Strawberry, Elderflower & Almond Layer Cake

Strawberry, elderflower and almond layer cakeI think this may be one of the prettiest cakes i have ever made…it is certainly a good deal more attractive than my last post! It is the perfect cake for spring, delicately flavoured with fragrant elderflower and sweet strawberries. I love elderflower, I remember when I was little helping my parents pick elderflowers to make wine; we had an elderflower tree in our garden and the scent was glorious; unfortunately now, living in inner Birmingham, elderflower trees are rather more difficult to find, and despite much searching while out dog walking I haven’t come across any.

strawberry, elderflower and almond cakeThe elderflower flavour in the cakes comes from elderflower cordial; I used some in the cake batter and then drizzled extra over the cakes when they came out of the oven, this not only gives them a beautiful flavour but also helps to keep the cakes wonderfully moist. The strength of elderflower cordial varies by brand, so check the bottle and make sure that it says to dilute it one part cordial to ten parts water or it wont be strong enough to give much flavour. I used Bottle Green brand, Belvoir is also good, but Blossom Cottage isn’t…

strawberry, elderflower & almond cake with roasted strawberry swiss meringue buttercreamI used ground almonds in the cakes which gives them a lovely texture and provides moisture; the delicate almond flavour also pairs perfectly with the elderflower drizzle and strawberry buttercream. One issue with making buttercream that is naturally flavoured with strawberry is that strawberries contain a lot of moisture, which can cause the buttercream to split. To help resolve this potential problem I roasted the strawberries to reduce the liquid and intensify the flavour; the addition of a little balsamic vinegar helps to heighten the flavour. I added the roasted strawberry puree to swiss meringue buttercream, which is wonderfully smooth and fluffy. I also made a roasted strawberry, white chocolate and elderflower ganache to pour over the top of the cake, I seriously could have drunk it, it was that good…I used a little pink gel food colouring in the ganache to intensify the colour a bit, but opted to leave the buttercream naturally pink.

elderflower, strawberry & almond layer cakeI decorated the top of the cake with sliced strawberries, but found that some moisture seeped out of them and made the ganache go a little gloopy, so I recommend either decorating it with whole, unsliced strawberries, or dipping the cut side in chocolate and allowing it to set before decorating, to create a barrier to stop the moisture from seeping out. My fiance declared this cake “in the top three I’ve ever made”, which, considering I’ve made a lot of cake, ranks it very highly! It certainly didn’t last long at the barbeque I took it to over the weekend…

strawberry, elderflower & almond cake with roasted strawberry swiss meringue buttercream & strawberry white chocolate ganache

Strawberry, Elderflower & Almond Layer Cake
 
Three layers of elderflower and almond cake, filled with roasted strawberry swiss meringue buttercream, topped with roasted strawberry, white chocolate and elderflower ganache. Serves 14
Author:
Ingredients
Cakes
  • 225g (2 sticks) butter
  • 225g (1 cup + 2tbsp) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 125g (1 cup + 1tbsp) self-raising flour
  • 175g (1 + ½ cups) ground almonds
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp almond extract
  • 3 tbsp elderflower cordial
  • 6 tbsp elderflower cordial for drizzling
Roasted Strawberries
  • 500g (18 oz) strawberries
  • 1½ tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Roasted Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 225g (1 cup + 2tbsp) caster sugar
  • 300g (1 + ¼ cups) butter, softened but not warm
  • 120ml (1/2 cup) roasted strawberry puree
Strawberry White Chocolate Elderflower Ganache
  • 65g (2 + ⅓ oz) sieved roasted strawberry puree
  • 75g (2 + ¾ oz) white chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tsp elderflower cordial
  • pink gel food colouring (optional)
  • extra strawberries for decorating
Instructions
To make the cakes
  1. Heat the oven to 170C/325F/gas mark 3. Grease three 15cm/6in round tins and line the bases with greaseproof paper.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, in a separate bowl mix together the flour, ground almonds and baking powder.
  3. Whisk the eggs into the butter mixture one at a time, adding a little of the flour mixture after each one. Fold in the remaining dry ingredients then mix in the vanilla and almond extracts and the 3 tbsp of elderflower cordial.
  4. Divide the mixture between the tins and bake for 25-30 minutes until risen and golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  5. When the cakes are baked, poke holes all over the surface with a toothpick and drizzle 2 tbsp of elderflower cordial over each one. Leave the cakes to cool in the tins.
To Make The Roasted Strawberries
  1. Heat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5. Hull the strawberries and slice them into halves (or quarters if they are large). Spread the strawberries out in a single layer in a roasting tin, sprinkle over the sugar and balsamic vinegar.
  2. Roast for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the strawberries have collapsed and shriveled and the juices have reduced to a thick syrup.
  3. Tip the strawberries and syrup into a blender and blitz to a smooth paste. Set aside until cold.
To Make The Roasted Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  1. Place the egg whites and sugar in a spotlessly clean heatproof bowl (the bowl of your stand mixer if you have one) and place the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, make sure that the base of the bowl doesn't touch the water.
  2. Gently whisk the eggs (with a hand whisk, not an electric one) until the sugar has dissolved, if you rub the mixture between your fingers it should feel smooth with no hint of graininess. It should measure 60C/140F on a thermometer.
  3. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk with an electric mixer/stand mixer on high until the egg whites have formed a stiff, glossy meringue and the mixture is completely cold, the base of the bowl should feel cool to the touch, this will take about 10 minutes.
  4. Turn the mixer down to low and gradually add the butter, a tablespoon at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition. The mixture may curdle or begin to look soupy, just keep on whisking and it will come back together.
  5. Once all of the butter has been incorporated and the buttercream is smooth and silky, measure out 120ml (1/2cup) of the cooled roasted strawberry puree. Mix it into the buttercream gradually, a spoonful at a time. The mixture shouldn't split, but if it does don't worry! Just place a couple of heaped tablespoons of the buttercream in a small bowl and microwave it until it has melted, then drizzle it back into the rest of the buttercream slowly while whisking on a high speed, after a couple of minutes of whisking it will come back together.
  6. Assemble
  7. Turn the cooled cakes out of their tins and place one layer on a cake stand or serving platter. Spread just over a quarter of the buttercream over the cake and top with another layer, pressing down on it gently; spread over just over another quarter of the buttercream and top with the final cake layer. Place the cake upside down so that you get a flat top; spread most of the remaining remaining buttercream on the top of the cake, spreading it flat, then use the rest of the buttercream to fill in any gaps around the edges and to coat the whole cake in a crumb coat.
  8. Place the cake in the fridge for about 30 minutes then use a palette knife dipped in hot water to smooth out the icing.
  9. Return the cake to the fridge while you make the ganache.
  10. Scrape the remaining roasted strawberry puree through a sieve to remove the pips and measure out 65g worth, place it in a small saucepan and bring it up to a simmer. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stir until smooth then add the elderflower cordial. Mix in a little pink gel food colouring if desired. Set aside until it has cooled but is still pourable.
  11. Pour the ganache into the centre of the cake and use a palette knife to tease it towards the edges so that it drips over; return the cake to the fridge for 30 minutes until the ganache has firmed a little (it doesn't set hard like regular ganache).
  12. Let the cake come up to room temperature and decorate the top of the cake with extra strawberries just before serving. If you use sliced strawberries to decorate, the moisture will seep out into the ganache and make it go a little melty - I suggest using whole ones, or if you want to decorate it as I did with strawberries standing on their ends, then I recommend dipping the sliced ends into melted chocolate and allowing it to set before decorating the cake, this will provide a barrier to stop the moisture from seeping out.
Notes
1. You will need three 15cm/6in round loose-bottomed cake tins.
2. You can bake the cakes and make the roasted strawberry puree the day before you want to decorate and serve the cake.

roasted strawberry, elderflower and almond layer cakestrawberry, elderflower & almond layer cake with strawberry, white chocolate & elderflower ganacheI am sharing this with Totally Talented Tuesdays, Create Link Inspire, Foodie Fridiy, Fiesta Friday, Foodie Friends Friday, Friday Favourites and Fabulous Foodie Fridays.
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61 Comments on Strawberry, Elderflower & Almond Layer Cake

  1. savorynothings
    May 8, 2015 at 8:46 am (2 years ago)

    I love elderflower and I have such fond childhood memories of my grandma making cordial! This cake is stunning, love your photography!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 13, 2015 at 8:20 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you! I wish I had an elderflower tree to make my own cordial… πŸ™

      Reply
  2. lucyparissi
    May 8, 2015 at 9:02 am (2 years ago)

    Beautiful cake Hannah – just so fresh and spring-perfect. Gorgeous styling as always – thanks for linking to #CookBlogShare

    Reply
  3. GFLife247
    May 8, 2015 at 1:14 pm (2 years ago)

    Your cake is stunning! I’m honestly drooling over here at my computer screen. I love the amount of strawberries present at Fiesta Friday this week too, so sweet! Happy FF, and have a fabulous weekend. πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 13, 2015 at 8:29 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you! I’ve been going mad for strawberries, it’s so nice to have them back in season! πŸ™‚

      Reply
  4. Julie is Hostess At Heart
    May 8, 2015 at 1:43 pm (2 years ago)

    This is just gorgeous! I can’t believe what a perfect slice you were able to cut too! What a pro.

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 13, 2015 at 8:30 am (2 years ago)

      Ha ha! Thank you πŸ™‚ I used a hot knife to get a clean cut

      Reply
  5. Jess
    May 8, 2015 at 2:28 pm (2 years ago)

    Oh my GOD. This cake is GORGEOUS. I just can’t get over the rich dark color of that ganace. Outstanding job!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 13, 2015 at 8:32 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you! The colour is *mostly* natural, I just used a little bit of food colouring to enhance it πŸ™‚

      Reply
  6. http://www.lapetitecasserole.com
    May 8, 2015 at 4:07 pm (2 years ago)

    This cake si stunning… but maybe stunning is not enough. And the pictures? Wow! I will pin one of your photos straight away!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 13, 2015 at 8:33 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you! πŸ™‚

      Reply
  7. skd
    May 8, 2015 at 6:42 pm (2 years ago)

    This cake is sheer poetry in disguise, a work of art…simply amazing..I can simply look at it without eating..mmm

    Reply
  8. J Seaton
    May 8, 2015 at 7:51 pm (2 years ago)

    Love the presentation of this cake! It looks crazy good.

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 13, 2015 at 10:02 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you πŸ™‚

      Reply
  9. cheyholzworth
    May 8, 2015 at 9:34 pm (2 years ago)

    Gorgeous cake and sounds amazingly delicious to boot! This would be perfect for Mother’s day… or just because I am craving a beautiful yummy cake! Love the flavors and the presentation is stellarβ™‘ Thank you for sharing! Cheers!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 13, 2015 at 10:02 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you! Yes it would be perfect for Mother’s day πŸ™‚

      Reply
  10. eatmunchlove
    May 9, 2015 at 5:14 am (2 years ago)

    I’m so jealous! It looks so gorgeous I wish I could be so talented with making cakes. THanks for bringing it to FF!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 13, 2015 at 10:03 am (2 years ago)

      It look me a long time to get it that neat! I spent over an hour doing the icing…

      Reply
  11. sarahgiebens
    May 9, 2015 at 7:17 am (2 years ago)

    This cake is gorgeous! I almost (I repeat, almost!) wouldn’t want to eat it because it’s so pretty!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 13, 2015 at 10:03 am (2 years ago)

      Ha ha! I was quite reluctant to slice it…

      Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 13, 2015 at 10:04 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you πŸ™‚

      Reply
  12. Jhuls
    May 9, 2015 at 2:25 pm (2 years ago)

    Wow!!! What an amazing cake – from the Almond layer to the roasted stawberries to the ganache. Just perfect! Happy FF! πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 13, 2015 at 10:04 am (2 years ago)

      Thanks Jhuls πŸ™‚

      Reply
  13. weebirdie
    May 9, 2015 at 9:28 pm (2 years ago)

    Such a beautiful cake!! and I am so impressed with all the layers you created. I love strawberry and elderflower, this sounds sooooo good!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 13, 2015 at 10:05 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you πŸ™‚ I’ve been feeling the need for something fresh and spring-like, this was perfect!

      Reply
  14. Hilda
    May 10, 2015 at 4:23 am (2 years ago)

    That is one beautiful cake – well done!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 13, 2015 at 10:05 am (2 years ago)

      Thanks Hilda πŸ™‚

      Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 13, 2015 at 10:06 am (2 years ago)

      It certainly did πŸ™‚

      Reply
  15. bakeplaysmile
    May 10, 2015 at 6:13 am (2 years ago)

    OH MY GOSH!!! This cake is absolutely stunning!!! You’ve totally outdone yourself! Thanks for linking up with our Fabulous Foodie Fridays party! xx

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 13, 2015 at 10:06 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you πŸ™‚ And thank you for hosting!

      Reply
  16. Janine
    May 10, 2015 at 6:34 am (2 years ago)

    Wow, this cake looks stunningly beautiful – great work!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 13, 2015 at 10:06 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you πŸ™‚

      Reply
  17. Corina
    May 10, 2015 at 1:23 pm (2 years ago)

    It looks incredible! If I made a cake like this it would take me all weekend! Thanks for the tip about roasting strawberries first if using them to flavour buttercream.

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 13, 2015 at 10:07 am (2 years ago)

      I did do it over two days…and spent over an hour icing it trying to get it smooth!

      Reply
  18. tentimestea
    May 11, 2015 at 4:30 am (2 years ago)

    This cake looks so incredibly marvellous! I love the sound of the roasted strawberries…roasting them to concentrate the juices is such a clever idea and I’d really like to try it now to see how they would taste! This cake sounds so rich and also so fresh and floral…!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 13, 2015 at 10:08 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you πŸ™‚ Roasting them really does intensify the flavour, I make a roasted strawberry ice cream with them which is amazing!

      Reply
  19. June Burns
    May 11, 2015 at 5:17 pm (2 years ago)

    Wow that looks incredible! I love the ganache you made, it looks and sounds amazing πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 13, 2015 at 10:09 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you πŸ™‚ I wasn’t sure how well a fruit ganache would work, but it turned out perfectly! And is sooo tasty!

      Reply
  20. Sarah James
    May 12, 2015 at 6:37 am (2 years ago)

    Wow, what a show stopper! I love elderflower & strawberries, thanks for the tips on roasting strawberries & using balsamic vinegar.
    Popping over from #RecipeOfTheWeek

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 13, 2015 at 10:10 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you πŸ™‚

      Reply
  21. Fionnuala
    May 12, 2015 at 9:51 am (2 years ago)

    My goodness, that is incredible! #tastytuesdays
    I’m off out to the garden to gather my elderflower now to make my own cordial.

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 13, 2015 at 10:10 am (2 years ago)

      Oooh I’m jealous! I want an elderflower tree!

      Reply
  22. Coombe Mill
    May 12, 2015 at 9:54 am (2 years ago)

    OMG this looks so stunning, if I made the cake I could never get the effect, 10 out of 10 to you and gorgeous sounding combination too. Photographs are excellent, well done all round! #TastyTuesdays

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 13, 2015 at 10:12 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you! I did spend a long time decorating it!

      Reply
  23. jensfood9
    May 12, 2015 at 10:13 pm (2 years ago)

    Oh my goodness this cake is fabulous. So beautiful, the red ganache is stunning. I was thinking about trying a Swiss meringue buttercream for the first time last week but saw so many different recipes online that I got confused and wimped out and just made my usual buttercream recipe with added raspberry juice. I’ll definitely be trying this with the roasted strawberries though. #RecipeoftheWeek

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 13, 2015 at 10:17 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you πŸ™‚ Swiss meringue buttercream is a bit daunting but it is sooo worth it! I recommend having a look at this tutorial as it’s got some helpful step by step photos: http://whisk-kid.com/2010/08/how-to-make-swiss-meringue-buttercream.html and just remember that even if it looks like it’s all gone wrong it is perfectly salvageable!

      Reply
  24. Christine @ Must Love Home
    May 13, 2015 at 6:22 pm (2 years ago)

    This looks excellent! You are really amazing!! You have been tweeted and posted to Facebook! Your post will be featured this week on the Friday Favorites Link Party at Mustlovehome.com. Come by and see your feature and share another of your favorite posts! The party goes live Thursday at 7PM. I hope to see your there…Hugs – Christine at Must Love Home

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 20, 2015 at 10:45 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much πŸ™‚

      Reply
  25. carolinescookingblog
    May 14, 2015 at 2:14 pm (2 years ago)

    Wow this looks absolutely amazing! I too have memories of picking elderflowers to make wine (I thought I was alone in that one!), sadly don’t ever see them in the US so might have to pick up some cordial next time I’m in the UK, both to drink and make this!

    Reply
  26. Jerri
    May 15, 2015 at 12:34 am (2 years ago)

    Oh my! This looks scrumptious! Thanks for linking up with me for Friday Favorites. I’m featuring you this week!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 20, 2015 at 10:47 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you very much! πŸ™‚

      Reply
  27. Johanne Lamarche
    May 15, 2015 at 12:31 pm (2 years ago)

    Mile high seduction! Love the roasting of the strawberries first to enhance their flavor and the almonds in the batter. Spectacularly gorgeous with the white chocolate ganache. Stunning photography.

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 20, 2015 at 10:48 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much πŸ™‚

      Reply
  28. spiceinthecity
    May 15, 2015 at 2:15 pm (2 years ago)

    Just gorgeous!! I am very lucky to have an elder tree in my backyard & I made my own elderflower cordial last year & loved baking with it

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 20, 2015 at 10:49 am (2 years ago)

      Oh I am jealous! I would love to have an elder tree

      Reply
  29. Honest Mum (@HonestMummy)
    May 15, 2015 at 6:29 pm (2 years ago)

    Dreamy, dreamy, another one that will go viral. I saw your other internet sensation on the Londoner’s pinterest board (whom I love) and was made up. You are so talented, the cooking and baking, the styling and of course the photography. Thanks for linking up to #tastytuesdays

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 20, 2015 at 12:25 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you Vicki, you are very kind, and have been a great help! πŸ™‚ x

      Reply
  30. Justine @ Born and Bred in Brooklyn
    May 18, 2015 at 9:53 pm (2 years ago)

    Wow, such a beautiful cake with amazing flavor combinations! I have never tasted elderflower before, but this cake makes me want to go out and find some. I wonder if it would work well with other flowers like hibiscus. Anyhow, truly gorgeous cake πŸ˜‰

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      May 20, 2015 at 5:43 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you πŸ™‚ Elderflower is a truly unique flavour, and utterly delicious! Well worth trying if you are able to find some. I’ve never tried hibiscus so I’m not sure on that one…

      Reply

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