Elderflower-infused Semolina Cake

It has been almost three months since my last post and I am feeling a little out of touch, to be honest. My own frustration of not having had (or spent) time on my recipes and photos in the last couple of months has been on my mind a lot lately. It's the typical dilemma: Work, which makes for the money, yet takes away time from my projects and creative work. I like going to work, I have great colleagues, yet it doesn't always fulfil my own creative needs. Four weeks ago I was on holiday in Greece, which helped getting a little perspective and one thing I realised is that I want to change this division. My first impulse was 'Ok, I have to be more efficient in the way I spent my time', need to 'schedule' my days through, that sort of thinking. But even now when I read this, I realise this isn't gonna work for me, it's only gonna stress me out even more.

So I am making an attempt at balancing the scales a little: Spending more energy on things I connect with emotionally and which I am passionate about. I took a big step lately, when I decided to start my own 'pop-up' brunch. I am working together with a girl who runs a café in Berlin and starting this June I will serve savoury and sweet waffles for. (You can have a look on Instagram, which will give you a hint) but first I want to share my recipe for this elderflower-obsessed (yup, I might have gone a little overboard) cake. Hope you're having a great summer, doing the things you love! 

Elderflowers are a great plant to work with in the kitchen. You can use them in so many, countless ways, not just as syrup. At the moment I drink a lot of elderflower tea brewed from freshly picked blossoms, it helps when you have a cold, but it's even shown positive effects on people who suffer from hay-fever. For the cake we will use it in two, possibly three different ways. But first, what you'll need: 

For the Cake

  • 500g semolina
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 600ml milk
  • 10 elderflower blossoms
  • 150g butter
  • 1/2tsp vanilla
  • 100g brown sugar (or coconut blossom sugar or sweetener of choice)
  • 3 eggs
  • 200g greek yoghurt
  • 1tsp baking powder

For the Elderflower Syrup

  • 500ml water
  • 10 elderflower blossoms
  • 125g honey

For the Elderflower Icing

  • 80ml elderflower syrup
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • optional: a couples of elderflower blossoms to decorate

Instructions

1. After you have picked the elderflowers, place them on a white linen, any insects will start crawling out (they are attracted by the white light). 

2. In a small saucepan, heat the milk with 10 elderflowers. When it boils, take it from the heat and let it infuse another 20min. until the milk is cooled down again. Strain the elderflower milk through a clean cloth into a clean container. 

3. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan. With an electric whisk, mix together the butter and the sugar until creamy and fluffy. Add one egg at a time, keep whisking. 

4. Now, add 400ml of the elderflower-milk as well as the semolina, baking powder and the ground almonds to the egg-mix. Keep whisking so there are no lumps. Fold in the greek yoghurt and the vanilla. 

5. Grease a loaf-tin with some butter or oil and sprinkle with some flour or semolina. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 30-35min. until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for 10min. 

6. In the meantime, prepare the syrup: bring the water to a boil with the remaining elderflowers. Simmer for 5-10min., then take from the heat and infuse another 20min. Using a clean cloth,  strain the elderflowers, collecting the juice in a clean saucepan. Bring the juice to a boil again with the honey and let it reduce until you get a slightly thick, syrup-like consistency. 

7. Use 80ml of the syrup and mix it with the icing sugar. Zest and juice the lemon. add to the icing sugar. If it's too liquid add more sugar, if it's too thick either add more syrup or lemon juice. 

8. Using a skewer, poke little holes in the cake (every 2-3cm or so). Pour over the remaining elderflower-milk and let the cake soak it all in for another 20-30min. 

9. Turn the cake out onto a platter and brush on the elderflower icing. Decorate with some fresh elderflower blossoms, if you like.