This dessert idea includes a recipe for shortcake; if you want to try the cheats method, replace this with a shop bought Madeira or butter cake.
6 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tbsp milk, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups unrefined caster sugar
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp fine sea salt
8 oz unsalted butter, just melted, then allow to cool a little
3 lbs ripe strawberries – rinse, hull, slice
1 cup unrefined icing sugar, sifted (or amount to taste – I like the fruit tart, so use less)
4 fl oz Grand Marnier
1½ tsp finely grated orange zest
2½ cups double or whipping cream – well chilled
4 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
1 vanilla pod, seeds only (or vanilla bean paste)
Dark or milk chocolate curls or Cadbury´s flake bar crushed
Preheat the oven to 180ºC, 355ºF, gas mark 4.
Lightly butter a 9 inch by 13 inch cake tin
Cream is easier to whip when chilled – put the bowl and whisk or beaters into the freezer for about 60 minutes, ensure the cream is well chilled.
Cake – put the eggs and milk into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until frothy, add the sugar and continue to beat at high speed until the mixture is quite thick and pale yellow, about 8 to 10 minutes. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, fold into the batter, gently stir in the melted butter, transfer the to the prepared tin and bake in the centre for 30 minutes, or well until risen and golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack
Fruit topping – put the strawberries, sugar, orange liqueur and zest into a large bowl, toss to combine, allow to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes, stir until the sugar dissolves. Cover and chill in the fridge.
Cream – put the cream, icing sugar and vanilla seeds in a large bowl, beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form, the seeds should be evenly distributed.
Assemble – cut the cake into cubes and place into a mixing bowl, drizzle half of the liqueur over the top and toss, then drizzle over the remainder and toss again. Put half into the trifle dish, top with half of the fruit including juices, add the remainder of the cake cubes, followed by the remaining strawberries. Cover bowl with clingfilm, chill in the fridge for a minimum of one hour.
When ready to serve, top with the cream and decorate with chocolate curls or crushed Cadbury´s flake bar.