Vanilla Cupcakes with Elderflower Icing

Everyone loves cupcakes. I hope! When bakeries established solely for the production of cupcakes broke on to the commercial cooking scene a few years ago I could hardly contain my delight. Although the naysayers are spelling the end of the boutique cupcake trend I fervently hope they stick around for many years to come (Cupcakes on Pitt im looking at you!!).

Cupcakes have got to be one of the most diverse and magic member of the cake family. Diverse because they can come in all shapes, sizes, flavours and colours, and magic because no matter how badly you stuff them up, they still look and taste pretty damn good. Unless you forget to put the eggs and milk in them… Anyway, I felt that I had become a bit too pedestrian with my cupcake flavours lately so I decided to branch out. Im not the most adventurous of people so my branching out only extended as far as experimenting with the icing. Baby steps!

How could I celebrate the beginning of Spring in icing form? Rose water icing? Already tired that… Orange Blossom Icing? Been there… then I remembered my recent trip to Peters of Kensington where I left with a magnificent bottle of…

Elderflower Cordial! Yummo!

Im a big fan of the Elderflower Liqueur but I thought that alcoholic icing might be going a little bit too far. I decided to make vanilla cupcakes with Elderflower icing to test out this combination. I used the Hummingbird Bakery vanilla cupcake recipe which faultlessly creates the most amazing vanilla cupcakes ever. Then I thought I would have a play with their vanilla icing recipe. I wanted something fluffy rather than a glaze like I ended up with when I made Rose water icing so I thought I would use a buttercream recipe as a base. I substituted the milk and vanilla essence for Elderflower cordial and must say I was quite pleased with the results.

Fluffy vanilla cupcake with slightly tangy slightly sweet elderflower icing!

While they were nice, there was something not quite right about the flavour combination. The icing was great although had developed better flavour by the next day. Im not sure that the Elderflower icing went THAT well with the vanilla cupcake so I will be looking for a different combination in future. Any suggestions?

Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe – From the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook


120g plain flour

140g caster sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

a pinch of salt

40g unsalted butter

120ml full cream milk

1 egg

1/4 tsp vanilla extract


1. Put the flour, baking powder, salt and butter in a bowl and mix until you have a sandy consistency

2. Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated

3. Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining milk together for a few seconds then pour into the flour mixture and beat until incorporated. Mix for a few more minutes until the mixture is smooth

4. Spoon the mixture into some patty pans and bake at 170 degrees celsius for 20-25 mins or until they are golden. Keep an eye on them, you dont want to burn them!

Elderflower Icing Recipe – Adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook


250g icing sugar

80g unsalted butter

A little milk

Elerflower cordial to taste


Now im sorry its not a more methodical method but here goes…

1. Beat icing sugar and butter together until well mixed

2. Add a little milk, maybe 1 or 2 teaspoons to loosen up the mixutre

3. Add tablespoons of Elderflower cordial to taste and until you have reached your desired consistency. I think I added about 3 tablespoons before I felt it was zingy enough but experiment!

4. When you have reached your desired level of flavour, beat the mixture at high speed until it is light and fluffy. This may take around five minutes but the more you beat it, the lighter it becomes.

By Katie

What can I say? I love sweets, in all shapes and sizes! You only live once, so why not indulge once in a while? Or, in my case, most of the time...


  1. Wow that icing sounds good, i’ve always wanted to try floral flavors in baking

  2. Ikea makes a vanilla and elderflower cupcake that is simply delicious. Thanks for the recipe… l’m going to try making them.

  3. I am also a lover of the Ikea elderflower cupcakes.
    I picked up some of their elderflower concentrate. Is that the same thing as cordial?

  4. i was just at ikea and had their elderflower cupcake and it was super interesting to eat. unlike anything i can remember every having. do you know where they got those cupcakes from? i know they don’t make them in the kitchen there

  5. Hi there ChocoBengal. I’m glad that there are other people who enjoy elderflower as much as me! Unfortunately I don’t know where Ikea get their cupcakes.

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