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Bake Off finalist helps elderflower harvest at Belvoir Fruit Farms

By Paul Grinnell

BBC Bake-Off finalist Ian Cumming at Belvoir Fruit Farms.
BBC Bake-Off finalist Ian Cumming at Belvoir Fruit Farms.

Great British Bake Off finalist Ian Cumming has been lending a hand with the elderflower picking at Belvoir Fruit Farms.

Ian, who is an advocate of using natural ingredients in his recipes, was keen to see how the family business creates its hand made Elderflower Cordial starting with hand-picked elderflowers.

Ian, who was a finalist in last year’s BBC Bake Off spent a day at the farms’ 84 acres of organic elder plantations.

After picking the elderflower, he was able to follow the progress of the cordial through the infusing, filtering and bottling process at Belvoir’s state of the art factory in Bottesford.

He said: “It’s fascinating to basically see how I would make Elderflower Cordial at home done in exactly the same way at Belvoir, just on a bigger scale.”

Poor weather has set back this year’s elderflower harvest making it shorter than usual.

Ian Cumming's honey cake with elderflower icing.
Ian Cumming's honey cake with elderflower icing.

Help is urgently needed to bring in as many elderflowers as quickly as possible.

Pickers only need a bin bag to collect the flower heads in and then bring them to one of three weighing points that Belvoir have this year to be paid £2 cash per kilo.

The weighing stations are located at Belvoir Fruit Farms on Barkestone Lane, Bottesford, from 3pm to 6.00pm, Sacrewell Farm Centre just off the A47 near Peterborough between 3.30pm to 5pm and Swarkestone Nursery, Lowes Lane, Swarkestone, from 4pm to 5.15pm, all while the flowers last.

Inspired by his visit, Ian has developed delicious recipes using Belvoir Fruit Farms’ Elderflower Cordial, so why not give it a go:

Honey Cake with Elderflower Icing:



220g unsalted butter (room temp)

140g light muscovado sugar

140g honey

½ tsp of salt

4 large eggs

280g self-raising flour

2tsp baking powder

3 balls stem ginger

3tbsp milk

2tbsp Belvoir Elderflower Cordial.


100g double cream

200g mascarpone cheese

50g Belvoir Elderflower Cordial

100g icing sugar


Grease and line two x 8 inch (20cm) cake tins.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Finely chop the stem ginger.

Using an electric mixer beat the butter, sugar, salt and honey for a few minutes until light and fluffy.

One by one beat in the eggs making sure each is well and truly mixed in before adding the next.

Sift in the flour and baking powder and carefully fold in.

Carefully fold in the stem ginger.

Finally fold in milk.

Split between the two tins and bake for approx 25 minutes or until a knife comes out cleanly from the middle.

Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before turning out from tins and placing on cooling rack.

Pour 1tbsp of cordial over the top of each cake.

Meanwhile put the double cream in a mixing bowl and whisk until just starting to thicken. Add remaining icing ingredients and very briefly beat until combined – be careful not to overbeat.

Place one of the cakes on the plate on which it is going to be served.

Put approx a quarter of the icing in a freezer bag or in icing bag. Snip off corner and then pipe 1 to 2 cm circles all around the edge of the bottom cake. Pipe the rest inside the circles and then use up to another quarter of the icing to cover the rest of the cake.

Gently place other sponge on top. Spread remaining icing over top. Pipe rosettes around edge if you have the necessary piping bags / nozzles.


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