This is a flavour combination I encountered when I was eating at one of my favourite restaurants. I’ve always been a fan of elderflower but was slightly perturbed to see two slices of cucumber floating in the elderflower soda I had ordered. But my mind was soon blown. The refreshing flavour cucumber brings truly complements the subtle sweetness of elderflower and I was very keen to put these two flavours in my baking. Due to the extra sugar content from the cordial, these cupcakes rise a bit more than the Birthday Cupcakes recipe so you may need to put a little less in the paper cases.
Elderflower & Cucumber Cupcakes
for the cupcakes
- 125g unsalted butter, softened
- 175g caster sugar
- 3 medium eggs
- 125g self-raising flour, sifted
- 65g plain flour, sifted
- 65ml elderflower cordial, such as Belvoir or Bottlegreen
for the cream cheese frosting
- 80g full-fat cream cheese
- 30g butter, very soft
- 180g icing sugar
for the decoration
- 6 slices of cucumber, 2-3mm thick
- 1 tablespoon elderflower cordial
Make the cupcakes: preheat the oven to 180°C (170°C fan)/350°F/gas mark 4 and fill a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.
In a bowl, beat the butter with the sugar until pale and fluffy using an electric hand mixer. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Combine the flours and add half to the bowl, beat until smooth. Pour in the elderflower cordial, beat once again, followed by the remaining flour, beat until smooth.
Divide the mixture between the muffin cases, filling each no more than two-thirds full (this should be about 55g of cake mix if you’re being precise) and bake for about 25 minutes until risen and golden (and an inserted skewer comes out clean). Cool in the tin for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the decoration: cut each cucumber slice into sixteenths and toss in bowl with the cordial. Set aside while the cupcakes are cooling.
Make the frosting: place the cheese and butter in a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Carefully mix in the icing sugar until incorporated, then beat the mixture using an electric hand mixer, until the mixture increases in volume and holds its shape – be sure not to overbeat as the cheese will lose its consistency and the frosting will be runny. Cover the cooled cupcakes with the frosting, using a piping bag or palette knife, and decorate with the elderflower-soaked cucumber pieces.