If there’s one thing you need to know about me, it’s that I LOVE the Royal family. I can’t explain it, but one of my biggest regrets in life was moving house on the day of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding; we made it to our new house in time to plug in the TV for the balcony kiss, but I watched the remainder of the day on catch-up. No waving Union Jacks, no street parties, no elderflower and lemon cake: just me, a million boxes and enough brown tape to sink a ship. Festive it was not.
But this time, for Harry and my favourite Meghan Markle’s wedding, I’m starting over. Not content with following a million and one Meghan fan accounts on Twitter (I mean, why wouldn’t you?!) I’ve also, in partnership with the kitchen gods at Salter, created my very own Royal Wedding Cake.
Salter is a brand I’ve used in the kitchen for years: each and every set of scales I’ve had have been made by them, and their app-based thermometer is genius (I use it regularly for my world famous slow roast rare beef).
I worked with the best baker I know – my dad – to make this masterpiece of an Elderflower and Lemon Cake. As elderflowers aren’t quite in season right now we used cordial (my favourite is Belvoir) to flavour it, with the addition of fresh lemon for tang. For an extra-special kick we included Limoncello and, though it’s not necessary taste-wise, I really think it elevates this cake to something very lovely.
Drizzles are an excellent way to make an extra-moist cake, and this one is no exception; the drizzle in this recipe delivers additional flavour and shouldn’t be skipped. And after icing, I decorated the cake really simply by making a small posy out of fresh roses and carnations as well as some greenery from Hobbycraft, before scattering some small purple flowers (non edible so remove before you eat!) out of the garden over the cake and plate.
This version might be slightly more modest than Harry and Meghan’s cake, but I think it’s just as beautiful (and it won’t set you back 50 grand, either). Enjoy with a cup of tea, or – oh, go on then – a glass of champagne. Cheers!
To help in your Elderflower and Lemon Cake baking, Salter asked me to come up with a few essential Bake Off-style tips. I spoke to my dad – who is a Paul, if not a Paul Hollywood – and we came up with these:
Elderflower and Lemon Cake
- 240 grams butter, softened Plus a little more to grease the pans
- 240 grams white caster sugar
- 1 zest unwaxed lemon
- 4 medium free range eggs
- 240 grams self-raising flour
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 60 ml undiluted elderflower cordial (I love Belvoir)
Drizzle for the cake
- 1/2 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 60 ml elderflower cordial, undiluted
- 2 tbsp caster sugar preferably golden but you can use white
- 60 ml limoncello if you don't have limoncello, make up the volume with extra elderflower cordial
- 250 grams unsalted butter room temperature
- 200 grams marscarpone cheese room temperature
- 70 ml double cream room temperature
- 250-400 grams sifted icing sugar depending on how sweet you like your icing
- 2-3 tbsp elderflower cordial or leftover drizzle
Heat the oven to 180c/fan 160c/gas 4. Grease and line two 8 inch, deep cake tins.
Beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest together until light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten egg, a little at a time, beating well in between each addition.
Gently fold in the sifted flour and salt, adding enough undiluted cordial (up to 60ml) to create a dropping consistency ( the mixture should drop off a spoon when lightly tapped).
Divide the mixture between the two tins (weigh each tin to easily judge roughly the same amount of mix). Place the tins on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Don't be tempted to open the door while they're cooking, but after 20 minutes do look through the door to check them.
- The cakes are done when they’re golden-brown and coming away from the edge of the tins. Press them gently to check – they should be springy to the touch. Remove them from the oven and set aside to cool in their tins for five to ten minutes.
- Remove them from their tins and set aside to cool completely on a wire rack.
- While the cakes are cooling make the lemon & elderflower syrup by combining the (120ml) undiluted elderflower cordial/limoncello, lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan. Gently heat until the sugar has dissolved. Taste and adjust flavouring according to your taste (adding more cordial or limoncello). I used 60ml Cordial and 60ml of limoncello.
Using a pastry brush, spread the elderflower and lemon syrup on each cake layer.
Make the buttercream icing by whisking in the bowl of a stand mixer the butter, mascarpone, double cream and icing sugar together until thick and smooth.
Meanwhile, sift your icing sugar.
With the mixer running on medium speed, add your icing sugar 20g (2 tbs) at a time until you have incorporated 250g of it. Stop the mixer, scrape down the bowl, and taste your buttercream. Continue adding sugar slowly until it is at the sweetness you prefer. More sugar will create a more stiff buttercream, but it will still hold its shape well with only 250g of sugar. Add the elderflower cordial or spare drizzle and mix to taste.
- Place the base of one of the cakes on a plate or cake stand and spread with mascarpone icing.
- Add the next layer top side down.
- If you like the 'naked' look thinly spread the rest of the icing on sides of the cake and then add on the top making a thicker layer.
Huge thanks to Salter for working with MTT