Wedding Season has begun! And the most anticipated wedding ever, the Royal Wedding, is only a month away. For this elegant extravaganza, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry selected a Lemon Elderflower Cake from Clair Ptak’s Violet for their closest attendees to enjoy. This cake is said to be flavored with lemon, Elderflower liqueur, covered in buttercream frosting, and decorated with fresh flowers. I created a version of the Royal Cake for all of us to try as well. This Lemon Elderflower Cake has layers of delicately infused Cake, luscious lemon curd, and an Elderflower Swiss Buttercream. So, for those of us not invited, let’s bake!
If you have never tried of, or even heard of Elderflower, it is a tiny white flower that blooms for about 6 weeks during the Spring. The flowers are used in medicinal ways and of course, to make Elderflower liqueur. The most popular brand is St. Germaine, which is widely used for various cocktails. Elderflower Liquer is most simply used to enhance champagne, and then the uses get ritzier from there! The flavor is floral yet delicate and subtle, with grapefruit and citric notes to it. It is truly a gentle enhancement for anyway you choose to use it as an infusion. It brightens citric recipes such as this Lemon Elderflower Cake, which balances the strong lemon with the floral elderflower.
The second essential flavor for this cake is the lemon curd layer. Lemon curd is British, so I am assuming it will make its tangy appearance in the royal wedding cake! Lemon curd is a creamy, zesty, thick, sweet, lemony type of filling or spread that is used for cakes, bread, and more. While it resembles a custard, it is not, as it does not have any cream and you definitely wouldn’t want to eat lemon curd on its own! Unless you want to perfect that pucker!
When creating this Lemon Elderflower Cake, I wanted to make sure each flavor stood alone while complimenting one another. Since lemon can be overpowering, I decided to use the Lemon Curd as the only layer that would boast lemon flavor. The cake and frosting hold the Elderflower infusion. Together, these layers are sophisticated, stunning, and vibrant. Much like Meghan Markle!
The Lemon Curd
I began this cake making process with the lemon curd since it does not proper chilling time prior to assembly.
This lemon curd is made up of egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, a sprinkle of salt, and butter.
First, you will get a double boiler going. If you do not have one, place a heat-proof bowl above a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t get submerged in the water. It should rest above it. Resist the urge to bypass this method and cook this lemon curd directly on a stove or you may end up with a scrambled mess!
Second, into your heat-proof bowl, you will whisk your egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, zest, and salt. This mixture will need about 8-10 minutes of cooking on a low heat to thicken and pale in color. Make sure to whisk it frequently as well. After 8 minutes, do the spoon test. That means, stick your spoon into the curd and remove. Swipe your finger down the backside of the spoon to check for proper consistency. The curd must be thick so it doesn’t run all around and about your cake once you assemble it.
Third, take your lemon curd off the heat. Add in your butter one tablespoon at time whisking until incorporated after each addition. Your lemon curd will look a lot like custard at this stage.
Last step of your lemon curd, use plastic wrap to cover and put in the refrigerator to get this chilling for at least one hour. Note: Press the wrap against the custard so a film doesn’t form.
The Elderflower Cake
This Elderflower Cake starts with a white cake, which will be like a traditional white wedding cake with an exquisite twist. To this white wedding cake batter, you will be infusing elderflower liqueur.
Begin by sifting your cake flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together your whole milk, egg whites, and elderflower liqueur. Set this aside too.
Then, in a stand mixer, or using your hand mixer, you will cream your butter and sugar for about 4-5 minutes, until fluffy. Then, by hand, start by adding half of the milk mixture. Mix. Next, fold in half of your flour mixture. Then repeat. Here’s your assembly line!
Divide into two 9 inch cake pans and bake. Then, make sure to cool these Elderflower cakes completely! This white cake is fluffy, moist, and so perfectly enhanced with Elderflower.
Elderflower Swiss Buttercream
The final step and layer to this Lemon Elderflower Cake is the Swiss Buttercream. I chose a swiss buttercream over the others. And boy, are there others out there! Just take a look at this post to read about the different kinds of buttercream frosting, 5 Kitchen Essentials For Fall! Swiss Buttercream is rich, yet has a lighter meringue texture due to the whipped egg whites. It is less sweet than American Buttercream, and uses granulated sugar.
To make Swiss Buttercream, you will use your double boiler method once more. You will heat your sugar and egg whites until the sugar is dissolved and the temperature reaches around 160 degrees. Then, you will pour this mixture into the bowl of your stand mixture and get it all whipped up until peaks form and the mixture is glossy. Then, you will have your butter all cubed up. Begin putting a couple of tablespoons at a time of the cubed up butter, letting the mixer incorporate each addition before adding more. Do this until all of the butter has been incorporated.
The last step is to add in the Elderflower liqueur then whip once more. I used 1/4 cup, however, you can certainly add a tablespoon or so less, depending on your preference.
A note on Swiss Buttercream, it is best used for decorating immediately upon making it. If left in the refrigerator, it will harden up. If you do make this ahead of time, make sure to take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature before re-whipping it to the desired consistency.
Layering The Cake
When making a layer cake such as this one, it is especially important that your components are at the ideal temperatures. You want your lemon curd chilled and set so it is thick and will stay put. The cake must be cooled completely so it does not break apart during assembly or melt the curd or frosting. The Swiss Buttercream also should be room temperature so it is easy to spread and pipe.
Decide how many layers you want, and also, how thick of cake you would like. If you want a cake layered like mine, you will use a serrated knife to cut through each of your 9 inch cakes to give you four thin layers of cake.
To your first layer of cake, spread Elderflower Buttercream. A step I forgot about, oops, but you need to do when using cake fillings like this lemon curd, is to pipe a ring around that cake to not only hold the curd in place, but to help anchor your next cake layer. I will show this in the video demonstration I’m working on and will add to this post soon!
So, this should have a piped outline around the cake sides that acts as a wall and an anchor.
Then, add half of your lemon curd. As you can see, without that buttercream ring barrier, it will spill out and did cause my next layer to slide a little. I guess I was too excited about this cake that I flaked at this point!
Then just repeat and decorate your cake as you like. I have read in various places that Meghan and Prince Harry are going with fresh flowers such as white roses for their cake.
This Lemon Elderflower Cake is stunning in appearance and flavor! I am excited to see what the actual Royal Wedding Cake will look like!
This cake was so dazzling that it inspired an amazing Martini! Check it out here, Lemon Elderflower Martini
Happy Wedding Season to all!
Lemon Elderflower Cake
Lemon Elderflower Cake
Lemon Elderflower Cake is the chosen one of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry for their upcoming Royal Wedding. My Lemon Elderflower Cake recipe has layers of delicately infused Cake, luscious lemon curd, and an Elderflower Swiss Buttercream. So, for those of us not invited, let's bake!
- 4 Egg Yolks
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons diced butter
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 6 egg whites
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup Elderflower Liquer
- 2 1/8 cups cake flour, sifted
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
Elderflower Swiss Buttercream
- 6 egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 5 sticks unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup Elderflower Liqueur
Use a double boiler. Heat eggs, sugar, salt, lemon juice and zest for about 8-10 minutes. Use the spoon test to make sure the mixture is thick! Then, remove from heat and whisk in butter. Do a tablespoon at a time, letting it incorporate before adding more. Then cover chill for 1 hour.
In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together egg whites, milk, and Elderflower liqueur.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Then, Do the rest by hand. Add in half of milk mixture and incorporate. Then, add in half of flour ingredients, folding it in so you don't over-mix. Then repeat. Spread evenly into round buttered cake pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees. Insert toothpick to make sure it is still moist but is cooked. Let cool completely!
Elderflower Swiss Buttercream
In your double boiler, dissolve your granulated sugar with egg whites and whisk frequently until it reaches around 160 -165 degrees. Remove and place into the bowl of your stand mixer.
With your stand mixer and the whisk attachment, whip egg whites until glossy and stiff.
Then, add in chunks of your butter a couple of tablespoons at a time. Let each incorporate before adding more. At last butter incorporation, sprinkle in salt.
Then add in your Elderflower Liquer.
Layering The Lemon Elderflower Cake
To assemble as a layer cake:
Cut each round cake in half, lengthwise, with a serrated knife. then, have 4 layers ready to go. On bottom layer, spread buttercream. Pipe an outer "edge" to hold in lemon curd and anchor the next cake layer.
Then, spread half of lemon curd. Top with a cake layer and repeat.
Decorate the top as desired.
Need to use up those egg yolks? Try this recipe: Eggnog Creme Brulee!
Check out these other Ritzy Recipes!