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Cherry, Orange and Ginger Trifle

Serves 8-10
Prep time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 40 mins

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
  • pinch salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • Cherry compote
  • 680-gram jar pitted cherries and their liquid
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon liqueur of choice (see below)
  • To assemble
  • 250ml purchased custard
  • 300ml cream
  • 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)
View the method

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.

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