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Strawberry and fennel seed trifle with almond-vanilla sponge

Strawberry and fennel seed trifle with almond-vanilla sponge

Prep 15 mins

Cook 5 mins

Serves 8

Difficulty 3.5

It just wouldn’t be Christmas without trifle, and in this strawberries-and-cream version, every component is calibrated for maximum festive fun. Almonds lend richness to the classic sponge cake, fennel seeds add a spicy pop to the strawberry syrup, and the moscato jelly carries memories of childhood with a sophisticated twist. For a gluten-free version, use gluten-free flour in the almond sponge – it will work beautifully.

300 ml thickened cream

200g creme fraiche

250g mascarpone

Xx (5 tbsp) pure icing sugar

2 punnets of strawberries, cut into wedges to serve

Toasted almond flakes, to serve


4 eggs, separated

150g caster sugar

80ml milk

Xx g (¾ cup) almond meal

75g (½ cup) plain flour

80g butter, melted


60g caster sugar

Juice of ½ orange

½ tsp fennel seeds

1 punnet of strawberries, thickly sliced


650ml Moscato di Asti (save a glass for yourself)

3½ gelatine leaves (titanium-strength), soaked in cold water for 5 minutes.

1. For almond-vanilla sponge, butter and baking paper-line a 22cm cake pan and preheat oven to 180C. Beat yolks and 130g sugar in an electric mixer until pale. Add milk and then stir through almonds and flour. Whisk egg whites until soft peaks, add remaining sugar and whisk until firm peaks. Fold butter through cake batter, then egg whites. Transfer to cake pan and bake until risen and golden and a skewer withdraws clean (30 minutes). Cool cake, then tear into bite size pieces.

2. For strawberry compote, bring ingredients (except strawberries) to the simmer. Add berries, then stir over medium heat until lightly stewed (5 minutes). Set aside to cool, then spoon over sponge.

3. For jelly, bring Moscato to a simmer over medium heat. Squeeze excess moisture from gelatine and add to Moscato, then stir to combine and dissolve. Set aside to cool. Stir over ice to thicken, but not set, then spoon over strawberry compote. Refrigerate until required.

4. To serve, whisk creams, mascarpone and icing sugar until soft peaks. Spoon on top of trifle, then level out with a palette knife to smooth. Top with strawberries and almonds and serve, or keep refrigerated for up to 3 hours before serving.



W I N E  M A T C H 

Moscato di Asti.

Recipe and image by Eatable.

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