Make your own royal wedding-worthy lemon elderflower cake

Nibble on this breakfast bundt as you watch in slippers as Meghan Markle and Prince Harry get married.

Nibble on this breakfast bundt as you watch the ceremony in slippers

This lemon and elderflower bundt cake will be a sweet treat for early morning wedding watchers. (Julie Van Rosendaal/CBC)

Elderflower is the flavour of the moment, as royal bride-to-be Meghan Markle chose lemon and elderflower for the cake to celebrate her marriage to Prince Harry.

Markle and the prince enlisted baker Claire Ptak, owner of Violet Bakery in London, to make their wedding cake.

Now home bakers around the world are coming up with their own elaborate, tiered copycat confections.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to marry on May 19. (Matt Dunham/The Associated Press)

Considering the ceremony begins Saturday at 7 a.m. ET or 5 a.m. MT, a dense, moist, not-too-sweet breakfast bundt may be more appropriate to nibble with coffee while in your robe and slippers.

A humble bundt can be dressed up for a fancier occasion.

After an easy elderflower drizzle, you can top it with fresh berries or edible flowers. Tuck a sunflower into the middle or place a small bouquet in a cup inside, so the flowers don't wilt. By the way, Sunnyside Greenhouse has a great edible flower chart.

If you're not familiar with elderflower, it's more common in the United Kingdom, central Europe and Australia. The tiny white flowers are in bloom now, and often are used to flavour cakes and puddings, and make syrups and cordials, which are fantastic additions to summery cocktails.

Try out different edible flowers on your cakes for a summery addition. (Julie Van Rosendaal/CBC)

When it comes to food, elderflower syrup or St-Germain Elderberry Liqueur is sublime to sweeten and flavour whipped cream and other delicate desserts, like panna cotta. It can be brushed over just-baked cakes, added to vinaigrettes or drizzled over fruit salad.

Once you have a bottle of elderflower essence in your fridge, you'll discover all kinds of ways to use it.

Here are recipes for lemon and elderflower breakfast cake, an elderberry meringue and a summer punch or cocktail.

Lemon and elderflower breakfast cake

Use elderflower syrup or St-Germain, the elderflower liqueur, to brush your cake and make the glaze.

It's also delicious without, if you want just straight-up lemon cake. Add the zest of two lemons if you want the cake extra zingy.

This lemon and elderflower cake isn't too sweet. (Juie Van Rosendaal/CBC)

Cake ingredients

1 cup butter, at room temperature.

1¾ cups sugar.

Grated zest and juice of one lemon.

3 large eggs.

2½ cups all-purpose flour.

½ tsp baking soda.

¼ tsp salt.

1¼ cups buttermilk.

Elderflower cordial or liqueur, for brushing.

Drizzle ingredients:

1 cup of icing sugar.

2 tbsp elderflower cordial or liqueur, or lemon juice.

Water or milk, to thin if needed.


Preheat the oven to 177 C (350 F) and grease a bundt pan well.

In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest for three to four minutes, until pale and light. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. In another bowl or measuring cup, stir together the buttermilk and lemon juice.

If you like, add up to ¼ cup elderflower syrup.

Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk in two and beating after each just until combined.

Smooth the top of your batter. That will become the bottom of the cake once cooked. (Julie Van Rosendaal/CBC)

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the cake is golden, domed and cracked on top. It should be springy to the touch.

Bake until golden, domed and cracked on top. The cake should be springy to touch. (Julie Van Rosendaal/CBC)

Let cool for a few minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool while it's still warm.

Poke several holes deep into the top of the cake with a bamboo skewer and brush with the elderflower syrup.

Use a bamboo skewer to poke holes deep into the cake. These will help the cake absorb the elderflower syrup brushed on top. (Julie Van Rosendaal/CBC)

To make the drizzle, whisk together the icing sugar and elderflower cordial or syrup. Add a bit of water or milk, or extra elderflower, until you have a thick drizzling consistency.

Aim for a thick drizzling consistency. (Julie Van Rosendaal/CBC)

Drizzle over the top of the cake and decorate with fresh, edible flowers, if you like.

Serving: Sixteen people.

Decorate with fresh, edible flowers. (Julie Van Rosendaal/CBC)

Summery cocktail or punch

Elderflower pairs exceptionally well with gin and tonic, but the syrup could simply be added to sparkling water, orange juice or lemonade.

Try an easy punch of white grape juice and sparkling water.

Add frozen grapes to keep it cold. Toss in a splash of gin or vodka if you like.

You also could use St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, which has American origins and a fancy French-looking bottle.


Try it in a pavlova, which has its origins in Australia and New Zealand, depending who you ask. The dish is common in the U.K.

Flavour the meringue with a bit of elderflower syrup.

Use the egg yolks leftover to make a lemon curd.

Macerate your berries or simmer chopped rhubarb with the syrup and use it to sweeten the cream on top.

If for some reason your meringue fails, crumble it and layer with the aforementioned ingredients and call it an Eton mess.

This is a classic spring dessert that is all over the U.K. at this time of year — and surely invented as a result of a broken meringue.

  • Hear more wedding-inspired baking ideas from Julie Van Rosendaal:
Our food columnist bakes her version of elderflower and lemon cake decorated with fresh flowers. 6:03

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.

About the Author

Julie Van Rosendaal

Calgary Eyeopener's food guide

Julie Van Rosendaal talks about food trends, recipes and cooking tips on the Calgary Eyeopener every Tuesday at 8:20 a.m. MT. The best-selling cookbook author is a contributing food editor for the Globe and Mail, and writes for other publications across Canada.