Blackberry, Lemon & Elderflower Tea Cakes
This tea cake recipe is simple yet sophisticated. Blackberries are a fresh complement to the lemon, elderflower cakes. With a light lemon and elderflower glaze on top, these tea cakes are great for brunch with friends, afternoon tea, or anytime you need a special treat!
A royal combination - lemon elderflower cake
We have been fans of lemon and elderflower together for a long time, but the two got a lot of media attention recently when Prince Harry and Megan Markle shared a lemon, elderflower cake with guests at their wedding in 2018. The cake’s baker described elderflower as an “ethereal, floral flavour, which I think is very special”. And we agree!
Traditional tea cake recipe?
There are several different styles of cakes, bread and cookies that all share the name “tea cake”. And let’s be honest - we’re fans of all of them! Russian tea cakes are a favorite shortbread-like cookie rolled in sugar, and are ubiquitous during the holidays (though their actual connection to Russia is pretty unclear).
Tea cakes are also a traditional confection at Juneteenth celebrations. These tea cakes are more similar to cookies, and often contain citrus or nutmeg. The recipes for these tea cakes were developed by enslaved people, and have been handed down for generations. Read more about the history and recipes here.
Our tea cake recipe is most similar to the traditional British tea cake. According to the Great British Bake Off (and who else would you turn to for this definition?!), tea cakes aremade from “enriched dough that contains extra fats, eggs, sugar, and fruit”.
Tea cakes with an elderflower twist
This recipe is our take on a tea cake. These tea cakes get their light, fresh flavor from fresh blackberries, lemon zest and, of course, Commonhealth Elderflower Cordial. This recipe uses a combination of all-purpose flour and almond meal, which provides texture to perfectly complement the flavor.
And a little hint about their shape - they are really just upside down muffins! These sophisticated little cakes are made in a muffin pan. Just turn them upside down when they are ready, and drizzle icing on the top. Just don’t fill the cups too high so that the tea cakes will be able sit up straight when they are done.
Elderflower for brunch and afternoon tea
With their light flavor and unique texture, these tea cakes are oh-so-delicious alongside a cup of coffee or tea. And here’s a hot tip - we love a splash of our Elderflower Cordial in both coffee and tea too!
Our Elderberry Cardamom Crumb Cake is another delicious recipe idea that is great for dessert or brunch!
Blackberry, Lemon & Elderflower Tea Cakes
Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
¾ cup + 1 tablespoon butter, slightly softened, plus a little extra for greasing
½ cup granulated sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon (about 1 ½ tsp)
4 large eggs
1 cup almond meal
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp elderflower cordial
24 fresh blackberries (around ⅔ cups), plus extra for garnish
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
4 ½ tbsp elderflower cordial
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a muffin tin with butter and then coat with flour, tapping away any excess.
- Place the butter, sugar, and lemon zest in a large bowl and using an electric mixer or a hand whisk, cream together at high speed until light and fluffy. This usually takes about 3-4 minutes.
- Lightly beat together the eggs in a small bowl.
- Add the almond meal and beaten eggs to the butter mixture in several batches (3-4), alternating between adding the two. Beat thoroughly after each addition.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt directly into the bowl with the butter mixture. Add the lemon juice and elderflower cordial.
- Beat the flour, juice, and cordial in at low speed until just combined with the rest of the batter.
- Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, filling each mold to three-fourths full. Add two blackberries to each muffin mold, pushing the fruit into the batter so that it sinks.
- Bake the teacakes for 20-25 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the tin for fifteen minutes, then tap them out onto a cooling rack (so they are upside down) and cool completely.
- Mix the confectioner’s sugar and elderberry cordial together and stir until the mixture reaches a thick pouring consistency.
- Spoon the icing on top of the teacakes once they are completely cooled, using about 1 ½ tbsp per cake. The icing should drip down the sides a bit, but not cover them.
- Place one blackberry on top of each cake to garnish, and enjoy!
Regardless of your definition of what makes the best tea cake, we know you’ll love this recipe. Its subtle sweetness with hints of lemon and elderflower, combined with fresh blackberries, creates a unique treat to share with friends and family.
Recipe by Marta Maliszewska
Marta is a second year student at the University of Virginia, majoring in English and Philosophy. Marta has enjoyed cooking for as long as she can remember, and she puts those skills to use making elaborate surprise birthday meals for her two younger sisters every year. She has also created some pretty delicious Commonhealth recipes, including Elderberry Cardamom Crumb Cake, which is her favorite!