Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Cupcake Trifles..... or should that be Trifle Cupcakes?

Last Sunday, it was UK father's day and another excuse for a cake bake. I wanted to make something a little different............... a little special, and I was in quite a creative mood. My husband loves trifle, but I wanted to make cake rather than pudding.

For some while now, I have been wondering whether it would be possible to make a 'trifle cupcake'...... A cupcake sponge, cored and filled with layers of smooth custard and juicy fruit and topped with decadent cream. This was a good opportunity to find out.

I wanted to make all the separate trifle elements myself, rather than relying on ready-made custard and jam, so I whipped up some crème patissiere and a chunky cherry sauce to hide inside a vanilla sponge and then topped each little cake surprise with cherry mascarpone cream.

Wow! These are to die for.............. what a discovery...................

You think you are getting a vanilla sponge smothered with a wonderful fresh cherry cream. But as you bite through the firm, but light sponge casing, your teeth and taste-buds meet with a soft, cool, sweet, light (oh..... so light) layer of crème patissiere which mingles with fresh, but not too sweet, cherry sauce, textured with chewy cherry pieces. A wonderful surprise and so very, very, VERY moreish.

With a usual trifle, you sort of know what to expect. With these, it's all back to front and quite delightfully unexpected.

When presented with a large plate of 12 cupcakes (but before trying them), my husband asked 'will you be able to freeze any?' 'Freeze them?' I asked, perplexed. They are far too good to save! And I was right............. They were all gone in a flash (although we did share some (reluctantly) with the neighbours).

These will definitely be on the menu again.

Vanilla Cupcakes (base sponge recipe taken more or less from Bronski 'Artisanal Gluten-Free Cupcakes' (2011))

Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes)

180g unsalted butter - room temperature
175g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg - room temperature
1 large egg white - room temperature
125 ml milk
35 ml soured cream
185g gluten free plain flour blend (I used blend A from this post)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1½ teaspoons GF baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180⁰ C / 350⁰ F / Gas 4 And line a cupcake tray with 12 cupcake cases.
  2. Mix together the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla and combine well.
  4. Add the egg and egg white one at a time and whisk in thoroughly.
  5. Add the milk and sour cream and whisk in thoroughly until fully combined.
  6. Add the dry ingredients and gently fold in until just incorporated and you have a smooth paste. Be careful not to over-mix.
  7. Divide the batter evenly into the cupcake cases, smoothing down the top of each one.
  8. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until the tops are golden brown and the centre springs back to the touch.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow the cupcakes to cool in the tins for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
  10. Ensure they have cooled completely before coring and filling.

Creme Patissiere

Ingredients (makes about 300 ml / 1/2 pint)

2 large eggs - separated
3 tablespoons corn flour
300 ml milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
50g caster sugar


  1. Put the egg yolks, corn flour and milk in a medium bowl and whisk until light and airy.
  2. Pour the liquid into a pan and slowly bring to a boil on a medium heat, stirring continuously.
  3. Once at boiling point, turn down the heat and simmer for 2 minutes, continuing to stir.
  4. Add the vanilla extract and stir in well.
  5. Pour the liquid into a clean large bowl and allow to cool until luke-warm.
  6. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and then gradually whisk in the sugar.
  7. Add the egg-sugar mixture to the cooled milk-custard and whisk thoroughly.
  8. Cover with cling film and refrigerate until ready to use.

Cherry Sauce Filling


50g caster sugar
1 tablespoon corn flour
2 tablespoons water
250g of pitted cherries (pitted weight) - roughly chopped


  1. Put the caster sugar, corn flour and water in a medium saucepan and stir until combined and smooth.
  2. Add the cherries and heat on a medium heat, stirring continuously until the liquid comes to the boil.
  3. Once boiling, reduce the heat and allow to simmer (still stirring) until the mixture thickens and the cherries are soft (about 5 minutes). Squeeze the cherries with the back of the spoon, whilst stirring, to encourage the release of the juice.
  4. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely before using to fill the cupcakes.

Cherry Mascarpone Cream


300 ml double cream
100g Mascarpone
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of freeze-dried cherry powder or 1-2 tablespoons cherry jam.

12 fresh cherries - for decoration


  1. Whisk together the cream and mascarpone in a medium, cold bowl until just beginning to thicken.
  2. Add the vanilla and cherry and continue to whisk until it holds its shape. Be careful - once you add the cherry, the mixture tends to thicken very quickly and can over-whisk.

Putting it all together                      

  1. Core a deep, clean hole out of the centre of each cup cake using either a sharp knife or a cup-cake corer, being careful not to make a hole in the bottom of the cake.
  2. Cut off the cap of the cored piece of cake and reserve it to use as a lid when the cakes have been filled.
  3. Carefully spoon a layer of crème patissiere into each cake, leaving room for and then adding a subsequent layer of cherry sauce.
  4. Replace the cap on each cupcake
  5. Pipe or spread the fresh cherry Mascarpone cream on the top of the cakes and top with a fresh cherry for decoration.

Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013 unless otherwise indicated

1 comment:

  1. They look sensational!I'm never fond of plain cream on trifles, so marscapone sounds divine


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