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Lemon Elderflower Cake

Lemon Cake

I was inspired by a royal wedding to make a lemon elderflower cake. Elderflower is not a flavor I was familiar with–but it is popular in England, and I was excited to try something new. After making the cake with just the elderflower flavor, I discovered that it pairs nicely with lemon. So I made another cake, this time with lemon flavor, and put the elderflower flavor in the buttercream.

Elderflower-Lemon Buttercream

I tried making the buttercream two ways. The first version had just elderflower and vanilla as the flavorings. The elderflower buttercream mellowed after a day or two and was better than when first made. But I thought it could be better so I created a second buttercream.

The second version of buttercream had both elderflower and lemon flavors. I liked these two flavors together and decided to use this buttercream on the lemon cake.

Cake Size

This recipe will make two 8-eight cake layers or three 6-inch layers. You can also make 24 cupcakes from this recipe.

Have the Ingredients at Room Temperature

To ensure that the cake bakes properly have the cold ingredients at room temperature. This includes buttermilk, sour cream, lemon juice, and eggs. Room temperature ingredients make the cake layers bake evenly in the time listed in the recipe.

Sift the Dry Ingredients

You do not need a mixer to make this cake because all the ingredients are stirred together. However, you will need to sift the dry ingredients to break up any clumps before they go into the wet ingredients. Use an old-fashioned sifter or a wire mesh strainer to sift. If using a mesh strainer, place the dry ingredients into it and use a small whisk or large spoon to stir the ingredients until they all are sifted through the strainer.

Sifting the dry ingredients keeps lumps out of the batter and also means you don’t have to stir the batter very much which will produce a tender cake. Over stirring causes gluten to form and will make a chewy cake instead of a light and airy one.

Layer Cake Baking Tip

Layer cakes can sometimes stick to the pans and tear when you try to get them out. Fortunately, there is a way to prevent this with parchment paper.

  1. Grease and flour the pans as you normally would.
  2. Cut circles out of parchment paper and fit them in the bottom of the pans. Cut them a little smaller than the pan bottom so they don’t overlap with the sides of the pans. (You can also buy precut parchment circles.)
  3. Grease and flour the parchment circles.
  4. Pour the cake batter into the pans.

These circles help the cake come out of the pans without tearing. Once you flip the cakes out of the pans, just peel off the parchment paper and discard.

Layers Bake Quickly

These cake layers will bake quickly so be ready to check them with a toothpick as soon as the timer goes off. Also, be sure not to overbake them so they will be light, airy, and delicious! Enjoy!

Print Recipe
Lemon Elderflower Cake
Layer cake with elderflower and lemon
Votes: 3
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
Ingredients
Cake Ingredients
Frosting Ingredients
Decorations
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
Ingredients
Cake Ingredients
Frosting Ingredients
Decorations
Votes: 3
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Cake Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour (3) 8-inch cake pans. Cut parchment paper circles and place them in the bottom of the prepared pans. Grease and flour parchment circles.
  2. Sift together the flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a mixer bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between additions.
  4. In a large measuring cup, stir together the milk, half and half, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. Set aside.
  5. Add dry ingredients a little at a time, alternating with milk mixture. Scrape down the bowl.
  6. Stir in sour cream until mixed well.
  7. Divide the batter between the cake pans. Bake on the center rack for 30-35 minutes. Use a toothpick to check for doneness and add additional minutes until toothpick comes out clean or with crumbs.
  8. After baking, let cakes cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and flip onto a cooling rack. Remove the parchment paper circles and cool completely.
Frosting Instructions
  1. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter until smooth.
  2. Sift sugar and salt together and then add it to butter one cup at a time and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
  3. Add the elderflower liqueur and vanilla extract and beat until thoroughly mixed for about 5 minutes.
  4. Frost each layer, taking time to smooth the frosting as you go. Using the piping bag and star tip, pipe buttercream stars around the bottom of cake.
Decorations
  1. Wash and dry edible flowers and set aside.
  2. Cut lemon slices and set aside.
  3. Cut flower stems to desired length. I found that shorter stems work best.
  4. Heat chocolate chips in a microwave bowl for 30-second intervals until melted. Dip flower stems in chocolate to seal stems and let dry. An alternative method is to dip flower stems in leftover frosting to seal the ends.
  5. Place flowers and lemon slices on cake in desired arrangement.
Recipe Notes

This recipe was updated on February 16, 2019.  There was a change in the amount of baking powder from 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon. If you like lemon flavor in the buttercream, use 2 tablespoons of elderflower liqueur and 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice instead of 1/4 cup of elderflower liqueur. This recipe is not recommended for a single-layer cake.  For best results, use the recommended 8-inch pans. This recipe is adapted from Country Cleaver.

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