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Because in food I trust. In all forms and shapes. 

Holiday trifle

Holiday trifle

This trifle recipe reminds me of the winter season and Christmas when you want something rich, beautifully dark, and tasty. Homemade sponge cake, which is not too sweet, is the ideal partner for caramel and custard, which I also do not make too sweet, because when everything is put together, it is sweet and rich enough.

Chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and cherries – a combination I adore.


1 vanilla bean
350 ml milk
250 ml sweet cream
5 egg yolks (60 g)
60 g unrefined light brown sugar
20 g corn starch

sponge cake:
150 g golden caster sugar
100 g medium grind wholegrain flour
70 g fine pastry flour
70 g 100% cocoa powder
1,5 g baking powder
1 orange rind, finely grated
pinch of salt
110 g Greek yogurt
3 eggs (150 g)
60 ml neutral oil
50 ml orange juice
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp baking soda

120 ml water
310 g white sugar
125 ml sweet cream, slightly warmed
vanilla powder, paste or extract to taste
pinch of fleur de sel
75 g butter

500 g preserved cherries, pitted


Prepare the custard. Cut open the vanilla bean, scrape out the seeds, and put them in a pot. Add milk, cream, and also add the vanilla bean. Boil until the liquid just starts to boil, and turn off the heat.

When that is done, place the egg yolks in a bowl. Add sugar and corn flour and whip with a whisk for about a minute. While whipping, add 1/4 of the warmed milk. When incorporated, return to the pot. Leave the vanilla bean in the pot.

Place the pot on medium heat and heat for 1-2 minutes, mixing constantly, until the custard thickens. It should be thick enough, so that the custard remains on the spoon. You can mix with a wooden spoon, but I prefer a whisk.

When the custard is done, pour into a clean bowl, and cover with cling film covering the surface. Place in the fridge or in an ice bath to cool completely.

Heat the oven to 200°. Cover the bottom of a 20 x 30 cm pan with parchment paper.

Prepare the sponge cake. In a bowl, mix sugar, both flours, baking powder, orange zest, and salt. Add the yogurt, eggs, oil, and whisk together. In another bowl, pour the citrus juice, sprinkle the baking soda on top (it will react and start to bubble), and then add to the batter. Pour into the pan, smooth the top, and place in the oven to bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick placed in the centre comes out clean. When the sponge is ready, remove from the pan, and cool on a rack.

Prepare the caramel. In the top of a double-boiler, add the water and sugar, heat slowly until the sugar has melted. Turn up the heat until a light brown caramel begins to form (not too brown, but a beautiful amber colour). Turn off the heat, add the cream, and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Add the vanilla, salt, butter, and mix until uniform. Pour in a jar and cool completely.

In a glass bowl or in smaller dishes, begin to assemble the dessert. First place the sponge cake (crumble the cake into medium sized pieces), add the custard, cherries, another layer of sponge, caramel, custard, and finally the cherries. You can arrange it as you like, but the caramel is best on top of the sponge. Serve immediately or in a few hours.

Recipe: Signe Meirane, book "Time to cook"
Photo: Armands Meirans

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