- 1. Start with the 20cm/8-inch sponges. Preheat the oven to 160Cfan/180C/300F.
- 2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the sugar and gently mix together with a wooden spoon.
- 3. In a separate bowl, pour in the milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, oil and elderflower cordial.
- 4. Pour this slowly into the bowl with the flour and sugar and mix until combined, but do not over mix.
- 5. Grease and line three 20cm/8-inch tins. To make sure the mixture is evenly distributed you can weigh each tin. Tap the pans gently on the work surface to release air bubbles.
- 6. Place in the oven for 40 minutes. To check the cakes are done, place a skewer in the middle and if it comes out clean, it’s done. The sponges will be lightly browned and beginning to pull away from the sides.
- 7. Leave to cool on the cooling rack for 10 minutes before taking out the tins.
- 8. Repeat for the 26cm/10inch sponges and bake for 50 minutes.
- 9. If you want to do this in advance you can freeze the sponges. Once they are completely cool, leave the baking parchment on the bottom and wrap tightly in cling film. Place in the freezer on a flat surface and take them out to defrost the night before you need them.
- 10. Make the buttercream frosting by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl, if it is quite soft leave it in the fridge for an hour before using.
- 11. Make the biscuits. Preheat the oven to 160C fan/180C/300F. Place the vegan butter at room temperature into a bowl with the sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the golden syrup and treacle and mix. Then add the spices, flour and baking powder and mix until it forms a ball, you may need to use your hands.
- 12. Roll into a ball then place in some cling film and place in the fridge to firm up. When its firmer, cover a chopping board with cling film, place the dough on top and then place the cling film it was wrapped in on top. This will make it easier to roll out the dough.
- 13. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out animal shapes and place on a lined or greased baking sheet.
- 14. Place in the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes. They are cooked when they are beginning to brown on the edges. Leave to cool and then transfer to a cooling rack. To ice, mix 4 tbsp icing with a splash of water. Use a spoon or small piping bag to ice the biscuits.
- 15. Once all your sponges are ready, you will need to cut the tops off. They should have cooked with a fairly flat top but they will need levelling. It's best to do this with a cake leveller to make sure it is even, but you can use a serrated knife. Make sure you have the cakes on a flat surface and then cut the sponges to the same height.
- 16. Place one of the larger sponges on a cake board with a little buttercream underneath to help it stick. Generously spoon some buttercream on top and smooth out right to the edges using a palette knife. Repeat with next two sponges, making sure they are stacked on top carefully (use the cake lifter you if have one).
- 17. Once all three sponges are iced and stacked, spoon some extra buttercream onto the sides until it is fully covered. Then using the palette knife vertically scrape the buttercream so you are getting rid of excess buttercream. You will start to get the naked icing effect like the pictures. Continue all the way round, scraping excess buttercream into a separate bowl.
- 18. Place 4-5 rods in the cake, cutting them to the size required.
- 19. Repeat with the smaller sponges and then carefully place on top of the larger tier.
- 20. Decorate with the biscuits and rosemary. For the trees, place the rosemary upside down.
Recipe created by @cupfulofkale
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