Baking With Tea Recipes – Lemon Elderberry Tea Cake

Baking With Tea Recipes – Lemon Elderberry Tea Cake

One of the most incredible aspects of tea is its diversity in uses. Tea obviously can be used as a beverage, but Fresh Steeps wants to help educate on the many other ways tea can be consumed…specifically baking with tea recipes!

Each tea can be used to create a delectable sweet or savory homemade treat. Fresh Steeps will provide the background of the ingredients, flavor profiles and of course the recipe!

Elderberry Tea Background

Elderberries are native to North America as well as Europe. Due to different climates and terrains the European variety, AKA Sambucus nigra, is darker and bolder in color than the American elderberry, AKA Sambucus canadensis.

Look at those delectable little berries!

The elderberry has been given a big role as being named one of the greatest immune system boosting berries! When it comes to flavonoids and antioxidants elderberries tower above many other berries.

Flavonoids aid our bodies natural protein synthesis of proteins that help counteract cold and flu viruses. Flavonoids are vital for healthy aging and longevity. Good thing is with a healthy and balanced diet we can consume many of these!

Flavonoids are found in bright and colorful fruits and vegetables. Elderberries simply house a higher concentration than many other fruits and vegetables. Maybe it is time to incorporate this berry into your daily routine?!

Flavor Profile of Elderberry Tea

Delightful elderberry juice, please!

Elderberry has an earthy aroma when brewed. This may be off putting for some people to choose to bake with, but the flavor is truly delightful! It is not an overly sweet or overbearing flavor that takes over the palatte. Instead, it enhances flavors beautifully, especially acidic ones like lemon!

The European elderberry being darker and bolder yields a stronger and more bitter taste as compared to the American elderberry. The American variety is lighter and sweeter, with still a noticeable tartness. Both of which when processed in baking enhance the sweetness.

This is more of a tart berry at first taste, but lingers with a mild sweetness. It truly acts well as an enhancer to many flavors, but pairs best with lemon, other berries, cinnamon, clove and allspice!

Lemon Elderberry Tea Cake Recipe

This recipe is to make a vanilla lemon cake topped with an elderberry cream cheese icing! Very delicious to share with friends and families on a Spring day!

Delicious, and maybe even nutritious?!

Total Time: ~2 1/2 hours

Cake Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup of unsalted butter, softened to room temp.
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 heaping Tbsp lemon zest (~2 lemons)
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (~2 lemons)

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup of butter, softened
  • 2 – 4 cups confectioners sugar (personally I used the lower end)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 Tbsp strongly brewed elderberry tea, at room temp. (more may be needed depending on color)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease two or three 9-inch cake pans

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.

Using a standing mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamy, ~3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

Add the vanilla extract and the eggs one at a time while slowly beating. Once all ingredients added, beat together on high speed until combined, ~2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients just until combined.

With the mixer still running on low, add the buttermilk, lemon zest and lemon juice and mix just until combined. Scrape up the bottom of the bowl to make sure no lumps left.

Pour batter evenly into all 2 or 3 cake pans. Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes if 3 pans are used, if 2 pans are used bake for 30 to 40 minutes.

Let cool for 5 minutes. Remove from cake pan to cooling rack and let cool completely.

While the cake cools, add the butter and cream cheese to a clean mixer with a whisk attachment. Beat together until well blended.

Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until creamy.

Add elderberry tea Tbsp by Tbsp. Do not add too much so it will remain slightly solid.

Using a large serrated knife, slice a thin layer off the top of the cakes to create a flat surface. Discard the excess (or nibble on as a snack).

Place one cake on your serving plate or cake platter and cover top with frosting. Place the second layer on top and cover evenly. If you have a third layer, repeat.

After all layers are stacked evenly coat the entire cake in your elderberry frosting.

Refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve cold and enjoy!!!


Buddha Teas Elderberry Tea!

Want to try this recipe at home? Try it with Buddha Teas organic Elderberry Tea! Click here to try some for yourself.

Let us know in the comments what you think about this recipe and look out for more baking with tea recipes on Fresh Steeps Tea Recipes page!

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8 thoughts on “Baking With Tea Recipes – Lemon Elderberry Tea Cake

    • Author gravatar

      Healthy and delicious goodies, this is awesome! lol I am a huge tea fan and drinker. Typically green tea due to its health benefits. Do you have any green tea backing recipes? 🙂

      • Author gravatar

        Robb, thanks for the comment & question! I have many green tea recipes! I too love green tea and love experimenting with it. I like baking/cooking with matcha especially. Join the CommuniTea and stay up to date with our posts to see the green tea recipes soon!

    • Author gravatar

      This is such a beautiful blog! Reading your post makes me feel calm and happy. I think it is really great to learn about different uses of teas and this recipe sounds delicious to me. I had no idea that European elderberry and American elderberry are slightly different.
      Very interesting article and will definitely bookmark this recipe. Elderberries are such a great fruit for many uses.

    • Author gravatar

      I really enjoyed this article! I have never heard of elderberries before, but I’m very adventurous and love to try new things. I am always experimenting with different foods and beverages, and this is right up my alley (sitting outside, sunglasses on, drinking some elderberry tea. LOL). I don’t even need to go into how much of a sweet tooth I have-step one is admitting that I have a problem. Haha I love eating cake, I love baking cake, and a lemon elderberry tea cake sounds very unique, mysterious and delicious. i will definitely give it a try! I have bookmarked your site and will definitely spread the word. God bless you!

      • Author gravatar

        C.N., thank you for the lovely comments! Elderberry was new to me up until this year and now I have taken quite the fancy to it. It is absolutely great as a tea, but even better (in my opinion) as a baked good (I too have a sweet tooth)! Thank you for bookmarking my site! I will be posting recipes and tea facts often here. Thank you for the support!

    • Author gravatar

      Both lemons and elderberries are great for immune support…this is a fabulous combination of lemon, elderberry, and cake. I am definitely going to try this recipe. I quick question: Can I use elderberry syrup or fresh elderberry juice to create a more vibrant colour of elderberry frosting…as usually it would create a muted purple color.

      • Author gravatar

        Satz, I am glad to hear you will be trying this! It truly is very delicious and worth the time. They are great for immune support too! Yes, you can use elderberry syrup! It should give you a deeper purple color. If you try it, please share and we can feature it on the site and social media! Thanks for the support!

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