The last two weekends the UK has been hit by storms, first storm Ciara and then storm Dennis, battering winds, floods, the only thing to do is stay in and bake a Vegan Victoria Sponge Cake, light lots of candles and snuggle down with a cup of tea and a slice of cake.

I have to confess here that even though my friend Andy thinks I have an addiction to buying books, I also have an addiction for candles !!! I have Jo Malone ones, White Company ones, anything from tea lights, pillar candles to birthday cake candles I have them all, but now I have found the most fabulous company that makes pure candles at a great price and smell as good as my really expensive ones. How often have you spent money on a candle and then been disappointed by the scent ??? I have brought 8 so far and intend on trying every scent, they are absolutely delicious, just like my cake.

I have brought so many, (the above photo is my collection so far) not just for me, but also as gifts, they are just soooooo good, everyone loves them. Here is the website, I would feel bad if I kept this little gem to myself or should I say this little glow….

Anyway, back to the cake, which is definitely worth a mention, luckily I took photos straight away as Luca demolished it, it was that good. I am so happy that I am finding such great alternatives to another of my addictions… CAKE!!!

Buon Appetito

Note : The candles all smell amazing, just lit the Parma Violet one, it smells just like the sweets, I am in candle paradise.

300ml dairy-free milk almond, oat etc.. as always I used Koko coconut

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

325g self-raising flour

200g caster sugar

150g Crisco or Trex (solid vegetable baking fat) , plus extra for greasing

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

For the filling

100g Crisco or Trex (solid vegetable baking fat) – I used Koko Dairy Free Spread150g) powdered icing sugar sifted

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 tbsp strawberry jam

Caster sugar to decorate.

Heat oven to 180C/350F. Lightly grease 2 x 20cm (8″) round cake tins and line the bottoms with baking parchment.

Stir the vinegar or lemon juice into the dairy-free milk and leave for a few minutes to curdle slightly and create ‘buttermilk’.

In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, TREX (or what ever you are using), vanilla, baking powder and buttermilk and beat (with a wooden spoon or electric mixer) until smooth. Take care not to over mix.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 25 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean (I have learnt that vegan cakes take the time said in the recipe or maybe even a little longer, test with a skewer and try not to be impatient like I am, I rushed mine and got it out a little to soon).

Allow to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For the filling:

Beat the TREX (what ever you are using), icing sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. If the mixture is too thick, add a tablespoon of dairy-free milk. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a plain nozzle (or spread messily with a knife like I did, it still tastes amazing either way !!!)

To assemble:

Spread the jam over the bottom layer of the completely cooled cake. Pipe the buttercream over the jam, or as above just chuck it on, then place the second layer of cake over the top.