Elderflower & lemon celebration cake served on a cake stand and decorated with fresh flowers

Lemon & elderflower celebration cake

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(45 ratings)

Prep: 45 mins Cook: 40 mins

More effort

Serves 15-18

Decorate this simple elderflower and lemon cake with edible flowers for a showstopping celebration dessert. It's perfect for a wedding or birthday

Nutrition and extra info

  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: Per serving (18)

  • kcal715
  • fat38g
  • saturates24g
  • carbs86g
  • sugars67g
  • fibre1g
  • protein6g
  • salt1.13g
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  • oil, for greasing
  • 6 medium eggs



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…

  • 100g natural yoghurt
  • 50ml milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a 'complete' food…

  • 450g butter, softened



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 450g golden caster sugar
  • 450g self-raising flour
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus juice



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • 3 tbsp elderflower cordial

For the icing

  • 250g butter, softened



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 300g full fat cream cheese
  • 700g icing sugar
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • fresh flowers to decorate


  1. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Grease and line the base and sides of 3 x 20cm cake tins with baking parchment. In a jug, whisk the eggs, yogurt and milk. Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, using an electric hand whisk. When you have a light and fluffy mixture, add the flour, the liquid in the jug and the lemon zest. Mix again until smooth. Divide the cake mixture between the tins, level the surfaces and bake for 40 mins.

  2. Mix the lemon juice and elderflower cordial. When the cakes are cooked, poke all over the surface with a cocktail stick then spoon the lemon and elderflower syrup over the cakes. Leave to cool in the tins. Once cool, you can wrap in cling film and keep for 3 days before icing.

  3. To make the icing, beat the butter until smooth with an electric hand whisk. Add half the icing sugar, use a spatula to mash the mixture together (this will help to prevent an icing sugar cloud) then whisk again. Add the remaining icing sugar, cream cheese and lemon zest, mash again, then whisk again until smooth.

  4. Stack the cakes on a cake stand with plenty of icing between each layer. Pile most of the remaining icing on top, then use a palette knife to spread it across the top and down the sides, covering the cake in swirls (don’t worry about it looking too perfect). Add the final bit of icing to the top and use it to cover any patches where the cake is poking through. Decorate with fresh flowers. 

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Comments, questions and tips

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3rd Jun, 2020
Made this today. I halved the quantities as didn't need such a large cake. The cake tasted nice but not amazing. It's a bit rich and I think the quantities of sugar in the recipe are way too high. I reduced the sugar in the cake a little and also left out approx. one third of the icing sugar from the icing and the icing was still a little too sweet. It was also not thick enough for the perfect consistency, perhaps because I added less sugar, but this seems to have been the case for some other reviewers too (I did use full fat cream cheese). There was also far too much icing. I chose not to ice the sides of the cake but there still would have been too much. Not planning to use this recipe again.
28th Mar, 2020
Made this for my dad's birthay for 10 people (obviously we had a lot left over) and it was absolutely delicious!!! I decorated it differently as he is not the flowery type but that's another thing I love about this cake, it can be decorated in any way. I agree with some comments that you couldn't really taste the elderflower but it made the cake so moist and fluffy. I got numerous compliments for the cake and had to send the recipe to many people. I would definitely bake this again!!!
Hare123's picture
28th Sep, 2019
Can receive and read easy to make. Always impresses when I make it. I used this recipe to fundraise for McMillan coffee morning to great effect. Sold out in 15 mins. Mission accomplished for a good cause. Thank you x
22nd Jul, 2019
Hello, could these sponges be baked in advance and frozen?
26th Jun, 2019
My comment should read 3 x 3-tier. Fed 80 people
26th Jun, 2019
I made this cake for my twin sisters' special birthday; a total of 11 sponges (2 x 3-tier and 1 x 2-tier). It is very easy to make (particularly if you refrigerate the icing beforehand) and completely delicious! Must use full fat cream cheese but I used marg instead of butter in the cake itself and it was lovely. AGA USERS: 2 pans on 3rd shelf Baking Oven for 45 minutes, then move 3rd pan from floor of Baking Oven (with shelf on floor) to 3rd shelf for additional 10 - 15 minutes until cocktail stick removes clean.
4th Jun, 2019
Made this cake for a friends 30th and it turned out great! I would say make sure you use full fat good quality cream cheese to prevent icing being runny, and make sure you chill the cakes as it makes things a lot easier. I had no problems with this one though, it was lovely!
12th Apr, 2019
This worked out incredibly well for my Mum's birthday. I made the sponges on Friday night, cling filmed then served Sunday lunchtime and they was still beautifully moist. Based on other feedback and taste, I added another tbsp of cordial to the syrup and for the icing, only 600g icing sugar plus zest of 2 lemmons not 1. (Left icing in the fridge for a couple of hours before icing cake). It was absolutely perfect and icing not too sickly. Everyone loved it including the kids
Heather Fleming's picture
Heather Fleming
3rd Feb, 2019
I make this for a local charity coffee shop and it’s always the first cake to sell out. Make sure you use full fat Philadelphia to get a decent icing and I always slurp in extra cordial in to get the elderflower flavour.
Priyanka Prajapati's picture
Priyanka Prajapati
31st Oct, 2018
I made only one layer, and I agree that the elderflower flavour barely came through. However, everyone loved the cake, with compliments pouring in even after people left the party. I did reduce the sugar in the cake by 1/3rd (used only 2/3rd), and used half the amount of sugar in the icing (in laws prefer mild sweetness), and chilled the icing before using it on the cake.


Nandula Karunasingha's picture
Nandula Karunasingha
27th Aug, 2019
One more question. Are there any good substitutes for Elderflower Cordial? Also, it beats the purpose but would it be fine if I just use lemon juice?
goodfoodteam's picture
31st Aug, 2019
Thanks for your question. If replacing the elderflower cordial, we would suggest using a sugar syrup as plain juice will be be soggy and too concentrated. If you'd like a lemony one, try the one in this recipe: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4576/wedding-cake-zingy-lemon
Nandula Karunasingha's picture
Nandula Karunasingha
26th Aug, 2019
Should we use plain yoghurt or sweetened yoghurt?
goodfoodteam's picture
26th Aug, 2019
Thanks for your question. We recommend using plain yogurt, there will be plenty of sweetness from the sugar, cordial and icing.
10th May, 2019
Can you freeze the icing for this cake?
goodfoodteam's picture
11th May, 2019
Thanks for your question. For best results, we'd suggest freezing the sponges and then frosting once defrosted. However, if you have leftovers you can freeze them.
25th Jun, 2018
I would like to use this lovely recipe for a couple of iced celebration cakes, as the flavours bang on trend. How would you suggest I alter it to make sure it will hold its shape for icing, or should I keep to my usual recipe of lemon and white chocolate. Can you freeze it too? Linda
goodfoodteam's picture
28th Jun, 2018
Thanks for your question. We're happy you like the sound of it! You can ice the cake if you like and it's also possible to freeze the sponges before icing.
31st May, 2018
Could you tell me the amount of ingredients for a 10 inch round cake
goodfoodteam's picture
5th Jun, 2018
Thanks for your question. Unfortunately, without testing we are unable to give exact quantities for adapting the recipe.


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