A dessert not to be trifled with

This year, we decided to opt for a retro classic in the Salford Kitchen to follow Christmas dinner, instead of Christmas pudding. Layers of peaches and raspberries and vegan jelly, homemade sponge soaked with sherry and fruit juice, topped with homemade vanilla custard, whipped cream and flaked almonds. The recipes for the sponges and custard are from Delia Smith’s Complete Illustrated Cookery Course. This was a delicious if very naughty and decadent dessert!


Serves 6 – 8

For the sponges:

  • 110g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 110g room temperature butter or soft margarine
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2-3 drops vanilla essence

For the custard:

  • 275ml double cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 level teaspoon cornflour
  • 1 level tablespoon caster sugar
  • 2 drops pure vanilla essence

To decorate:

  • 275ml double cream
  • 50g flaked almonds, lightly toasted


  1. The day before, make up the jelly mix as per the packet instructions, and put into the refrigerator overnight so that it can set.
  2. The next day, start by making the sponges. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 3, 325°F (170°C). Lightly grease and line two 7-inch (18cm) sponge tins with greaseproof paper.
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl, holding the sieve high to give the flour a good airing. Add all the other ingredients to the bowl, and whisk them – preferably with an electric hand whisk or stand mixer – until thoroughly combined. If the mixture doesn’t drop off a wooden spoon easily when tapped on the side of the bowl, then add 1 or 2 teaspoons of tap-warm water, and whisk again.
  4. Divide the cake mixture between the two prepared tins, level them off and bake on the centre shelf of the oven for about 30 minutes. When cooked leave them in the tins for only about 30 seconds, then loosen the edges by sliding a palette knife all around and turn them out onto a wire cooling rack.
  5. When cool, carefully peel off the base papers. Pour half the sherry into a wide-bottomed dish then place one of the sponge cakes inside, so that it can soak up the liquid. Place the other sponge cake on top then drizzle the rest of the sherry over the top.
  6. To make the custard, thoroughly blend the egg yolks, cornflour, sugar and vanilla together in a small heatproof basin. Heat the cream in a small saucepan up to boiling point, then pour into the egg mixture – stirring all the time – and return the mixture to the saucepan. Heat very gently (still stirring) until the sauce has thickened, which should only take a minute or two, then set aside to cool.
  7. Lightly toast the almonds, then set aside to cool. Meanwhile, assemble the trifle.
  8. Arrange the fruit in the bottom of large glass bowl. Cut the set jelly into squares, and then layer over the fruit. Place the sponge cakes on top of the fruit and jelly mixture, drizzling the sponges with the reserved fruit juice. Pour the custard over the sponge cakes.
  9. Whip the cream for 1 minute until soft and fluffy, using an electric hand whisk or stand mixer. Spread it evenly over the top and decorate with the flaked almonds.
  10. Serve the trifle immediately, or keep chilled in the fridge until ready to serve.

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