Recipe: Elderflower & Strawberry Layer Cake
Created for us by Rowena Scott-Campbell from Grain + Feather
We were hooked when we discovered Rowena Scott-Campbell from Grain + Feather’s dreamy Instagram gallery, filled with beautifully styled photographs of tea, cake, flowers and wonderful UK destinations including magical gardens and greenhouses.
Rowena is also a passionate baker who takes her inspirations from the seasons. To celebrate British flower season being in full bloom, Rowena has created this irresistible Elderflower & Strawberry Layer Cake recipe for us to epitomise the best of the English summer.
Here we caught up with Rowena to find out more about her interests and inspirations:
Inspired By Flowers
There is rarely a time when I don’t have flowers in the house, so it seemed a natural subject for me to photograph. Over the last couple of years Instagram has really fuelled my love of flowers and arranging as I discovered so many incredible florists and flower-growers who take the most beautiful and inspiring floral images.
I have a plan to create a new border in our garden. Work has yet to start, but
in my head I’m already filling the space with my favourite flowers: lavender, knautia, verbena stipa, echinacea, Iris, sisyrinchium… I could keep going and going.
My Perfect English Summer’s Day
A perfect English summer’s day for me would start slowly, with a cup of tea and a magazine in the garden, followed by a walk with my husband and little boy through shady stream-crossed woodlands. Then a long lazy lunch in a walled garden with pick-your-own flowers and fruit, ending back in my own garden with a glass of rosé.
The quality of The Real Flower Company’s flowers and the care with which they have been grown, picked and arranged always amazes me – but above all, I love their fragrance. I can’t pass by a Real Flower Company bouquet without stopping to breathe in the smell.
The arrival of seasonal flowers, fruit and vegetables helps me to understand where we are in the year. I strongly associate flowers with particular months and feel slightly unnerved when I see tulips in January or daffodils in December. There is absolutely nothing like the taste of fruit and vegetables in season.
How to Photograph Flowers
Flowers are the perfect subject because they do all the hard work for you. All you need is lots of natural light. I always move my arrangements close to the window and avoid any time of day when the sunlight streams in.
Elderflower & Strawberry Layer Cake
I’ve always been partial to cakes layered up with lots of fresh cream and fruit, and this recipe combines two of my favourite early summer flavours. The three layers make it perfect for a celebration and the simple icing provides a blank canvas for you to decorate as you please.
Rowena has photographed the Elderflower & Strawberry Layer Cake with our Summer Peach and Cream bouquet.
For the cake:
- 340g (225g) Unsalted butter
- 340g (225g) Caster sugar
- 340g (225g) Self-raising flour
- 6 (4) Eggs
- 3 tbs Whole Milk
- 1 tsp (1½ tsp) Vanilla extract
For the filling:
- 250ml Double cream
- 200g Strawberries
For the elderflower buttercream:
- 200g Unsalted butter
- 250g Icing sugar
- 1 tbs Elderflower cordial
N.B - The recipe makes a three layer cake, quantities in brackets are for a two layer cake.
- Heat the oven to 180c and grease three 23cm round cake tins
- Cream the butter and sugar together until pale
- Mix in the eggs one at a time, adding in a spoonful of flour after each egg
- Add the vanilla extract and fold in the remaining flour
- Briefly mix in the milk
- Divide the mixture equally between the three tins and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden.
- Leave the cakes to cool completely
For the filling:
- Whisk the double cream until stiff but not overworked
- Cut the strawberries into quarters and smash roughly with a fork
- Drain the strawberries through a sieve to remove most of the liquid
- Carefully stir the strawberries into the cream
For the butter cream:
- Cream the softened butter and icing sugar together until smooth
- Mix in the elderflower cordial
The softer the butter the easier it will be to ice the cake.
Once the cakes have cooled completely, place the bottom layer on a plate or cake stand and spread a layer of the strawberry cream mixture over the cake (don’t spread the cream right up to the edge as any cream which oozes out of the side will make it harder to ice). Repeat the process for the next layer. Place the top layer of cake and press down gently.
Roughly spread a layer of the buttercream on top of the cake and round the sides, making sure you fill in any gaps between the layers. Once the cake is lightly covered all round, use a knife to scrape round the cake, smoothing out the icing and revealing some of the cake to create the semi-naked look.
You can use as much or as little of the icing as you like depending on how ‘naked’ you want it to look. It doesn’t have to look perfectly neat.
As the cake contains fresh cream it is best assembled and eaten on the same day, but the cakes can be made the day before if kept in an airtight container.
All images are courtesy of Rowena Scott-Campbell from Grain + Feather.