Mini Flowerpots

Elderflower and Lemon Cake


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes


    Tiny Cakes

Appears in

The Birthday Cake Book

The Birthday Cake Book

By Fiona Cairns

Published 2011

  • About

Pack these charming little elderflower and lemon cakes into a seedling box or a trough as a gift for a gardener.


For the Cakes

  • 18 fairy cake dark brown paper cases and 40 mini muffin dark brown paper cases
  • 225 g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 225 g unsalted butter, really soft
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 225 g golden caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp elderflower cordial

For the Buttercream

  • 200 g unsalted butter, softened
  • finely grated zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
  • 300 g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsp elderflower cordial


To Colour Sugarpaste

Place a piece of sugarpaste on a work surface. Dip a cocktail stick into a pot of food colour and knead in. It is much better to add the colour little by little and mix different colours. If it is sticky, add a little icing sugar. Knead until the sugarpaste is an even colour you like. Seal in a polythene bag and leave overnight, if possible, to firm up.

To Bake and Decorate

Dust a work surface and rolling pin with icing sugar. Roll out the coloured sugarpaste to 2-3mm thick. Using a cutter, cut out shapes as close together as you can. Re-roll the pieces and repeat. Dry on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. (Pipe details with royal icing, if you like.) These keep for months, in dry conditions in a cardboard box; not in an airtight container.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 170°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Place the fairy cake cases into two fairy cake tins, and the 40 tiny ones into a couple of small-hole baking trays. You may need to bake in batches. For this cake, I use an electric mixer and beater attachment, but use a food processor, or a bowl and electric whisk, if you prefer. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl, add the butter (in knobs), eggs, lemon zest and sugar, adding the cordial towards the end. Beat until well blended; be careful not to over-mix. Divide between the cases and bake until the cakes spring back to the touch. The tiny cakes take 10-12 minutes and the larger 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven, leave in the tins for a minute or two, then cool on a wire rack.

For the buttercream, beat the butter until really pale in an electric mixer, or with a hand-held electric whisk. Add the zest and icing sugar and beat for five minutes until fluffy. Add the cordial slowly, tasting as you do so; you may not need it all. Put the buttercream into the piping bag with star nozzle, and swirl on each cake.

I like my flowerpots bursting with blooms so don’t hold back! Lay all your decorations - sugarpaste and fresh - in front of you. Stick them on to the cakes. Tie raffia or ribbon around each paper case to finish.

To Decorate

  • 100 g white sugarpaste
  • selection of food colour pastes
  • icing sugar, to dust
  • selection of flower, leaf and butterfly cutters
  • 60 g bag of white royal icing, no. 1 nozzle (optional)
  • nylon piping bag and medium star nozzle
  • selection of bought sugar flowers
  • selection of small edible flowers and leaves, such as primulas and primroses, violets, violas and pansies, sprigs of mint
  • pearlised sugar pearls
  • strands of raffia or ribbon