Lemon & Elderflower Tea Cake


I could pretend to be nonchalant about the whole thing or just come out and admit that I have a fervent obsession with the Royal family. I definitely have my favorite members (The Queen, obviously) and some I’m not so crazy about (young Prince Charles was a tool) but I think William and Harry rank pretty high up, for most people, probably because they are their mother’s legacy and they seem pretty humanized as far as royals go. So when it was announced last year that Harry was going to marry Meghan Markle, I was kind of embarrassingly happy for two people I’ll never meet.


I think my excitement about this wedding has less to do with Meghan and Harry as a couple and more about getting to experience the pomp and circumstance of a Royal wedding. I wasn’t alive when Prince Charles and Diana were married and my royal-obsession had not yet reached clinical levels when William and Kate were married so this will be my first time watching one and I intend to do so live. Since I (tragically) don’t live in the UK that either means I need to stay up incredibly late with the company of wine or get up incredibly early with the aid of tea.


Tea may be the better choice as it better complements this cake (though I don’t discriminate against cake + wine, unless it’s store-bought funfetti cake and boxed rosé which I can tell you from experience is a horrible mistake).


I drew on a lot of different influences to make this little snacking cake. The first is the classic pound cake, berries, and whipped cream because it’s one of my all-time favorites. Secondly, the traditionally English Victoria Sponge because it’s sandwiched with a layer of jam in the middle. And lastly, and most importantly, I borrowed flavors from Harry and Meghan’s reported Lemon & Elderflower wedding cake. It all comes together, topped with a Union Jack, of course, to celebrate the union of literally the cutest couple in the world.


Okay, I really need to get back to my royal documentary binge so I’ll say bye for now. Happy wedding watching!!!


Lemon & Elderflower Tea Cake

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

First things first, here’s the layer order (from top to bottom):

Union Jack Berries

Mascarpone Whipped Cream Frosting

Punchy Lemon Cake (layer 2), soaked in Elderflower Simple Syrup

Strawberry Frosting

Punchy Lemon Cake (layer 1), soaked in Elderflower Simple Syrup

Lemon Cake* (makes one 8-inch round)

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • zest of 3 lemons
  • 1.5 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 tbs. lemon juice, about 1 lemon
  • 6 tbs. buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease & flour pan and line bottom with parchment paper. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add lemon zest and eggs. In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, mix lemon juice, buttermilk, and vanilla. Alternate adding dry and wet ingredients until just combined. Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

While cake is cooling slightly, make elderflower syrup.

Elderflower Syrup

  • 2 tbs. Elderflower Liqueur (I used St. Germain)
  • 2 tbs. lemon juice
  • 2 tbs. sugar
  • 2 tbs. water

Heat everything together in a small saucepan until sugar is fully dissolved (this should only take a few minutes).

When cake still has some warmth but is cool enough to handle, cut cake horizontally in two. The best way to do this is to use a long serrated knife and go around the outside and cut it slightly at the halfway point between top and bottom. Then, using this marker, guide the knife through the center of the cake. Use a pastry brush to brush the tops of both layers with the syrup (you may not use all of the syrup, I had about a tablespoon left after I decided it was adequately soaked). Let cake cool the rest of the way while you make the frosting.

Mascarpone Whipped Cream

  • 8 oz. mascarpone cheese
  • 3 tbs. whipping cream
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs. strawberry jam
  • 1 1/4 tsp. Elderflower Liqueur (I used St. Germain)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip mascarpone and cream at a high speed until the mixture looks like a thick whipped cream. Gradually add powdered sugar, then add vanilla. Divide the frosting into two bowls. In one bowl add strawberry jam. In the other add Elderflower Liqueur.

Assemble according to the layer list (above).

*Lemon Cake proportions from Barefoot Contessa Parties!




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