Dandelion Cake with Elderflower liqueur & Lemon zest Icing, Vegan, Dairy Free, Gluten Free

By Crystal Baldwin

Nothing says it's spring like the sunny, little yellow faces of dandelions springing up!  These sweet flowers are so important as they are the first source of food for our precious bees and other pollinators. 

For some, dandelions signify a battle in the yard that is about to ensue- but wait!  Don't fight dandelions...            EAT THEM! 

Why we love all other flowers (and purchase and plant them) and hate dandelions that grow freely is still beyond me.  However, what I do know is that dandelions are amazing plants and highly nutritious.  

Did you know that you can eat every part of the dandelion?  Yup, that's right, the flowers, the green leaves and the root.  All parts are beneficial to our health helping with everything from heart health, lowering cholesterol, stabilizing blood sugar and blood pressure - the list goes on and on. 

The leaves are one of the most nutritious, dense green on the planet.  Packed with fiber, vitamins A, B, K, E and folate.  Plus B vitamins, potassium, iron, manganese, calcium and protein.  Not to mention loads of fiber.  Move over spinach and kale, dandelions are in the hood! 

The roots are also amazing plant medicine. Also high in fiber as well as vitamins A, K and C, they help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Recent studies have shown it to help with the reduction of certain kinds of cancers. So, switch out that coffee a few days a week and drink some roots!

High in antioxidants, the roots of the dandelion are wonderful at helping to filter toxins from your liver and kidneys and help to cleanse the gallbladder.  How to eat it?  Throw it in soups, stir fry or stews or try our wonderful coffee replacement Roasted Roots (which includes chicory and burdock root). 

Dandelion Flowers

Today however, we are focusing on the beautiful, bright yellow flowers! These flowers have a higher antioxidant level than either the roots or leaves and are loaded with polyphenols.  

Polyphenols are important as they help in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.  The flowers are loaded with vitamins A and B12.  Dandelion flowers also help support the immune system and reduce inflammation.

Yummy foods can be made with the lovely dandelion flowers- try dandelion fritters, dandelion lemon marmalade, dandelion tea, sprinkle the petals on your salad or how about some - Dandelion Cake?

Today's recipe is missing all the not so good for you stuff, such as gluten, dairy and eggs (yes, its vegan too) but trust me you won't miss any of it!  It is so incredibly moist and light in flavor you won't believe those "weeds" from your front yard taste that good! Be sure your flowers are not sprayed with pesticides or come from a yard that is fertilized.  Those are not things we want to eat. 

Plus, I topped this cake off with magical icing that includes St. Germain elderflower liqueur and lemon zest (check out the blog post) for a unique flavor I'm sure you haven't had in icing before.  If you want to skip the liquor, use lemon juice instead.  However, I highly suggest it for this particular cake.  Oh yea, I also have some St. Germain in the cake as well!   

So, eat and drink your cake and make love, not war with those yellow beauties in your front yard!



Dandelion Cake with Elderflower Liqueur &            Lemon Zest Icing

Vegan, Dairy & Gluten Free

Cake Ingredients:

3 Cups GF all-purpose Flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill 1:1)

2 Teaspoons baking soda

1 Cup Coconut Sugar

1 Cup Brown Sugar

½ Teaspoon Sea salt

1 ¾ Cup Soy Milk or milk of choice

2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar

¼ Cup Lemon Juice

1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

2/3 Cup Vegan Butter

¼ Cup St. Germain Elderflower liqueur

1 Cup Dandelion Petals (green parts removed) plus more for decorating

Zest of 1 lemon

For Icing

1 Stick of butter (or vegan butter of choice)

3 ½ Cups Powdered Sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla

¼ Cup Soy Milk or milk of choice

¼ Cup St. Germain Elderflower liqueur- can add more to taste

2 Tablespoons or more of Lemon Zest (to taste)

 Preparing the Dandelions:

  1. Pick the flowers in the morning and prep them right away (be aware that the flowers will close up at night or without sunlight and you will be unable to separate the peals).
  2. Pick flowers that are fully open without any brown on the flowers. Give the flowers a tap to send pollinators on their way. Bring them inside and lay them out to let the rest of the pollinators crawl away. 
  3. Then, give the flowers a quick rinse and pat dry with paper towels.  Gather the petals together between your fingers, holding the green bract on the back.  Gently pull the flower petals leaving the green portions behind (the green will taste bitter).  Spread them out on a paper towel to let even more buggies escape.  Set aside.

 Directions for Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and grease & flour two 8- inch pans, line with parchment paper to avoid sticking
  2. In a medium bowl blend together the milk, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice. Stir and set aside. This mixture will curdle making a homemade vegan buttermilk – Yum!
  3. In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking soda & salt, stir to mix well, then add the sugars and stir again
  4. Add the milk mixture, vanilla, St. Germain Elderflower liqueur & butter to flour mixture – blend until smooth
  5. Fold in lemon zest and dandelion petal, stirring with a spoon (you can use mixer for a short period of time too)
  6. Pour into greased & floured pans and bake for 30-40 minutes, check with toothpick to be sure it doesn’t get dry
  7. Remove from heat and cool completely on racks. Once cooled, split each cake and layer frosting between each layer

 Directions for icing:

  1. Mix butter, milk, powdered sugar, vanilla, St. Germain Elderflower liquor - beat until smooth
  2. Next add lemon zest & mix until fully incorporated. Ice cake once it is cooled. Store in the fridge

Watch Here

Notes – This cake is dense which makes it easy to cut.  The elderflower liqueur creates a unique flavor in the frosting, which is scrumptious, but if you would prefer to skip it, replace with lemon juice. Serve with a little glass of liqueur!

1 Response


June 18, 2023

I loved this cake! I made it for a birthday celebration for a close friend, and she loved it. The St. Germain added a perfect floral sweetness to go with the slightly warm earthiness of the cake. Awesome bake, and super easy!

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