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Elderflower and poppy seed hidden-heart loaf recipe

Elderflower and poppy seed hidden-heart loaf recipe

6 ratings

Wow your loved one with this beautiful Valentine's edible gift. The cake sponge is flavoured with delicate elderflower cordial and speckled with black poppy seeds. The best part is discovering a hidden heart-shape that simply says 'I love you.' See method

  • Serves 10
  • 45 mins to prepare and 1 hr to cook, 45 mins to cool
  • 471 calories / serving
  • Vegetarian


For the hidden heart sponge

  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 medium egg
  • 75g self-raising flour
  • 1 tbsp red food colouring
  • 2 tbsp apricot glaze, warmed

For the elderflower and poppy seed sponge

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 175g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp elderflower cordial
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 50g low-fat yogurt

For the drizzle

  • 200g icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp elderflower cordial
  • 2 tbsp raspberry fudge sprinkles
No self-raising flour? Add 2 tsp baking powder for every 150g plain flour

Each serving contains

  • Energy

  • Fat

    20g 28%
  • Saturates

    11g 53%
  • Sugars

    37g 41%
  • Salt

    0.4g 6%

of the reference intake
Carbohydrate 59g Protein 5g Fibre 1g


  1. For the hidden heart sponge, preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Grease and line a 20cm square/round cake tin with greaseproof paper.
  2. Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and whisk until softened. Add the egg with 2 tbsp of the flour and whisk again. Whisk in the remaining flour, then fold in the food colouring, until fully combined with no streaks.
  3. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 15 mins, until the edges have come away from the sides and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside to cool.
  4. Cut out 12 hearts with a 4½–5cm heart-shaped cookie cutter, then brush the hearts on one side with apricot glaze and stick together to make one long heart-shaped cake.
  5. Compare the length to that of a 2lb loaf tin and cut the heart-shaped loaf about 1cm shorter. Wrap in cling film and freeze for 45 mins.
  6. Meanwhile, grease and line the base and sides of your 2lb loaf tin. For the elderflower and poppy seed sponge, whisk the butter and sugar in a bowl until softened, then add the eggs with 2 tbsp of the flour. Whisk until combined, then whisk in the remaining flour and the baking powder. Fold through the elderflower cordial, poppy seeds and yogurt.
  7. Spoon 5 tbsp of the mixture into the bottom of the loaf tin and spread out in an even layer. Place the heart cake on top, pointed end facing upwards. Gently spoon the remaining sponge mixture around the sides and over the top of the heart-shaped cake, covering it fully. Bake for 40-45 mins, then cool on a wire rack.
  8. For the drizzle, beat together the icing sugar and elderflower cordial with 1½ tbsp boiled water, until you have a runny consistency. Spoon the drizzle over the cooled cake (still on the wire rack) and let it run down the sides slightly. Top with the raspberry fudge sprinkles and leave to set.

Storing instructions: Once iced, this loaf can be kept for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

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