Nothing is more summery than elderflowers and strawberries, but who wants to switch on an oven in sweltering heat? This vegan, no-bake, no-cook Elderflower or Strawberry cake will become a go-to recipe! Experience the delicate essence of elderflowers and the vibrant, sweet strawberry flavour - a heavenly match. This cake is easy to make, with minimum effort and maximum flavour.
O Elderflower, in beauty dressed
By poets and lovers forever blessed,
With creamy petals, like stars above,
Thy graceful presence, a gift of loveEmily Meadows
Summertime in the English countryside is pungent with the sweet smell of elderflowers. It is one of the easiest edibles to forage. I highly recommend making your own Elderflower cordial. It is simple to make and perfect for summer picnics. Need cooling down in the hot weather? Then make my elderflower and strawberry lollies.
Elderflower is ready to pick from mid to late June. It can be found near water sources or damp soil - hedgerows, along country lanes, in woodland and parks. Once you know what to look for, the Elderflower trees will jump at you! Pick elderflowers on a warm sunny morning. Check and remove bugs. Do not wash, as you will lose all the pollen.
When picking your Elderflower, pick white flower heads, not yellowing ones. The white ones will be full of pollen, creating wonderful flavour.
Elderflowers are tiny white, five-petalled flowers that grow in flat-topped clusters called umbels.
Elderflowers can also be identified by their leaves. Elder has compound and pinnate leaves, 5 to 7 leaflets joined opposite each other. The elder compound leaf has a terminal leaflet, hence the odd number of leaflets.
Foraging is an amazing way to connect with nature and source ingredients for recipes free from additives and chemicals. However, it does have its risks, so here are some important things to consider:
1) Be sure you are very confident with your identification. Take a plant identification guide with you and perhaps use an app like "Picture This". Learning from an expert on a foraging course is the best way to develop your identification skills confidently. Edible plants can look very similar to plants that are poisonous to humans, so never consume anything if you are not 100% sure it is edible.
2) Forage sustainably. Be mindful of the habitat you are foraging in. Be aware of what is underfoot and only take what you intend to consume, and be sure not to over-forage so plants can regenerate and the ecosystem is not disturbed. If a plant is rare or endangered, leave it!
3) Get permission from landowners to forage, if necessary. You will often find foraging guidelines from organisations online; for instance, the Woodland Trust has a foraging guide in the UK.
4) Be mindful of the environment you are foraging in. Avoid areas next to fields sprayed with chemicals, or roadside locations, for instance. Don't take risks near water or on unstable terrain.
- Elderflower flower heads
- Vegan whipping cream
- Icing sugar
- Elderflower cordial
- Rich tea or shortcake biscuits
See the recipe card for quantities.
Slice the strawberries into thin slices and set aside.
Using scissors, snip off the elderflower heads from their stems into a bowl that contains the vegan cream.
Submerge the elderflowers into the cream and let infuse for at least two hours - the longer, the better, even overnight.
Pour the cream and elderflowers through a sieve into another glass bowl to separate the cream and elderflowers.
Add sieved icing sugar to the infused whipping cream.
Whip the cream into soft peaks.
Soak the biscuits in Elderflower cordial.
In a deep dish, place a single layer of soaked biscuits. Then spread a layer of whipped cream and a layer of sliced strawberries.
Repeat with another layer of biscuits and whipped cream, and strawberries.
Place one last layer of soaked biscuits, whipped cream and sliced strawberries. Over this last layer, sprinkle individual elderflowers. It makes the cake look very pretty.
Refrigerate the cake for at least two hours before serving.
Don't worry if you missed the elderflowers in their prime; you can skip the flower infusion and use the soaking of the biscuits in Elderflower cordial for the elderflower flavour. I have seen Elderflower cordial available in many shops. Go for organic and as unprocessed as possible.
Of course, you can change the strawberries to a fruit of your liking.
I have used vegan shortcake biscuits; however, you can replace them with any rich tea biscuit.
Instead of elderflowers, you can infuse the cream with fragrant flowers like lilac or rose.
This recipe can also be used to make coffee-flavoured cakes like tiramisu. Just soak the biscuit in coffee.
For this recipe, you will need a sieve and an electric or hand-held whisk.
You can refrigerate the cake in an airtight container for up to three days.
Looking for other cake recipes like this? Try these:
Celebrate summer by enjoying your elderflower and strawberry cake with these delicious additions:
No Bake Elderflower Strawberry Cake
- Digital scales
- Electric or hand-held whisk
- 5 Elderflower flower heads
- 250 ml Vegan whipping cream
- 50 g Icing Sugar
- 150 ml Elderflower Cordial
- 300 g Shortcake or Rich tea Biscuit
- 200 g Strawberries
- Snip off the flower heads from the stem into a bowl.
- Pour whipping cream over the flowers and leave to infuse for at least two hours.
- Strain the cream to remove the flowers. Add sieved icing sugar.
- Whisk the cream to soft peaks.
- Slice the strawberry into thin slices.
- Soak the biscuits in elderflower cordial one by one and place them on a deep dish or plate in a single layer.
- Now spread a layer of whipped cream, followed by a layer of sliced strawberries.
- Place another layer of soaked biscuits, then cream and strawberries, followed by the final layer of soaked biscuits, cream and strawberries.
- Optional but highly recommended, finish the final layer with a sprinkling of individual elderflowers removed from the heads.
- Refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours before serving.
- If preparing the cake a day in advance, cover the cake with a lid to prevent the cream and strawberries from drying up.
In a professional kitchen, food hygiene and safety are top priorities, and from the beginning of my training, I practised good habits and routines. Of course, practising good food hygiene and safety at home is also essential. Here are some fundamental practices to adopt in the kitchen.
- Wash your hands regularly while preparing, handling and cooking food.
- Wipe down countertops and high-contact points regularly.
- If you cook meat and fish, do not use the same utensils on cooked food that previously touched raw meat. Use separate chopping boards for meat and fish. Wash your chopping boards immediately after use.
- Thoroughly cook food to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C).
- Don't leave food at room temperature for extended periods (more than 2 hours).
- Store food correctly.
For more details regarding food hygiene and safety in the home, visit the UK Government's Food Standards Agency webpage.