Making Things Complicated: Raspberry Trifle Cupcakes

One of the occasions that I’m keeping the Guinness and chocolate muffins for is our St. Patrick’s Festival. It’s always a massive day for our club, in terms of fundraising, volunteering and aware-raising, and for the past couple of years, I’ve been the organiser of the cake stand. This is less time-consuming than it sounds: find out who can bake, send a group email, tell them what is required and when to turn up and hope for the best. We have been extremely lucky with the weather over the past couple of years, so hopefully it will continue this year.

As for the complications, I bring them on myself. G&C muffins I could make blindfold at this stage, but instead of keeping it simple with cookies or queen cakes, last year, I decided to make raspberry trifle cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days. Now, don’t get me wrong, they were delicious and not difficult to make, but they were also time-consuming and had me questioning my judgement the next day, when one little boy haggled one from me with a euro coin that he produced from inside his sock.

They came to mind today, because I’m going to London next weekend and was wondering if I would manage to squeeze in a trip to Notting Hill and the bakery on the Portobello Road. Although a look at the website shows me that they have bakeries in Soho and South Kensington, so I’ll be grand.

Anyway, these cakes were truly scrumptious.

Raspberry Trifle Cupcakes



For the sponge:

80g softened unsalted butter

280g castor sugar

240g plain flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

240ml whole milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs

For the filling and frosting:

500ml whole milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

5 egg yolks

100g caster sugar

30g plain flour

30g cornflour

200ml double cream

24-34 fresh raspberries

100g raspberry jam


Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius and line a muffin tin. I should point out here that living in Belgium does not allow many choices in terms of tin sizes, so I have one tin that holds cupcake-sized cases and another that holds muffin-sized cases, so most of the time I have to hope for the best.

Beat together the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt on a slow speed until the ingredients are well-mixed and resemble fine breadcrumbs.

In a jug, whisk together the milk, vanilla extract and eggs by hand, then pour 3/4 of this into the dry ingredients, while mixing on a slow speed. Beat together, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Add the remaining milk mix and beat again until the batter is smooth.

Divide the batter between the muffin/cupcake cases, filling them to 2/3 full. Bake them in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes (or until the sponges bounce back when lightly pressed).

Leave to cool slightly before removing from the tin and placed on a wire rack to cool down fully.

While they are in the oven/cooling, make the custard for the filling and topping.

Place the milk in a saucepan with the vanilla extract and bring it to the boil.

In a bowl, mix together the egg yolks, sugar, flour and cornflour to make a paste, adding a tablespoonful of the hot milk to thin it if necessary.

Once the milk is boiled, remove the pan from the heat and mix 4-5 tablespoons with the egg and flour paste. Pour this back into the pan with the remaining hot milk and return to the heat. Bring back to the boil, whisking constantly, and continue to boil for a further minute to ensure the flour and cornflour are fully cooked.

Pour the custard into a baking tray, cover with clink film and set aside to cool for 30-40 minutes.

Once cooled, tip the custard into a large bowl and beat with a wooden spoon to break up any lumps. In a separate bowl, whip the double cream into soft peaks. Fold the cream into the custard and then fill a piping bag, if you are using one.

Using a sharp knife, make a hollow in the centre of each cupcake (approx. 2cm in diameter and 3cm deep, and keep the cut-out pieces of sponge). Place an upside-down raspberry in the hollow of each cake, then spoon 1/2 tsp of jam on top, followed by the same amount of custard.

Pop the cut-out pieces of sponge (trimmed to fit) on top and press them down so that it is level with the rest of the cake. Pipe or spoon the custard topping on top of each cake.

Decorate with a fresh raspberry on top to finish.


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