Elderflower Cheesecake

elderflower cheesecake sambocade

This time last year I made a Sambocade, a medieval Elderflower and Cheese Tart. It was rather lovely but I think only four people ever saw the post and, judging by some of the Google hits I’ve been getting lately, most of them were probably looking for medieval gimp outfits or similar. I was tempted to make it again or even cheat and reblog it but instead – and given that I hate making pastry – I decided to plump for a more modern cheesecake.

There’s something lovely about seeing a froth of elderflowers in amongst the verdant green of early summer. I always find it amazing as well that a plant that has a tendency to smell like tom cat wee can produce such a lovely taste. The elder, like the hawthorn, is a plant with a long history of mythical associations, some of which concern our old adversaries the fairy folk whilst others are more Christian in origin, elder supposedly being the tree on which Judas hanged himself. In terms of cheese-lore, elder was often planted around dairies – perhaps because of its fly repellent qualities – and it was thought to be good at stopping the milk from going sour. Cheese cloths and other linen were hung out to dry on elder trees.

elder tree

Having gathered some elderflowers I returned home to see a well-timed blog post from midihideaways on making elderflower cordial. Mine is currently still brewing away so I give you this pretty flower photo instead…

elderflower cordial

For the cheesecake, I used this BBC recipe as a basis but tinkered with it in several ways (not least omitting the lime).


250g digestive biscuits
Half a dozen ginger nuts
90g butter
60g sugar
225g curd cheese
140g full fat cream cheese
160ml double cream, lightly whipped
Juice of Ā½ lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
2tbsp elderflower cordial
Fresh elderflowers plus egg white and caster sugar to garnish

Place the biscuits in a large bowl and bash them with a rolling pin until they resemble fine breadcrumbs.


Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the crushed biscuits and sugar until they are fully combined. Press the mixture firmly into an 8 inch round spring-form tin (or with a lift up base if you’re an idiot like me) and place it in the fridge to set for a couple of hours.


Wash the lemon and grate the skin using a fine grater or zester. Place this zest together with the cheeses and lemon juice in a food processor and mix well. Slowly add the cream and elderflower cordial until it is a smooth thick paste.


Spread this mixture onto the biscuit base and refrigerate for at least three hours.


At this point in the proceedings it is very important to follow the ancient tradition of ‘dropping the cheesecake’. You can drop it on the floor or, as I did, drop it face-down on the worktop as I took it out of the cake tin. Either way, by dropping the cheesecake you will drive out the fairies and bestow good luck upon your house for the following year. Really.

dropped cheesecake disaster

Should you actually want to consume the cheesecake, you should then press chunks of the biscuit crumb mixture into some glass ramekins you find at the back of the cupboard and then add a layer of the cheese mixture. You can remove the old bits of random dried food and cat hairs if you like but it’s not essential if, like me, you’ve had the foresight to make some crystallised flowers as a garnish. I got the idea for these from a post by Mrs Portly’s Kitchen; I didn’t take any photos of the process but you can see how it’s done on her post. In essence, you brush the flowers with egg white and then sprinkle with caster sugar. Except elderflowers are rather small so I got bored quickly and ending up dunking. The resulting flowers are therefore quite gloopy but still rather lovely.

crystallised elderflowers

Snip off the smallest bunches of flower heads and use to decorate. You can also use part of the cheesecake to make the old English dessert of cheesecake Eton Mess, traditionally served in a plastic bowl with a garnish of spent lightbulbs and Top Trumps (dinosaur edition). Enjoy!


Because elderflowers are seasonal and there’s cheese in this there cheesecake, I am linking it up to this month’s Cheese, Please! Challenge.

Fromage Homage

And because elderflowers begin with the letter ‘E’, I am linking it up with this month’s Alphabakes, hosted by The more than occasional baker and Caroline Makes.

Elderflower is very seasonal and so I am also sharing it with Four Seasons Food, hosted by Delicieux and Eat Your Veg.


And finally the theme for this month’s Love Cake challenge, hosted by Jibber Jabber UK is flowers:


Filed under Cheese Recipes

39 responses to “Elderflower Cheesecake

  1. Oh Yum! That was my reaction just to the title. And then I read through it. Now I can hardly wait to try it out. (And I’ll look up your earlier elderflower post, too.) Thanks for the inspiration!!

  2. Love the sound of this recipe, sounds scrumptious, really want to give it a go. Not only a great recipe, but your, erm… ‘modern presentation’ definitely made for an amusing read.

  3. You crack me up, you really do. I did exactly the same thing with a pud I’d spent hours on, incautiously taking it out of the oven using a flexible flapdoodle and flipping it in a perfect parabolic curve so it ended, splat, facedown on the floor. I was scraping bits off the kitchen cupboards for months. I have to say your cheesecake sounds delicious, though, I’ll have to give that a go. And thanks for the link. xxx

  4. Oh, how wonderful, I haven’t laughed this much in a very long time!! And I will try the recipe out, though I fear that the lack of cat hairs might spoil the overall presentation/flavour šŸ™‚ Thanks so much for this post!!

  5. ….the lengths you go to just to appease the little folk! :-0
    Did you curse/cry/gather family and friends with spoons in hand and scoff it from the worktop?
    Presentation’s overrated anyway, huh? I’m sure it tasted de-lish!

    • It was about 7am in the morning. I think I just stared at it for a while. And then, as if by magic, I was suddenly surrounded by small children with outstretched hands…

  6. Cannot believe your elderflower is in bloom already! Way ahead of ours! I love the combination though, may well try this when ours comes out.

  7. I never knew that ‘dropping the cheesecake’ was a thing! I’ve had one fall out the fridge on me. I caught it, but not without consequences. If only I’d have let it fall completely and land in the mish-mash of dog hair, cat hair and other kitchen detritus that lurks on the tiles most of the time . . . there’s always next time.

  8. Thanks for the laugh, I enjoyed the post. Anyone wishing for black or white cat hairs please let me know. I will send many your way.

  9. I think it looks much more interesting in the ramekin! You could have claimed it was deliberate but that wouldn’t have been nearly as entertaining!

  10. Debbie Spivey

    Could you email me some? Would love to try this. Looks yummy!

  11. Despite the somewhat unothodox methodology you still managed to end up with a cheesecake which looks and sounds delicious!

  12. How lovely this sounds! BTW, I made some elderflower cordial last summer while visiting the UK and it was surprisingly good and incredibly easy to make. You need the freshest blossoms……anyone wanting to know how, can find it here among all the other ramblings from my travels šŸ˜‰

  13. Love top trumps (dinosaur version) as garnish! We only have the toy story version – do you think they’d work as well?

  14. Erin

    šŸ™‚ The elderflower at the bottom of my garden (that sounds like my garden is way more than a deck and paving stones and about 45 ft long) is slowly coming into flower…waiting for enough for my elderflower fizz but bookmarking this too!

    • Oooh, lucky you. I got my pickings from the grotty dried-up pond on the common…quite a few Polish beer cans fell on my head in the process šŸ˜‰ Want to try making the fizz and also some fritters.

  15. so THAT is why my house has been full of fairies lately, haven’t made a cheesecake. šŸ˜€

  16. MMMM!! Cheesecake is probably my favorite way to eat cheese. It looks delicious, even post-dropped.

  17. Yes yes yes…cheese AND elderflower…together. Yum šŸ™‚

  18. Pingback: May’s Cheese, Please! Recipe Blog Challenge – Cheeseonal and Seasonal | Fromage Homage

  19. Absolutely delicous combination of elderflower, ginger and lemon. I know several people I shall be recommending this recipe to. I do hope though you made sure you got your full entitlement of good luck when you dropped the base by performing the traditional foot stomp accompanied by the chanting of the four letter words! Thanks for linking up with this month’s Love Cake.

  20. Brilliant post and great save there with the cheesecake. I love the individual portions in the ramekins anyway. Excellent flavour combination and perfect for spring/summer. Thanks for entering AlphaBakes

  21. Pingback: May’s Cheese, Please! Challenge Round-Up – Seasonal and Cheeseonal | Fromage Homage

  22. What a beautiful spring pud recipe, well done you for putting it together. Slightly ashamed I’ve not actually cooked with elderflowers YET but am bookmarking your recipe for sure! Thanks so much for linking up to Four Seasons Food.

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