The Trifling Cake

Maybe it is our Wartime Garden that has given us the bug for all things vintage but sometimes a little retro does you good. We are Pig fans of cake (notice the Pig rather than the Big) and nothing brings out the competitiveness in our nature as a bake off. Carol and I have been baking, I wanted to recreate the tastes of my childhood for Little D and Carol wanted to do something with goat's cheese. Enough said about the goat's cheese cake, that may come another day, on a more austere day but now let's all bow down to the mighty girth and sweetness of The Pig Row Trifle Cake.

This is the big daddy of cakes, the 80s trifle cake.

You may have seen trifle cakes on the web before, type it into any search engine and thousands of versions will tumble on to your tongue. Here is how we do it.

Cakes can take you back, this is a time travelling cake back to the 80s.

250g unsalted butter
220g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
80ml milk
300g self raising flour
1 pint of Bird's custard
1 tin of fruit cocktail (in fruit juice)
1 packet of jelly 
Double cream for whipping
1 flake

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4. Then line the base of a springform baking tin with baking paper. You do this by cutting a square the same size as your baking tin, then folding the paper in half and then half again to make a square, then with a pair of scissors on the edges with no folds cut a crescent, when unfolded this will give you a circle that should fit snuggly in the tin OR you could do as I did, try drawing it out with a felt pen only to be told that that would cook into the sponge by a smug Carol. Never underestimate the smugness of someone who bakes cakes regularly. This is my first in 25 years. The last time I baked one it was the 80s and I was in a Home Economics class and a had a step haircut aka Happy Mondays look. Make the sponge 48 hours before the final serving. To make the sponge beat together the butter (which should be a room temperature), sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. I did this with a fork, it was hard work but it allowed me to get in plenty of air and you need that at this stage. You could use an electric whisk but ours is broken and we keep forgetting to buy a new one, that's why it took me 45 minutes to whip the cream by hand. Funnily enough cream doesn't whip faster when sworn at. Beat the eggs together in a jug and then add to the butter, sugar and vanilla essence gradually. If it looks like it may curdle, add some of the flour and beat like Metal Mickey should have been beaten each time he screwed up. Beat in the milk. Then stir the flour in with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth and combined, this may take time and I did this whilst watching weekend night television. It is a wonderful way to take your criticism out on TV scheduling. Spoon in to the springform baking tin, we use a springform tin as there is no way in hell that you will get this out of a normal baking tin as when finished it weighs more than Big Daddy - the cake and Metal Mickey are not the only 80s reference in this method. Make sure the mixture is level and put in the preheated oven. Now, it should bake for 30 minutes but we baked ours in a 24cm springform tin and it took around 50 minutes. You should test after 25 minutes with a skewer, we use dried spaghetti pasta, poking it into the cake. If the cake is not cooked after 30 minutes and the top is browning, turn down the oven to 160c and sit in the kitchen watching it like you once watched The Banana Splits Adventure Hour (those 80s references will keep on coming) occasionally poking it with the pasta until it comes away clean. Leave for 20-30 minutes to cool before turning out onto a wire rack to completely cool. Then wrap in tin foil and leave for the night.

The final trifle cake and how to make it in that 80s style.

One day before final serving, slice the sponge cake into three layers with a bread knife. Line the same springform tin, which you should have really cleaned by now unless there was a back to back marathon of A team, Wonder Woman and bloody Metal Mickey, with tin foil, wrap it around the outside of the tin too. The idea is top stop any leakage. Place the bottom sponge into the now lined tin. Make up a pint of Bird's custard, do it in the microwave, this is an 80s cake and everyone used a microwave in the 80s - that's why we all glow today. Leave it to cool for 8-10 minutes, stir occasionally to stop a skin forming, we all know that was the nicest bit on school puddings but we don't want it here. Then pour over the bottom sponge in the lined tin. Don't make fresh custard, it won't set firm enough and we want retro authenticity here. We want bright yellow. Allow the custard to level and add the middle sponge to the tin, press down gently onto the custard. Put the cake into the fridge for 3 hours or until the custard is firm (which anyone knows who lived in the 80s was the time it took you to go from the sofa to the front door and back again because you had to answer it to that dipstick of a mate of your's who didn't understand that you didn't play out until after tea, he was called Kevin or as I knew him, Kevin the Custard Killer). Now make the jelly, you want just under a pint of this. Pour some of the jelly mix onto the sponge in the springform lined caked tin. Chill for around 5 minutes in the fridge, open the fruit cocktail and in true 80s style drink the juice (nothing is wasted). Pour the fruit on the sponge, level and top off with the remains of the jelly and then place the final sponge layer on top, cover it with foil and place in the fridge. I used a butter dish to weigh it all down to prevent the layers peeling away from each other. Leave over night. One hour before eating, release it from the springform lined tin and put on plate, whip the cream until it is stiff and spoon on the top then add the crumbliest, filthiest chocolate of the 80s to the top, put in the fridge until eating. Consume to Ultravox, Kim Wilde, Pet Shop Boys or Queen whilst drinking sherry. Please note this is a big cake like 80s haircuts and shoulder pads.