As with any dish, the better the ingredients, the more delicious the result. For a good trifle, you need a good home-made sponge cake, lovely raspberry jam, a fresh and rich custard and lots of sweet sherry. Softly whipped cream and candied or crystalised fruit and perhaps some roasted almonds complete the picture. In this recipe, I suggest a whisked up sponge. You will not need all of both sponges for the trifle, but the sponge cake recipe works better producing the two sponges as suggested. You can eat the remaining sponge right away filled with raspberry jam and a little softly whipped cream. Assembling the trifles while the custard is still warm makes a world of a difference to the trifles.


Serves 10

  • 1 x sponge cake recipe (see recipe), yields 2 sponges
  • 5 tablespoons raspberry jam homemade raspberry jam


  • 3 eggs, preferably free-range and organic
  • 30g tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1/2teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 350ml full fat milk
  • 120-130ml best quality sweet sherry


  • 400ml whipped cream
  • 10 candied cherries or cherries in syrup
  • 10 diamonds of angelica or candied peel
  • 10 – 20 peeled and toasted almonds

  • 10 x 150ml glasses or cups

Whisked Up Sponge

Serves 8

  • 4 medium eggs, preferably free range
  • 110g castor sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 110g plain white flour

  • 2 x 20.5cm tins


  1. Sandwich the rounds of sponge cake together with the raspberry jam.
  2. Next make the custard. Whisk the eggs with the sugar and vanilla extract until the eggs have paled a little. Heat the milk until it "shivers" and add it to the egg mixture, whisking all the time.
  3. Pour into a heavy clean saucepan and stir over a gentle heat until the custard coats the back of the wooden spoon lightly. I use a flat bottomed wooden spoon. This process takes about 10 minutes so be prepared to stand there stirring until it reaches the correct stage. Don't let it boil or it will curdle. Remove immediately from the eat and transfer into a clean bowl.
  4. Spoon a little custard into the bottom of the glasses. Cut the sponge into pieces c 4cm slices and use these to line the bottom of the glasses, sprinkling generously with half the sherry as you go along.
  5. Pour in half of the custard and then add another layer of sponge pieces. Sprinkle with the rest of the sherry and spread the rest of the custard over the top. Cover and leave for at least overnight in a cold larder or fridge, to mature.
  6. Before serving, spread softly whipped cream over the top of the trifles and decorate with the cherries, candied peel and almonds. If there happens to be a little lemon balm or mint still alive in my garden, I pop a sprig or two of that on top.

Whisked Up Sponge

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4.
  2. Brush the tins carefully with melted butter, dust with flour, cut out a circle of greaseproof paper and fit it neatly onto the base of each tin.
  3. Put the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract into a bowl of a stand mixer and whisk until it is a pale and fluffy mousse. This will take at least 7 minutes. When you lift the whisk, make a figure of 8 on top: it should hold its shape for several seconds.
  4. Put the flour into a sieve and sift gently over the mousse. Fold in the flour with a spatula until all the flour is lightly incorporated.
  5. Turn gently in the prepared tins and bake in the preheated oven, for 20-25 minutes approx., until cooked. Turn out on a wire tray, peel off the greaseproof paper and allow to cool.