Elderflower Lime Cake

by meike peters

Elderflower Lime Cake

Whenever I ride around the city on my bike at the moment I feel wrapped in the sweetest smelling cloud of elderflower, black locust (acacia), and chestnut flowers. I don’t know if it’s me – maybe I’m more sensitive this year – but as soon as I open my kitchen window in the morning until I close it at night, I’m mesmerized by the smell of early summer.

A week ago, we went on one of our Saturday escapes to the countryside. This time we chose Beelitz, outside Berlin, to spend a day far from noise and distraction. I wrote about this area two years ago, it’s a picturesque village surrounded by fields and dense woods and it’s famous for Germany’s best asparagus (you can see the pictures here). Last time we went a little earlier, in May, the asparagus fields were still covered in foil (white asparagus grows in the dark), but now, in June, the scene looks completely different. What used to grow under ground is now a filigree green plant blowing in a gentle breeze. White asparagus season in the forest of Beelitz is over.

After our 2 hour bike ride through forest and fields we deserved a break and enjoyed tender asparagus with Hollandaise sauce at a secluded restaurant, called Landgasthof Rieben. We chatted with the owner and learned that you can only grow asparagus on the same field for 7 years, then it needs a break, also for 7 years. The magic number.

One of the flowers that smell most captivating right now, are elderflowers and their season is almost over too. I love to use their sticky syrup for refreshing Hugo cocktails (you find the recipe in the link for the syrup), or to make caramelized onions or chicken taste even sweeter. But using it for baked sweets, is one of the best ways to enjoy elderflower on a Sunday afternoon. I baked a simple loaf cake intensely flavoured with lime, pricked the surface, and poured a wonderfully fragrant syrup made of lime juice and elderflower over the warm cake. Sometimes, these simple cakes are the best!

Elderflower Lime Cake


Elderflower Lime Cake

Elderflower Lime Cake

Serves 4 to 6

For the cake

plain flour 210 g / 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons
cornstarch 70 g / 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons
baking powder 3 teaspoons
fine sea salt 1/4 teaspoon
butter, at room temperature, 180g / 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon
granulated sugar 180g / 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
organic eggs 3
freshly grated lime zest 2 tablespoons
freshly squeezed lime juice 3 tablespoons
buttermilk 90ml / 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon

For the syrup

elderflower syrup 100ml / 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon
freshly squeezed lime juice 3 tablespoons

For the topping

a few elderflowers (optional)

Preheat the oven to 160°C / 325°F (preferably convection setting). Butter a 23 x 10 cm / 9 x 4-inch loaf pan.

For the cake, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. In a second large bowl, beat the butter and sugar for a few minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, incorporating each egg before adding the next one, and beat for 2 to 3 minutes or until light and creamy. Add the lime zest and juice and beat for 1 minute. With a wooden spoon, fold about 1/3 of the flour mixture gently into the batter, followed by 1/3 of the buttermilk. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture and buttermilk, folding just until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes (slightly longer if using a conventional oven) or until golden on top. If you insert a skewer in the center of the cake, it should come out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for a few minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack.

For the syrup, in a small saucepan, bring the elderflower syrup and lime juice to the boil and cook for 1 minute over high heat.

Prick the warm cake all over with a skewer and slowly pour the elderflower-lime syrup over the top. Decorate with elderflowers just before serving.

Elderflower Lime Cake


Elderflower Lime Cake