Citrus trifle cake with orange blossom pastry cream and blood orange jelly– a delicious, fragrant take on traditional English trifle.
I hear, I hear you… trifle is a Christmas dessert – what are you thinking posting the recipe in January? Well… this cake was actually baked on Boxing day and I fully intended to post the recipe during the festive period. But I never got the timing right – I had so many other festive leftover recipes to post at the same that the poor cake got left behind. Rather than keep it under wraps until next Christmas, I decided to share the recipe now while citrus fruit is still in season. It would be simply AMAZING made with blood oranges!
The inspiration for this recipe came from the beautiful Indulgent Cakes book which I highly recommend. But while I loved the look of the recipe, I made it my own – only using the orange jelly from the book. If I am completely honest, the jelly is the most complicated part about this cake and not worth making unless you are a huge fan. The recipe makes a lot of jelly but I only used a tiny portion – made in my star-shaped ice-cube tin. So feel free to either skip or perhaps buy some orange jelly pots and use them instead.
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Like traditional English trifle, this cake has pastry cream, whipped cream, fruit and a generous splash of alcohol (soaked into the cake). It is incredibly delicious and refreshing, not to mention really pretty. It would definitely be welcome at Christmas time as an alternative to all the rich dried fruit puddings, but it looks so fresh that it deserves a space at your spring table. Trifle cake for Easter perhaps?
The recipe has lots of different elements and if you plan on serving it for a special occasion I would advise you to make the pastry cream and jelly at least a day in advance. The cake can also be made one or two days ahead as it keeps beautifully. Make sure to segment the oranges and grapefruit – they look so much prettier and taste so much better if you take the trouble to remove the white pith.
- For the cake
- <span></span>165g | 5.8oz plain flour minus 1 tbsp +1 tbsp cornflour cornstarch
- 2 tbsp fine semolina
- <span></span>165g | 5.8oz caster sugar
- ½ tbsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- <span></span>100g | 3.5oz cold unsalted butter cubed
- 2 large eggs
- <span></span>100g | 3.5oz whole milk
- 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp orange blossom water
- zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
- a little butter and flour to grease the cake tin
- For the pastry cream
- <span></span>375ml | 12 fl oz whole milk
- 2 large eggs
- <span></span>100g | 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 4 tbsp cornflour cornstarch
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tsp orange blossom water
- couple drops orange food colouring optional
- Blood orange jelly
- <span></span>Optional - you can skip or use store-bought jelly instead
- 6 titanium strength gelatine leaves or 8 platinum
- <span></span>480ml | 2 cups blood orange juice strained (I used store-bough juice)
- <span></span>150g | 5 1/2oz caster sugar
- <span></span>240ml | 1 cup dessert wine
- Whipped cream
- <span></span>300ml | 10fl oz double heavy cream
- <span></span>150g | 5 1/2oz icing sugar
- 2 tsp orange blossom water
- Syrup to soak cake
- <span></span>120ml | 4fl oz strained orange juice
- <span></span>100g | 3 1/2 oz caster sugar
- <span></span>3-4 tbsp orange liqueur such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier
- To top and decorate
- 3 oranges
- 1 ruby grapefruit
- 2-3 tbsp flaked almonds
- meringue kisses optional
- <span></span>Make the jelly. Soak the gelatine leaves in ice-cold water to soften. Heat the juice and sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Squeeze water out of gelatine and add to the saucepan. Stir until it dissolves and add the wine. Pour into a 20x30cm (8x12in) tin and chill overnight. I used a star-shaped ice cube tray to create the jelly stars.
- Make the pastry cream. In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornflour, eggs, orange blossom water and food colouring using a balloon whisk.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk until small bubbles appear along the edge of the pan. Do not allow it to boil.
- Gradually pour the hot milk into the bowl while whisking to avoid curdling the eggs.
- Pour back into the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes until cream thickens. Take off the heat and stir in the butter until it is incorporated.
- <span></span>Transfer the pastry cream into a bowl and place cling film directly on the surface to stop a skin from forming. Snip a small hole on the clingfilm to allow steam to escape and chill for at least 2 hours or, ideally, overnight.
- <span></span>Make the cake. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Grease a 18cm (7in) deep springform cake tin, line with greased baking paper and dust with flour shaking out any excess.
- Sift all the dry ingredients (flour, cornflour, sugar, semolina, baking powder/soda and salt) and add them to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to mix together.
- Add the cubed butter and pulse again until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add the eggs and process for a minute until well incorporated.
- Mix the milk, juice, orange blossom, vanilla extract and zest together in a measuring jug.
- Gradually pour into the processor through the feeding tube and process together until you have an evenly mixed batter. Stop the mixer and use a spatula to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure the batter is thoroughly mixed.
- Transfer the batter to the tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the cake is firm on top and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool completely before filling.
- Cut a small crater into the centre of the cake (and eat the piece you take out!).
- Make the syrup: heat the orange juice and sugar in a small saucepan until sugar dissolves. Stir in the alcohol and the brush over the cake - liberally soaking the middle and letting the syrup drip down the sides.
- Segment the oranges and grapefruit: top and tail the fruit and then place cut side down on a cutting board. Use a small sharp knife to slice the peel and pith off the fruit - it's ok to remove a bit of the flesh also. Hold the fruit over a bowl and then cut either side of each segment to remove the membrane. Pat dry with kitchen towel and set aside.
- Whisk the double cream, icing sugar and orange blossom water until you have soft peaks.
- Fill the crater in cake with pastry cream and then spread or pipe some around the edge of the cake.
- Arrange the fruit around the perimeter of the cake in concentric circle.
- Turn the jelly out of the tin into a tray lined with baking paper. Cut into cubes (or shapes using cookie cutters). You will have extra - the recipe makes a lot!
- Pile the whipped cream on top of the cake. Add some jelly cubes, sprinkle with the flaked almonds and add meringue kisses (optional). Serve immediately.
Best eaten on the day it is assembled. If you make the elements in advance do not assemble until you are ready to serve.
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