, then it needs a few minutes longer. Remove the cake from the oven and set aside.

Right towards the end of the cake’s cooking time, combine the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan and bring just to simmer, cooking until the sugar has dissolved. Spike the top of the still warm cake then spoon over the lemon and sugar mixture. Leave to cool completely before icing.

In a small bowl combine all the ingredients to make a smooth thick icing. Top the cake with the icing allowing it to drip down the sides. Allow to set a little before topping with a few strands of candied lemon rind.

I took the cake into work for morning tea and it was declared 'delicious' and it was. It's a nice moist simple cake, gently perfumed with lemon and elderflower, one I'll definitely be making again.

See you all again next week. 

Bye for now,



chocolate berry birthday cake

18 May 2022

A dear friend recently celebrated her 40th birthday so naturally I made her a birthday cake. I decided to make a chocolate berry birthday cake inspired by Nadine Ingram's recipe for
Old Fashioned Vanilla Cake

The cake is filled with a mascarpone custard and a berry compote. I made most of the elements, including the cake layers, the day before I assembled it. Nadine suggests cooling the cakes, removing them from the tins and wrapping them snugly in plastic film to help preserve the moisture and flavour of the cakes. The cake layers need to be stored at room temperature not in the fridge or they'll dry out.

Here’s the recipe for you which makes an 8 inch double layer cake. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C. If you like, you can use 1/2 cup of berry jam instead of the compote but spread the jam over the cake first before topping it with the mascarpone custard. 

Chocolate berry birthday cake - makes a 2 layer 20cm cake
Pastry cream
125 mls milk
1 egg yolk
25g caster sugar
10g plain flour

Berry compote
200g frozen berries
55g caster sugar
Juice half an orange

185g very soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
185g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 eggs and 1 white, lightly beaten
160gm self-raising flour
30gm cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
3/4 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
60 ml milk

Mascarpone custard filling
100g mascarpone
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
200mls pure cream

To decorate
A few fresh berries

Pastry cream
Pour the milk into a saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until pale, then add the flour and whisk until well combined.
When the milk comes to the boil, reduce the heat to low. Remove 60 ml of the milk from the pan and pour it over the egg yolk mixture. This warms it a little in preparation for being added to the scalding milk. Give the yolk mixture a quick whisk, then pour it into the boiled milk (still over low heat), ensuring you scrape all the yolk from the bowl with a spatula. Stir with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula for 2 minutes or until the cream starts to thicken. As soon as it does, swap your spoon for a whisk and continue to cook the pastry cream for 1 minute longer to ensure the flour is completely cooked. The mixture should be quite thick. Remove from the heat and spread out the cream on a flat tray. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate until cold.

Berry compote 
Place all the compote ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure the berries don't catch on the base of the pan. The compote will thicken a little but the consistency you are looking for is not jam. You want to retain as many of the whole berries as possible so that when you cut the cake you will see the berries studded through the layers. Remove the compote from the heat and leave it to cool for a few hours. The compote can be made well in advance of when you want to assemble the cake and kept in the fridge for up to 5 days. You won’t need all the compote for this recipe and if you like you could use 1/2 cup berry jam instead.

Preheat the oven to 180°C, conventional. Grease two 20 cm-diameter cake tins, line with baking paper, then grease paper and dust with cocoa. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until pale and fluffy, about 7 minutes. Add egg, a little at a time and scraping down sides of bowl occasionally, until incorporated.

Meanwhile, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and sift twice. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with milk, until just combined. Turn off mixer, scrape down sides of bowl and the paddle, then beat on high for 2 seconds to aerate batter. Divide batter between tins and smooth tops. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate the cakes then reduce temperature to 170°C and bake until the centre of cakes spring back when lightly pressed (10-15 minutes). Remove the cakes from the oven and leave to cool completely in the tins.

Mascarpone custard filling
Place all the filling ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or use a hand whisk). Whisk for 1-2 minutes or until the creams are stiffly whipped, being careful not to over-whip them. 

Remove the pastry cream from the fridge and loosen it first with a spatula then add it to the bowl of whipped cream and whisk on low speed for just 20 seconds - you don't want to whisk the pastry cream for too long after it has been added to the whipped cream as it will destroy the fluffiness of the filling. This filling can be prepared the day before you want to assemble the cake and stored in the fridge.

To assemble 
Level the cakes if needed. Spread half the mascarpone custard filling over one of the layers then spoon the compote over the mascarpone. Place the other layer on top and spread with the remaining mascarpone then top with the berries. Store in the fridge then bring back to room temperature before serving.

Sorry I can't show you a slice of cake but the cake looked very festive topped with 4 candles, one for each decade and the custard filling was a big hit.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,



chocolate tahini babka

10 May 2022

Last year inspired by a Honey and Co recipe, I made a batch of
chocolate tahini buns and they were so good my neighbours are still talking about them. On Saturday I decided to turn the bun recipe into a babka.

The dough is really easy to put together so I made the dough in the morning; let it rest in the fridge for a few hours; shaped the babka in the afternoon; let the shaped babka rest in the fridge overnight before baking it on Sunday morning.

I shared it with my neighbours who were just as enthusiastic with the babka as they were with the chocolate tahini buns.

Here's the recipe if you'd like to give it a try which makes one large babka. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Chocolate Tahini Halva Babka inspired by a Honey and Co recipe
90g diced unsalted butter at room temperature
2 tsp dried yeast
1 egg
40g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla
100 - 125 mls milk
330g plain flour
A pinch of table salt

Place the butter, yeast, egg, sugar, vanilla and 100 mls of the milk in a large mixing bowl, then top with the flour and salt. Use the dough attachment on your mixer or your hands to bring it all together to a smooth, shiny dough, adding the remaining 20g/mls of milk if it looks dry. Don’t worry too much if you still have some whole flecks of butter running through the dough; they will make your final bun super-light.

Once the dough has a nice texture to it (after about 2–3 minutes with an electric mixer or 5–6 minutes working by hand), wrap the bowl in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours. You can leave it there for up to 12 hours, but not much longer or it will start to double in size.

½ cup chocolate tahini spread 
50g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
75g halva, crumbled
Sea salt flakes
1-2 tbs cream or milk 
2 tsp sesame seeds
1 batch base sugar syrup (recipe follows)

Place the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle of about 40cm x 30cm. Spread the tahini mixture over the dough, reaching right to the corners, then sprinkle with chocolate and halva and a sprinkling of sea salt. Roll up tightly from one of the longer sides, so that you end up with a 40cm-long log.

If the dough has softened too much for you to handle it, place on a tray and chill in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up. While you are waiting, butter a 1kg loaf tin and line the base and long sides with baking parchment, making sure that there is an overhang so that you will be able to lift the baked loaf out easily.

Use a pastry cutter or sharp knife to cut the log in half along its length to expose the layers. Place the halves with the cut sides facing upwards. Lift one halved log over the other so that they form a cross at their midpoints, with the filling layers still pointing upwards. Continue to twist the strands over each other until the dough looks like a lovely twisted plait.

Place in the lined baking tin and leave to prove in a warm place until the dough is fluffy, soft and doubled in size. This will take about 1 and 1⁄2 hours in a warm kitchen, or up to 2 hours if it is chilly.

Preheat the oven to 220°C conventional. Brush the surface of the babka with cream or milk then sprinkle the top of with the sesame seeds. Place the babka in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 190°C. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then turn the tin around for an even bake and leave for another 10 minutes. Bake for a further 10-15 minutes until the babka is well browned and cooked through. 
Remove the babka from the oven and immediately pour the sugar syrup all over the hot cake. You must let this cool in the tin or it will fall apart. 

Base sugar syrup
100g/mls water
100g granulated sugar
15 mls light corn syrup or honey

Place all the ingredients in a small pan and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil, skim off any foam that comes to the top and remove from the heat. If you are making a larger quantity (a litre or more), bring to the boil, skim and cook for 3–4 minutes, then allow to cool. You can make this syrup in advance — just keep it in a jar or bottle in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

The perfect morning tea, a slice of still warm babka served with a nice cup of tea. 

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen. 

Bye for now,


plum and toasted miso upside down cake

7 May 2022

I have a copy of Aran Goyoaga's book, Bakes Simple, even though I'm not a gluten free baker. As plums are still in the fruit shop I decided to adapt one of Aran's recipes from the book for a plum and toasted miso upside down cake. The recipe was made with buckwheat flour but I find buckwheat flour a bit too aggressive in flavour so I used plain flour instead.

I didn't have any miso in my kitchen so I bought a container which I now have to use, so expect to see quite a few miso flavoured desserts coming to the blog in the near future. Apart from toasting the miso this is a pretty straight forward mix in one bowl kind of cake. The plums make the cake very moist so leave the cake to cool for about 30 minutes before turning it out to prevent the plums sliding off the cooked cake - I'm speaking from experience here.

Here’s the recipe for you which makes an 8 inch cake. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Upside down plum and toasted miso cake - inspired by an Aran Goyoaga recipe
20g butter, melted
¼ cup brown sugar
450g small plums, halved and pitted

30mls white miso
55 mls full cream milk
135g light brown sugar
2 eggs
75g extra-virgin olive oil or sunflower oil
1½ tsp vanilla extract
100g plain flour
35g almond meal
½ tsp bicarb soda
pinch salt
Heavy cream, whipped, for serving

Preheat the oven to 180°C, conventional. 
Grease, flour then line the base of a 8 inch cake tin with baking paper. Spoon the melted butter into the base of the tin then top with the brown sugar. Carefully arrange the plums in a circular pattern over the brown sugar. Set aside.

Spread the miso thinly into a sauté pan; have the milk close by because you will need it right away. Cook the miso over medium-high heat until it begins to stick to the pan, stirring it around with a wooden spoon to toast it, 1 to 2 minutes. It will turn dark and smoky. Immediately pour in the milk and whisk it around to break down the miso just as you would to make a roux. It will thicken and become a dark paste. Scrape it into a medium bowl and let it cool for 5 minutes.

Whisk the brown sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla into the miso paste until smooth. Then whisk in the flour, almond meal, the bicarb soda and salt until you have a smooth batter. Pour it over the plums.

Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Run a knife close the edge of the pan to release the cake, then invert it onto a plate. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature with a bit of whipped cream. The cake will keep for a few days tightly wrapped in the refrigerator.

As Aran mentions in the book, even though the cake is made without butter it tastes just like butterscotch and was really popular at work. 
See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


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