Elderflower syrup is the ultimate taste of spring... especially when drizzled over a cake!
Elderflower syrup cake
HOMEMADE ELDERFLOWER SYRUP has a reputation for its delicate, floral flavour. Its almost-vanilla flavour is loved by foodies, who add it to everything from cordials to pancakes and desserts.
But gardeners are divided on elders due to their weedy tendencies. They are not such a problem in the North Island, but in the South these suckering, shrubby trees grow wild, and are forever spreading due to their seed-laden berries beloved by birds. Which does mean that South Island foodies could probably forage for the flowers essential to make this charming cake (although do confirm any flowers you find have not been sprayed before using).
Ingredients for elderflower syrup • 20 elderflower blossoms (trim off branches and leaves) • 3-4 lemons • 2 litres of water • 1.5kg sugar Ingredients for cake • 100g brown sugar • 200g butter (softened) • 2 eggs • 200g self-raising flour Ingredients for icing • 1½ cups icing sugar • 1 tablespoon milk or water • 25g butter (softened)
To make the syrup: Combine lemon juice and water in a big pot. Put in elderflower blossoms, then cover. Leave in the fridge for 2-3 days. Strain and discard blossoms. Over low heat, stir in sugar until dissolved.
To make the cake: Preheat oven to 170°C. Whisk together butter and sugar. Whisk the eggs with 2 tablespoons of elderflower syrup, then add to the butter-sugar mix. Gently fold in the flour, and stir until smooth.
Pour the mix into a well-greased cake tin. If you have an extra sweet tooth, sprinkle the top with a little more brown sugar. Put it in the oven for 30 minutes, or until a knife or skewer stuck into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Drizzle more elderflower syrup over the cake while still hot.
To make the icing: Using a wooden spoon, mix all ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth. You can add extra milk or water for a glossier shine.