“So Odin and his brothers set a ring around the planet out of which grew the magic tree Yggdrasil, which, by spreading it’s branches over the world held it safe for the coming man. Thus the Sybil’s vision says:

I know a tree called Yggdrasil,
tall tree and sacred,
sprinkled with white clay,
thence come the dews,
that fall in the dales;
it stands ever green,
over Destiny’s spring.” *

Tis the height of summer, flowers everywhere droop their sexy coloured parts and the air is thick with seed. The faery King and Queen have passed beneath the Elder tree (as they do each mid-summer’s eve).

Among the ever varied fruits in Odin’s branches, the Elder tree is most highly prized by herbalists – so it’s been for aeons. All of its parts have medicinal properties and there is folklore galore about its lucky, protective boons.

In this thorny paradox, our current ‘elders’ are making new Euro-lores to curb this kind of unlicensed quackery.

It’s a myth, they say.
But isn’t it still ‘true’…
Who to trust: the Elders or the elders…?

It’s all very confusing. Lets make a cake.

How about a sweet, moist, low glycemic index cake infused with the scent of Elderflowers.. Make merry now, they’ll soon be gone.


2 cups almonds, soaked 8 hours
1 cup of soft dates or 1 cup dry dates, soaked 6 hours (save the soak water for a smoothie)
1 tbs mesquite powder

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse lightly so that you have a chunky nut date mix. Roughly spread out the mix onto the bottom of your cake dish – a flat bottomed bowl will work best.

Carrotty middle mix

2 cups of shredded carrot (about 3 big carrots)
Juice of 2 oranges (about 3/4 cup)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tbs melted coconut oil
1 tbs maple syrup (optional)

Marinate the carrot in the orange juice and spices for half an hour then blend the mix in a food processor and add in the coconut oil. This is quiet a wet mix. if you want a more traditional doughy cake try adding 1/2 – 1 cup of ground oat groats. You may need a pinch of salt and another tbs of maple syrup if you do this.

Spread the carrot mix over the base mix. The idea is that the layers will combine rather than be completely distinct from one another.

The icing

1 cup cashews, soaked
5 tbs melted coconut oil
1 cup elderflower water (see below)
3 tbs lemon juice
3 tbs maple syrup
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon zest

First make elderflower water. I used 6 heads of fresh flowers in 2 cups of fresh water and let them infuse for about 8 hours (best in the sun).

Blend it all up in the blender til it’s a silky smooth, liquid cream. Pour it on the cake and leave it to set in the fridge (3 – 4 hours).

We’ve also got a recipe for Elderflower Gooseberry fool in the summer edition of Inspired Times magazine. See http://www.inspiredtimesmagazine.com for stockists.

* Text from the extraordinarilybrilliant ‘Forest Farming’ by J.Sholto Douglas & Robert A de J Hart, poem from the ancient Norse Sagas.