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Elderflower and pistachio cake

Elderflower cake

This elderflower cake found its way into my kitchen on a rare sunny Mayday in London. Where I live in Hackney Elderflowers fill the bushes between late may and early June.

Most of all they are a flavour all of their own, heady, grassy and lemony and for a couple of month of the year they surround us. This cake though can be made year round with shop brought elderflower cordial. Instead of flour I use pistachios and polenta, which gives the cake a dense baklava feeling. You really need a food processor to grind the pistachios up, so if you don’t have one, use ground almonds instead.

One friend said she was going to name her firstborn after this cake. I am not sure there could be higher praise.

1hr - 1hr 15
1 Deep 20cm Cake
Elderflower cake


For the Cake

  • 125g butter, at room temperature
  • 125g Greek yoghurt
  • 250g unrefined light brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 250g pistachio nuts
  • 200g polenta
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 3 organic or free-range eggs
  • 150ml elderflower cordial

For the Elderflower Icing

  • 100g thick Greek yoghurt or cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons golden icing sugar or set honey
  • 1 tablespoon elderflower cordial
  • A handful of pistachio nuts, crushed
  1. Before you start

    Preheat your oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Grease and line the base of a 20cm springform cake tin.

  2. To make the cake

    Put the butter, yoghurt and sugar into a bowl and cream together until light and fluffy.

  3. Now blitz the pistachios to dust in a food processor – don’t blitz them too much, though, or they will turn to butter. Add the blitzed pistachios, polenta, baking powder and lemon zest and juice to the butter mixture and mix well. Then crack in the eggs, one by one, and mix in.

  4. Pour into the cake tin and bake for 45–50 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. Make a few holes in the warm cake with a skewer, then gently pour the elderflower cordial slowly over the cake, allowing it time to seep in. Leave the cake in the tin until cool enough to transfer to a cooling rack.

  5. To make the icing mix

    For the icing, mix the yoghurt, icing sugar or honey and elderflower cordial until smooth. Spread over the cooled cake and top with the pistachios.

Additional information


Wrap in greaseproof paper and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days
un-iced cake for up to 2 months.

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