A trifle always says Christmas to me, as it’s usually the only time I ever make one. This is my take, using a lovely rich ginger cake, splashed with a generous amount of alcohol, layered with a cherry compote and clouds of gorgeous custard cream.
Orange and ginger cake
1 cup golden syrup
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup water
80 grams butter
finely grated zest 1 large orange
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
680-gram jar pitted cherries and their liquid
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 tablespoon liqueur of choice (see below)
250ml purchased custard
liqueur of choice for dousing and for compote: you could use an orange liqueur, amaretto, marsala, rum or whisky
amaretti, for crumbling, and freeze-dried raspberries (optional)
Grease a 33cm x 24cm swiss roll tin and fully line all sides
with baking paper.
Preheat the oven to 160°C fan bake.
Orange and ginger cake: Put the golden syrup, sugar, water, butter and orange zest in a saucepan over a low heat. Stir
until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Set
aside until just warm.
Sift all the dry ingredients into a large bowl, then pour in the golden syrup mixture and whisk until smooth. Pour into the tin and spread evenly.
Bake for 20–25 minutes until lightly golden and risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool.
Cherry compote: Put the cherries and their liquid and the honey in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Mix the cornflour and liqueur until smooth, then stir into the cherries. Simmer for 5 minutes until the juices are lightly thickened. Cool.
To assemble: Whisk the custard and cream together to form soft peaks.
Cut the cake into 3cm squares. Place ⅓ in the base of the trifle bowl and sprinkle with liqueur, then spoon over ⅓ each of the cherries then the cream. Repeat the layering twice more.
Place in the fridge, covered, for at least a couple of hours or overnight for the flavours to meld together. Garnish when ready to serve.
Cook's Note: The cake is best made at least one day ahead of using and keeps well for 4 days in an airtight container.