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Elderflower and lemon cupcakes recipe

Elderflower and lemon cupcakes recipe

122 ratings

These pretty cupcakes are perfect for a celebration or afternoon tea with their fluffy sponge and gorgeous swirl of buttercream icing (see tip, below). The combination of sweet, floral elderflower and tangy lemon is a classic summer combo, topped off with tart raspberries for a simple decoration. See method

  • Serves 12
  • 20 mins to prepare and 20 mins to cook, plus cooling
  • 502 calories / serving
  • Vegetarian


  • 185g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 185g caster sugar
  • 185g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2½ tbsp elderflower cordial
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp milk

For the icing

  • 200g unsalted butter, softened
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp elderflower cordial
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • raspberries, to decorate
No self-raising flour? Add 2 tsp baking powder for every 150g plain flour

Each serving contains

  • Energy

  • Fat

    27g 41%
  • Saturates

    16g 82%
  • Sugars

    47g 52%
  • Salt

    0.3g 5%

of the reference intake
Carbohydrate 60.8g Protein 3.8g Fibre 0.5g


  1. Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases. Sift the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar and butter with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Add the elderflower cordial and lemon zest and stir to combine.
  3. Add the beaten eggs a little at a time, beating well between each addition. Gently fold in the flour and baking powder using a large metal spoon. Finally stir in the milk.
  4. Divide the mixture between the cases – they should be about two-thirds full. Bake for 18-20 mins, until lightly golden and springy to touch, then remove the cakes from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.
  5. To make the buttercream icing, add the softened butter, icing sugar and cordial to a large bowl and beat together with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Beat in a little of the lemon juice to taste, adding more as needed to balance the cordial but without making the icing runny.
  6. Once completely cool, fit a piping bag with a star-shaped nozzle and pipe the icing in a swirl onto each cupcake. Decorate with a few fresh raspberries and strips of lemon zest.

Tip: If you don’t have a piping bag or star-shaped nozzle, you can easily spread the icing onto each cake. Place a heaped spoonful of icing onto the top of each cake then use a palette or blunt knife to swirl outwards from the middle, forming a nest shape for the raspberries to sit in.

Freezing guidelines:

The cakes (without icing) are suitable for freezing. Make the cupcakes up to the end of step 4, cool completely, and then pack into a freezer-proof container and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost fully before icing and decorating.

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