May 27, 2018


lemon and elderflower roll

There was much talk about the wedding cake for the Royal Wedding earlier this month.  In fact many versions of the lemon and elderflower Royal Wedding Cake appeared on the internet for us to bake ourselves.  I was not inspired until I spotted a recipe for a lemon and elderflower Swiss roll and with guests coming for dinner that evening, I thought it would be the perfect dessert and homage to the big event (and big cake) on the day.

lemon and elderflower roll2

I used the Mary Berry recipe that I have used before and adapted the recipe for the occasion by adding elderflower cordial to the sponge mixture and elderflower liqueur to the filling.

lemon and elderflower roll3

It went down a treat at our little dinner party.  I simply dusted it with icing sugar before serving and put a little pot of whipped cream flavoured with the elderflower liqueur on the table alongside the cake.  We also toasted the bride and groom with a small glass of the same liqueur on cutting the cake!

I love these fat free whisked sponges.  They are so light and fluffy and ideal for a dessert.  The idea of making a Swiss roll used to have me quaking in my shoes but the more often I make them, the more I realise that although they look really clever, they’re a doddle to make.


for the cake:

4 large eggs

100g caster sugar

finely grated rind of 1 lemon

1 tblsp elderflower cordial

100g self raising flour

for the filling:

2 tablespoons lemon curd

1 tblsp elderflower cordial

200ml whipping cream

1 tblsp St-Germain liqueur (or elderflower cordial)

icing sugar for dusting


Preheat the oven to 220°C / 200°fan / gas mk 7.  Grease a 33cm x 23cm swiss roll tin and line it with baking paper.

Using an electric whisk, whisk the eggs, sugar and lemon zest together until you have a very thick, pale mixture.  It is whisked enough when the beaters leave a trail as you lift them out of the mixture.  Whisk in the elderflower cordial.

Sift the flour into the mixture and fold it in gently using a metal spoon.  Pour the mixture into the prepared swiss roll tin, tipping it a little to encourage the mixture to flow into the corners.

Bake the sponge for 10 minutes until the cake is golden brown, shrinks away from the sides of the tin and springs back to the touch. 

While it’s in the oven, cut a piece of baking parchment bigger than the tin, spread it out on the worktop and sprinkle with caster sugar.

Also prepare the filling by putting the lemon curd into a small bowl and beat in the elderflower cordial to make it looser.  Whisk the cream with the elderflower liqueur until thick but not too stiff.

Remove the cake from the oven and immediately invert the tin to tip it upside down onto the sugared paper.  Remove the paper from the bottom (now the top) of the cake.  Use a sharp knife to trim the edges and score a line 1cm in from one short end, without cutting through the cake.

Allow it to cool slightly, spread with the lemon curd then the whipped cream, saving any excess cream to serve separately in a small bowl with the cake.  Turn the cake so that the scored short end is nearest to you and, using the paper to help you manoeuvre the cake, take a deep breath and roll it up.

Transfer to a serving plate and dust with icing sugar. 

Cuts into 12 slices.

May 1, 2018


milk chocolate cake4

I made this cake for our most recent CCC event which was themed “Inspired Baking”, although to be honest, it’s a recipe I’d had in mind to do for some time.

My baking inspiration, like so many people I suppose, came from my mum.  She was a good cook of tasty, plain and hearty food and she did a lot of baking.  Every Saturday and sometimes again during the week she would bake a huge pile of little buns and pastries, her favourites being sausage rolls, maids of honour, mince pies and butterfly buns.  Curiously she didn’t make a cake that often.  She would make a Christmas cake at Christmas, parkin for Bonfire Night, the occasional Victoria sponge or chocolate cake and that was about it.  If a cake was required for a birthday or Sunday treat it was usually a chocolate cake and made using Cadbury’s drinking chocolate not cocoa powder as that’s what she would have in the house.

milk chocolate cake2

I was reminded of all this when I stumbled across this recipe by Karen in her “Lavender and Lovage” blog.  Most chocolate cakes nowadays are made using melted chocolate or cocoa powder, which is very fine but often a bit too chocolatey for me and in any case, my mum would never have contemplated anything so extravagant!

Most of her baking came from a recipe in her well thumbed and ancient copy of the Be-Ro book but I can’t find anything in the more recent editions that uses drinking chocolate.  Hence I used Karen’s recipe and a great success it was too.

milk chocolate cake3

I had my doubts when it came out of the oven, there being a sunken ring around each cake which caused my heart to sink too.  However, a good slathering with cherry jam and the frostng concealed all the dents and wrinkles and once decorated with Oreo biscuits, chocolate raisins, mini eggs and little Aeros, it looked a treat.  It tasted really good too.  It had a light and moist texture, something you don’t always get by using cocoa powder, and was well received at the meeting.  Definitely a cake I shall be baking again – if only because it would remind me of my mum every time.

milk chocolate cake6

I have adapted Karen’s excellent recipe for the ingredients I had available and it worked well but I suggest you first try her recipe which you can see here.


150g self raising flour, sifted

75g drinking chocolate (I used Nestlé “Le Chocolat”)

2 tsp baking powder

180g caster sugar

200g soft margarine or baking spread (I used St Hubert margarine)

3 large eggs

3 tblsp hot water

For the icing and filling

2-4 tblsp cherry jam

225g milk chocolate

125 ml double cream (I used Tesco double cream substitute)

150g unsalted butter, softened

225g icing sugar


Butter and line the bases of two 20cm round sponge tins.  Preheat the oven to 175°C / 155° fan / gas mk 4.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and add all the other cake ingredients except for the hot water.  Whisk with an electric whisk until light and fluffy.  Add the hot water and whisk again for about 3 minutes until even fluffier.

Divide between the prepared tins and bake for 20-30 minutes until done.  Cool in the tin for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.

To make the frosting, break the chocolate into pieces and put with the cream in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Stir continuously until the chocolate is melted and well blended with the cream. Remove from the heat and add the butter.  Stir until the butter is blended in.  Sift in half the icing sugar and mix well, then add the remaining icing sugar and mix until creamy and smooth.  Set aside to cool until thickened.

When the cakes are completely cold sit one cake on a plate or stand and spread with a layer of cherry jam.  Spread half the frosting on top of that.

Put the other cake on top, spread with the remaining frosting,  decorate with whatever takes your fancy and serve.

Cuts into 8-10 slices.