A trifle delicious!

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Summer is very nearly here – well, there is a smidgeon of sunshine and we Brits need to take what we can get while we can!

These cupcakes just scream sunny days, BBQ’s and long, lazy evenings.

For a cupcake, these were a lot more work – cutting out circular sections, filling with a raspberry and jam and custard (which you make yourself) and then piping more custard on top.

But, they were extremely worth all the effort and the wait, as they take a lot longer to assemble.

One tester said it was just like eating a miniature trifle – and you can’t get better praise than that!

My custard went a little runny and didn’t stay as stiff as I would have liked. There was no way I was getting the Hummingbird swirl with this. I think my problem was being too cautious at the boiling stage and not wanting to burn the custard, so I would just warn you about this.

Apart from this, these were easy enough but they do need to be eaten on the day of frosting – I’m sure you won’t get any protestations with this piece of advice!

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Chocolate Orange Cake – it’s all mine!

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Every year at Christmas, since I can remember, my mum has bought me a Chocolate Orange and put it in my stocking.

I love the taste of chocolate with orange, so when I saw a recipe for this and there wasn’t one of the Christmas treats included in the recipe I was sceptical that it would live up to its name.

But, boy, did this cake pack a punch! It was delicious and not something that should be kept in reserve for the festive season.

I doubled the recipe below to get enough sponge and frosting for a four-sponge chocolate cake. I used 20cm round tins and cooked the sponges for 20-25minutes.

You can also use this recipe for cupcakes – use the amount below and it should make around 20-21 muffin-size cakes.

Ingredients:

SPONGE

70g unsalted butter (softened)

210g caster sugar

105g soft light brown sugar (I used normal white sugar and didn’t feel it detracted from the final result.)

2 large eggs

1tsp vanilla essence

1tbsp finely grated orange zest

255g plain flour

50g cocoa powder

2tsp baking powder

1/4tsp salt

240ml whole milk

FROSTING

600g icing sugar

100g unsalted butter softened

250g full fat cream cheese (only use Philadelphia)

60g cocoa powder

3tsp finely grated orange zest

Method:

FOR THE SPONGE

Preheat oven to 190ºc.

Using an electric hand held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment cream together the butter and both types of sugar until pale and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs one at a time on a medium speed, followed by the vanilla essence and orange zest.

Sift together the remaining ingredients, then add to the creamed mixture in three batches with the milk alternating between each and mixing on a low speed.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition, and once everything has been incorporated, raise the speed to medium and continue beating until the batter is well mixed and smooth.

Divide the mixture between each tin. I also lined each tin first.

Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the sponges spring back when you gently press them.

Allow to cool for a short while in the tin, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

TO MAKE THE FROSTING

Whisk the icing sugar with the butter on a low speed, using either an electric whisk or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until crumbley in texture and no large lumps of butter remain.

Add the cream cheese and cocoa powder and continue to mix, on a medium speed, until the frosting is smooth and light.

Add the orange zest and stir by hand.

Trim the sponges so that they are even and flat. I usually chill the cakes for 20 minutes beforehand to reduce the amount of crumbs.

Chill the sponges again after cutting and before frosting. After the chilling, put a reasonable layer of frosting between the sponges and layer up the cake.

Using a spatula put more frosting around the sides and on the top of the cake and smooth it. Do not use all the frosting at this stage – it is just a crumb coat. Chill the cake again for 20 minutes before final layer of frosting.

Finally slap on the last lots of frosting with a spatula smooth around and then decorate however you would like. I used my spatula blade to make lines up the side and swirl on the top.

Happy decorating!

This keeps for about three days in an airtight container in a cool place. But I defy anyone who has made this cake to have any left at the end of this time!