Where better to start in this journey than my own home country – England! From the outset this cake seemed like it would be a simple one to design due to the prevalence of puddings in English food culture – aside from roast beef, old-fashioned puddings are surely what our country is famous for! After wavering between several choices, I finally settled on sherry trifle as the basis for this cake (based in no small measure on the fact that it is my favourite dessert!)
This classic dessert lends itself well to adapting into cake form, as the pudding itself combines layers of sherry-soaked sponge, jam, fruit, custard and cream. My version consists of a vanilla sponge cake soaked with sherry, filled with custard and jelly, before being topped with whipped cream and decorated with fresh raspberries and flaked almonds. The fruit and toppings could be altered according to your taste – an orange and chocolate version would also be delicious!
I have given instructions here for using packet jelly, due to the ease of access. However, this would also work well with homemade jelly. If you are using packet jelly you muse ensure that it is fully set before placing the cake on top as otherwise the jelly will soak into the cake. You can make the jelly separately and add to the cake, but this can cause difficulties as I found when I had to flip a layer of jelly from a frying pan onto the top of the cake!
Sherry Trifle Cake
- 12oz butter/margerine
- 12oz caster sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 3 tsp vanilla essence
- 12oz plain flour
- 4.5 level tsp baking powder
- 10 tbsp sweet sherry
- 425ml milk
- 1 vanilla pod
- 5 egg yolks
- 110g caster sugar
- 2 level tbsp plain flour
- 1 level tbsp cornflower
- 10g butter
- 1 packet of strawberry jelly
- 1 pint of cold water
- 2 punnets of raspberries
- Flaked almonds to decorate
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5. Grease one 10in round baking tin and set aside.
Cream together the butter and the sugar until pale. Add in the eggs, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat into the mixture. Sift the flour and the baking powder into the mixture, and fold in until completely combined.
Divide the mixture in half and pour each portion into the two prepared tins. Bake in the oven for 50 minutes, turning the tins after 30 minutes to ensure a consistent colour. Test the cakes with a skewer or sharp knife; if the skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake it is properly baked, otherwise return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.
Remove the cakes from the oven, and whilst warm, use a sharp knife to make small slits in the top of each cake. Pour 5 tbsp of sherry over each cake, ensuring an even coating. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tins and set aside to cool completely.
Make the jelly up according to the instructions on the packet. Line one of the cake tins with cling film, ensuring no gaps, and pour in the jelly mixture. Leave to set overnight in the fridge.
Using a sharp knife, cut a thin layer off the top of each cake to ensure a flat surface, and then turn the cakes upside down. Place the cake into the pan on top of the cooled jelly, and quickly flip the pan upside down, so the cake is underneath. Remove the pan and the clingfilm from the cake
The Crème Patisserie
Put the milk and vanilla pod in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Take it off the heat and pour it into a bowl, allowing the vanilla pod to infuse the milk. Mix together the sugar and egg yolks until the mixture is pale and thick. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk and discard. Slowly add the milk to the mixture, whisking constantly. Add the flour and cornflower, continuing to whisk the mixture. Return to the pan and bring to the boil, before reducing the heat and simmering the mixture for three minutes, stirring continuously. Remove the mixture from the heat immediately and place into a bowl, covering with a sheet of greased baking parchment to prevent a skin from forming. Leave to cool completely.
Assembling the Cake
Add a layer of crème patisserie onto to the bottom cake, and placing the second cake on top. If any filling spills out this can be removed by using a knife to trim away the excess. Place back in the fridge to chill. Just before you wish to serve the cake, whip the cream and spread on the top of the cake. Decorate with toasted flaked almonds and raspberries.