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THE ULTIMATE VEGAN WEDDING CAKE

Celebrate the Royal Wedding by baking a vegan version of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's cake!

THE ULTIMATE VEGAN WEDDING CAKE
In honour of the upcoming royal wedding, PETA's Great Vegan Bake-Off winner Maisie Stedman has created a vegan version of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's spring-inspired lemon and elderflower wedding cake. The three-tiered, cruelty-free masterpiece features layers of light and fluffy lemon sponge coated with elderflower syrup, finished with rustic 'buttercream' icing, and adorned with fresh spring flowers. Check out Obviously Vegan for more from Maisie!
ROYAL LEMON AND ELDERFLOWER CAKE

FOR THE LEMON SPONGE:
2.5kg self-raising flour
1.5kg caster sugar
4 tbsp baking powder
zest of 8 lemons
2.5l non-dairy milk
1l vegetable oil
200ml Elderflower Syrup (recipe below)

1 Preheat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease and line six deep, round cake tins (two 25cm in diameter, two 20cm, and two 15cm).
2 Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and lemon zest in a very large bowl.
3 Pour in the non-dairy milk and oil, stirring until everything is combined.
4 Divide the batter among the tins, filling each one to the same level. Tap them all on the work surface to pop any bubbles, then place in the oven.
5 After 45 minutes, remove the 15cm sponges and insert a skewer into each. If it comes out clean, allow to cool. If not, return the sponges to the oven and test again every five minutes. Inevitably, your larger sponges will take longer to bake (around one hour for the 20cm ones and one hour and 15 minutes for the 25cm ones) but be sure to keep an eye on them, as all ovens are different.
6 Once all the sponges are baked, use a pastry brush to cover them with a generous layer of warm Elderflower Syrup.
7 Allow to cool a little in the tins before transferring to a wire rack.
8 Make sure the sponges have cooled all the way through before attempting to assemble your cake. If you have time, wrap them in clingfilm and allow to rest overnight.

FOR THE ELDERFLOWER SYRUP:
300g sugar
350ml elderflower cordial

1 In a saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the cordial and bring to the boil.
2 Simmer for a few minutes until slightly thickened and then remove from the heat.

FOR THE LEMON AND ELDERFLOWER CURD:
175ml lemon juice
75ml elderflower cordial
125ml water
250g caster sugar
65g cornflour
150ml soya cream
20g vegan butter
1 pinch salt

1 In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, cordial, water, and caster sugar.
2 Place the cornflour in a small saucepan and stir in the lemon mixture a tablespoonful at a time.
3 Pop your mixture on the hob and bring to the boil. Heat for around one minute – it should turn thick and glossy.
4 Remove from the heat and stir in the soya cream, vegan butter, and salt. Allow to cool, pop in a container, and refrigerate until needed.

FOR THE ICING:
1kg vegan butter
2kg icing sugar
6-9 tbsp Lemon and Elderflower Curd (recipe above)

1 In a very large bowl, beat the vegan butter with an electric whisk to soften.
2 Add 1kg of icing sugar, and mix by hand to begin with to avoid covering your kitchen with icing sugar, then beat with the electric whisk.
3 Add the remaining icing sugar and beat until fluffy. Whisk in the Lemon and Elderflower Curd, two tablespoonfuls at a time, being careful not to add too much – you want the icing to be firm enough to support your cake. If it becomes too soft, add a little more icing sugar.

FOR THE ASSEMBLY:
2x 15cm, 2x 20cm, and 2x 25cm cake boards
2x 15cm, 2x 20cm, and 2x 25cm Lemon Sponges
400ml Elderflower Syrup
3 tbsp Lemon and Elderflower Curd
Icing
8 cake dowels
fresh flowers

1 First off, cut a thin layer off the top and bottom of each sponge in order to get rid of any crust and create a nice flat surface. Carefully trim the sides as well.
2 Slice each sponge widthways through the centre so that you have four even rounds of each size.
3 Spread a little icing over a 15cm cake board.
4 Top with one sponge of the same size, brush over some of your Elderflower Syrup, add a thin layer of Lemon and Elderflower Curd, and spread with some icing. Repeat twice, then place the final 15cm sponge on top, cover the stack with clingfilm, and place in the fridge or freezer to firm up.
5 Repeat the steps above with the 20cm and 25cm cake boards and sponges.
6 Once your cake layers are firm, cover the tops with icing and press a cake board, silver side down, on top. Make sure your top and bottom boards align. Smooth icing around the sides of the layers using a scraper or palette knife. Chill again to firm up.
7 Run a knife carefully around the cake board 'lids' to pop them off. Some icing may come away – just smooth some more over the top.
8 Coat each layer with extra icing, then run the tip of a palette knife around the sides to create a pretty, rustic effect.
9 To prevent any of the layers from collapsing, you'll need to dowel the 20cm and 25cm sponges. Place a 15cm cake board on the 25cm layer, use a toothpick to make tiny holes around the circumference, then remove the board. Run a dowel straight down through the centre of the layer to the board, mark with a pencil the point where it emerges from the top, remove it, cut it at the mark, and trim three other dowels to the same length. Place one back into the centre and insert the others as far apart as possible within the toothpick marks. Repeat for the 20cm layer.
10 Finally, simply stack your cakes and adorn with fresh flowers.

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