Spectacular Zucchini Chocolate Cake

You'll need:

3/4 cup brown sugar

4 Tbsps butter

1/4 cup good dark chocolate

3/4 cup cream

2 eggs

1 ½ cups SR flour

1 cup grated, raw, small zucchini

½ cup mascarpone

½ cup cream

4 Tbsp Kahlúa (add 1 tsp vanilla instead for kids)

candied zucchini

1 cup thin strips young, fresh zucchini

1 cup water

1 cup white sugar



Heat oven to 180º C.

Line a cake tin with baking paper.

Place everything except the egg and flour in a saucepan. Heat very slowly, stirring till it is melted. Take off the heat and let it cool.

Now stir in the egg, then gently mix in the SR flour. Pour into the tin and bake for 30 minutes.

If you are using a very large tin the cake will be flatter but take less time to cook.

For the topping, simmer sugar and water for five minutes. Make sure sugar is dissolved. Add zucchini, stir for one minute, remove and cool on paper or a clean tea towel that can be washed — soon.

To assemble, place cream on cake; scatter on raspberries and candied zucchini.

Baked coconut custard

5 eggs, beaten

2 cups coconut cream

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon rose water

finely grated lime rind and coconut to garnish


Mix all ingredients except the garnish. Place in a shallow baking dish in a pan of hot water in the oven. Bake at 200°C or about 30 minutes until the centre of the custard is firm when you press it. Don’t overcook. This custard is served hot, tepid or cold. If cold, cut into slices and garnish with the rind and extra coconut.

Rum and chocolate Tiramisu

You'll need:

1 chocolate cake

2 cups coffee

1/2 cup sugar

4 tbsp rum

600 ml cream

1.5 cups mascarpone or King Island cream

2 cups sliced strawberries, or raspberries, or cherries, cooked or raw

Grated chocolate


Boil coffee and sugar for five minutes.

Mix cream, mascarpone and rum.

Carefully cut cake into five rounds for layering.

Drizzle the coffee mix onto each of the rounds.  

Spread cream mix on first layer, then fruit, then cream mix etc. The final layer should be cream mix.

Scatter on grated chocolate.

Keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 48 hours, but best eaten after about four hours.

Very, very yummy.

Caramel Tart (or not)

Line dish with shortcrust pastry. Cook according to directions on packet. Take out of oven. Or put this in a pot as above and forget about pastry, and serve with cream, ice cream or natural yoghurt. 



  • 2 x 400 gms (or near enough) sweetened condensed milk

  • 1/3 cup golden syrup

  • 125 gm butter

  • 2/3 cup cream

Place in saucepan. Stir on LOW heat all the time for about 10-15 minutes till it's thick and lightly golden. Pour onto biscuit crust, or into tarts or a pie crust. Leave to set.

Topping: Press in macadamias, pecans, walnuts, crushed peanuts or macadamia brittle or crushed butterscotch lollies, or just before serving top with sliced bananas, either raw or lightly fried in butter, and then whipped cream.

Baked orange custards

500 mL cream

200 g castor sugar

3 eggs

4 egg yolks

grated zest of three oranges (no white, and as fine as possible)

250 mL freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tablespoon Grand Marnier; or the zest of two more oranges in a tablespoon of brandy; or just the extra orange zest if necessary

Place sugar, orange zest and cream in a saucepan and heat slowly till it is just too hot to stick your finger in. Don’t boil. Take off the heat. Beat eggs, yolks, grand marnier and orange juice for three minutes. Pour in the hot cream slowly whisking all the time so it doesn’t separate. Pour the mixture into small pots, and sit them in a baking dish of hot water in the oven. Bake for 1 hour at 150°C, or till the custards are set.

Serve either hot or cold.

The 5 minute wonder- Fried bananas

4 bananas, thinly sliced

4 tsp butter or margarine

4 tbsp golden syrup

4 tbsp rum

Optional: 4 rings of fresh pineapple, cored and chopped.

Melt the butter in a frying pan on a very low heat; add the fruit and fry on both sides for three minutes; add the golden syrup and the rum and keep cooking till thick – another 2 minutes or so.

Serve with thick cream, ice cream or yoghurt.

Fruit Crush

You need a blender to make this. It is extraordinarily fresh and good and fruity.

   •  1 cup sugar

  • 1 cup water

  • juice of 1 lemon

  • 1 tsp tartaric acid

  • 3 cups ripe fragrant strawberries (quarter them if they're large) OR

  • 3 cups ripe fragrant pineapple, chopped (def not canned) OR

  • 3 cups squishy ripe mulberries OR

  • 3 cups very ripe raspberries (pick out all beetles)


Freeze the fruit FAST i.e. don't bung it in a crowded freezer or all bunched up together. Place fruit in a plastic freezer bag and freeze in a single layer. Use within two days or the fruit will lose a lot of its fragrance. If possible, use as soon as it's frozen.

Boil other ingredients for five minutes. Refrigerate till very cold – semi-frozen is even better.

Throw fruit in blender. Add 1 cup of syrup; turn on blender and process. Add more syrup only if the mixture is too thick for the blender to process.

Serve at once. It will be semi-frozen and slightly liquid; eat what you can with a spoon and slurp up the rest.

PS A few mint leaves go well with the pineapple; a little orange zest added to the syrup when it's cooking is good with strawberries.

Choc mint fudge

This is cheat's fudge - real fudge really needs a sugar thermometer. This is one of those never fail recipes, very rich and very good, but a bit squidgier and richer than ordinary fudge.


500 gm cooking chocolate

400 can sweetened condensed milk

1 heaped tbsp butter

6 drops peppermint essence (or cointreau or 1 tsp vanilla, or 1 tsp instant coffee)


Line a tray with baking paper or alfoil.

Melt choc, milk and butter in pan. Don't boil, just mix on a low heat for 5 minutes. Take off heat; add essence or othjer flavourings. Mix well. Pour into dish. Refrigerate till set, then cut into small squares.

Strawberry Champagne Granita

One and half cups champagne- not too dry, as a lot of sweetness is lost when food is frozen

half a cup very ripe strawberries

1 tb castor sugar, or to taste- depends on sweetness of berries

2 splashes of bitters

Mash berries  with sugar till sugar melts.

Add champagne and bitters. Freeze in a  shallow tray- this should take about an hour at most in a good fridge, so if you bung it in when you put dinner on it'll be ready for a lazy dessert.

Chill two wine glasses, so the granita doesn't melt too fast. Now take a solid spoon and scrape the granita till it's grainy and slushy; spoon it into the glasses and eat at once.

Note: this SHOULD be grainy and slushy, not smooth like sorbet.

P.S. If you want to serve this to kids, use 2 cups water, the juice of two lemons, and 3 tb castor sugar(or to taste)  instead of champagne.

Chocolate Cumquats

Cover 3 cups cumquats or calamondins with water; simmer 20 mins. Pour off water. Add 3 cups water, 2 cups sugar. Simmer till the cumquats look transparentish- it know this sounds vague but you'll see what I mean when you do it. At this stage you can add 2 tb whisky or rum, and leave the cumquats to marinate for a few hours; otherwise proceed straight away as below.

Place cumquats on a greased tray till cool. They'll still be sticky- don't worry about it. Use a toothpick or tweezers to roll in melted chocolate; place back on the tray till set. Store in a sealed jar in a cool place. Throw out if they look or smell odd or start bubbling- but they shouldn't!

Chocolate Peppermint Truffles


2 cups cream

500gm GOOD cooking chocolate

5 tsp unsalted butter

a few drops peppermint oil

cocao powder

Melt butter and chocolate in the cream over a very low heat. Do NOT simmer. Take it off the heat at once and add the peppermint oil; beat for 5 minutes. Put it in the fridge to cool, and beat for a couple of minutes every five minutes or so till it's cold and thick. Now roll spoonfulls into small balls between your fingers, then roll in cocoa. Try to handle them as little as you can. Cool again. store in a sealed container.

Ps. try not to lick your fingers till AFTER you've finished the lot.

(other flavouring can be used instead of peppermint: cointreau and a little grated orange zest, rum, various liquers, almond essence)

Winter Fruit Salad


Half a cup dried apricots

6 prunes, stones removed unless you want to choke your guests

half a stick cinnamon

2 cups water

half a cup sugar

4 tbrum or 1 tb cointreau (optional)

peeled segments of 2 grapefruit or four oranges or four tangelos, no white or membrane. (If you're a masochist you can use mandarin instead - tastes delicious but takes forever to peel the membrane off the segments.)

Cover apricots and prunes with water. Leave 24 hours. Strain off the water, add sugar and cinnamon and boil till reduced by half. Remove cinnamon. Add rum and fruit. Serve either hot or cold. Good with icecream after dinner or thick cream; also good with pancakes for breakfast.

Passionfruit Tiramisu

The problem with tiramisu is that

a. it's so full of coffee that you can't sleep after eating it;

b. it's so delicious that you do eat it anyway; and

c. it looks totally gloriously tempting but kids can't eat it either because of the alcohol and coffee.

So here is a family-friendly tiramisu, extremely good, incredibly simple to make – in fact great for kids to make too.

  • 1 pkt sponge finger biscuits

  • 1 carton mascarpone cheese

  • 1 cup canned passionfruit juice, minus the seeds

  • 1 punnet raspberries or frozen raspberries or sliced strawberries; and

  • ½ cup grated chocolate, preferably dark bitter stuff.

Optional: 3 tbsp Cointreau to mix with the mascarpone if you really want an adults-only version

Take a glass dish. Layer in half the biscuits. Pour over the juice, spread half the mascarpone and scatter on the fruit. Now layer the rest of the biscuits, spread the rest of the cheese and scatter on the chocolate. Leave for about two hours for the juices to soak into the biscuits. Serve in slices.

    This is okay the next day if you keep it covered in the fridge, but best made a few hours before serving.


PS. And yes, of course you can make your own sponge fingers, and use fresh picked fruit. But if you use fresh passionfruit you may need to add a little sugar, and in which case don't bother removing the seeds – just use half as much juice again. King Island cream can be used instead of mascarpone.

Chocolate Mints and other chocolate Goodies

1 heart shaped cutter, if you want heart shapes

1 tray

alfoil or baking paper

1 microwave oven

2 bowls

1 knife

1  wooden spoon

100gm dark chocolate

30 gm unsalted butter


another 100gm dark chocolate and

another 30 gm unsalted butter

1 cup icing sugar

1 tb milk

half teaspoon peppermint essense, or almond essense with 1 tb ground almonds, or replace the milk with rum, or cointreau and  2 tb grated orange zest, or kalhua and 1 tsp instant cofee granules

Cover the tray with alfoil or baking paper.


Melt the first lot of chocolate and butter-break up the chocolate into chunks and place it with the butter in a bowl. Put the bowl into the microwave and put it on high for 30 seconds minute.

Poke the chocolate with a spoon to see if it's soft. (It'll still be the same shape, so you need to poke it. DON'T do it with your finger, or you might get burnt!)

If it's not soft give it another 10 seconds, then another and another, and check each time. Overcooked chocolate tastes HORRIBLE, so take it out as soon as it's soft.

Now mix the melted chocolate with the melted butter. (You can also melt chocolate and buter in a bowl over a saucpan of simmering water)

Mix the melted butter and chocolate with the wooden spoon. Spread it over the tray. Leave it to set in the fridge for about ten minutes while you do the next bit.

Mix the icing sugar, milk and peppermint essense(or replace milk and essense as mentioned in the list of ingredients). You may need to add a little more milk- the icing mixture should be thick and spreadable, but no gooey or it will run all over the place! If it's too gooey add more icing sugar.

Spread this stuff over the chocolate. Leave it in the fridge to set for ten minutes while you do the next step.

Melt the next lot of chocolate and butter.  Speard that on top of the other two layers, and bung it back in the fridge for about half an hour, or till set firm.

Cut it into small squares,or diamonds,  or use a tiny heart  shaped cookie cutter to cut it into shapes- or oneginat heart shape!

Keep in sealed container, or wrap each one up in alfoil or coloured metallic paper from the newsagent.

Sweet  apricot soufle


This is a simple, low-calorie pudding. The scent of apricot will pervade the kitchen.


You'll need:

4 egg whites, beaten

1 cup dried apricots, soaked and mashed

1 drop (no more) of almond flavouring (optional)



Preheat oven to 250° C

Blend the apricots and egg whites gently.

Place in a straight-sided baking dish and bake for 15 minutes.

Serve hot.

Rhubarb with Orange Rice Pudding


This way the rhubarb doesn’t turn stringy or mushy and keeps its structural integrity.

This is a good dessert and it’s a good luxury breakfast too, hot in winter or cold in summer. Yes, it’s sweet, but so are most cereals.


You'll need:

12 stems of rhubarb leaves and tough ends removed. Do not feed these to the chooks, take them straight to the compost.

2 cups cooked rice (different rices give different results, all good)

2 tbsps grated orange zest

1 tb Cointreau (can be omitted but flavour won’t be as rich)

6 tbsps caster sugar

 1 cup cream

4 large fresh eggs



Line a baking dish with the stems of rhubarb,

Sprinkle with caster sugar.

Bake at 200º C for 10 minutes.

Mix the remaining ingredients and spread over the cooked rhubarb.

Sprinkle with grated nutmeg.

Bake till firm on top and slightly brown – about 20-30 minutes. (The shallower the dish, the faster it will cook. A deep dish will take longer)

This is also good cooked in individual serves in small bowls or coffee mugs.

Lemon Slice (the condensed milk kind)


You'll need:


For the base

1 cup plain flour

1/2 cup icing sugar

120g butter

For the topping

1 tin sweetened condensed milk (about 390 gm)

1 egg
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
½ cup lemon juice  
2 tablespoons plain flour



Preheat oven to 200° C

Fix a tray lined with baking paper.

Mix ingredients together with your fingers.

Press mixture lighting into the baking tray.


Mix ingredients together well

Bake the base for 10-15 minutes until just beginning to brown.

Remove, pour on topping and back for about 30 minutes, or until just set.

Cool before cutting.

Decadent Passionfruit SLice

You'll need:

For the base

1 cup plain flour

1/2 cup icing sugar

120g butter

For the topping

1 cup  self-raising flour        
1 cup  grated coconut        
½  cup  caster sugar        
100g butter, melted        
1 can sweetened condensed milk (about 390 gm)        
½ cup lemon juice
½ cup passionfruit pulp (I strain the seeds as Bryan doesn’t like them, but others leave them in)




Preheat oven to 200° C

Fix a tray lined with baking paper.

Mix ingredients together with your fingers.

Press mixture lighting into the baking tray.


Mix ingredients together well

Bake the base for 10-15 minutes until just beginning to brown.

Remove, pour on topping and back for about 30 minutes, or until just set.

Store in a sealed container in the fridge.

Apple compote


Boil for 5 minutes:

4 tbsp red wine
2 whole cloves
4 whole cardamom seeds
1 cup caster sugar
2 cups water

1/2whole orange, sliced, not peeled
1/2, sliced, not peeled


Remove cloves, seeds and fruit slices.

Then add:

12 sliced apples. (If they have red skins you may wish to keep the skins on. Late season apples have tougher skins, so are more likely to need to be peeled).



Cook on the lowest setting for ten minutes. Turn off heat – the apple will keep cooking for about another 10-15 minutes.
Serve warm or cold, with cream, vanilla ice cream (or mascarpone beaten with an equal amount of cream, or natural yoghurt).
This will keep in a sealed container for up to a week in the fridge.


This is also good with pears, yellow-fleshed late peaches, nectarines.


You'll need:

150g butter

1 cup caster sugar

1 egg

1 3/4 cups self-raising flour

To roll:

1/2 cup cinnamon-scented caster sugar (aka caster sugar mixed with 1 tbsp ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 225ºC

Grease a tray

Cream butter and sugar

Mix in the egg, then mix in the flour

Take teaspoons of the mixture and roll into a ball with your fingers then roll in the cinnamon sugar till it’s well and truly covered

Place each snickerdoodle on a greased tray. Press them slightly flat with a fork.

Bake for about 10 minutes or until just turning golden at the edges.

Take from the oven and remove the snickerdoodles carefully – they'll still be soft but will turn crisp as they cool.

Keep in a sealed container for up to three weeks. 

Chocolate Beetroot Muffins


You'll need:

1¾ cups SR flour

2 large beetroot, cooked and peeled, and either puréed or grated (or substitute carrots or pumpkin)

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 cup brown sugar, well pressed down

2 eggs

1/3 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup canola or safflower oil – some blandish oil


Preheat oven to 200ºC

Splodge it all into a bowl.

Mix well.

Spoon into a greased muffin pan, or patty cases. Bake for about 25 minutes – they will be well risen and firmish to touch.

Moist, Muddy and Marvellous White Chocolate Cake

You'll need:

395g white chocolate chips or roughly broken white chocolate (not choc melts)
200g butter
1 cup cream
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp (yes, tbsp) vanilla paste
3 eggs, lightly beaten (we use eggs with a minimum weight of 59g)
1/2 cup SR flour
1 ½ cup plain flour

White Chocolate Icing (or ganache if you want to be fancy)
200g white chocolate chips or pieces
½ cup icing sugar
1/3 cup cream


Preheat oven to 160ºC

Put oven at 160 degrees.
Line a large cake tin with two layers baking paper
Melt chocolate, butter, cream and sugar in a pan on the lowest possible heat, sitting till smooth. 
Take off heat as soon as the chocolate has melted Leave to cool for 15 minutes.
Beat in eggs well, one by one, and then the vanilla.
Add half the flour, mix in gently, then the rest of the flour.
Scrape the now thick mixture into the pan.
Bake for about 1 hour 20 minutes or until very very light brown on top and firm when you press it. A knife will come out clean (ie no sticky bits when you gently push it into the middle. Don’t worry- the hole closes up if the cake is hot.)
If the cake is browning too fast, cover the top of the tin with a baking tray.
Remove cake from oven. Leave in the tin covered in a CLEAN fresh tea towel till cool.
Carefully invert onto a plate.
Ice. Don’t try to ice a warm cake- the icing will melt.
Spread icing evenly over the top. If you wish, make double layer cake by halving the cake and putting a layer of icing between the two halves.
This cake is excellent the day day it is made; better the second day; and extremely good for a week kept in a sealed container in the fridge.
Decorate as lavishly as you desire. I usually find a few strawberries or raspberries are enough, but for a birthday- go all out!
Or see Linda Bunn of Braidwood if you want it turned into something truly extraordinary! 



You'll need:

200g butter
1  1/2 cups caster sugar
4 eggs
3 tbsp grated lemon zest 
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup cream
1.2 cup SR flour
1 1/2  cups plain flour


2 cups pure icing sugar

3 tbsp butter

3 tbsp lemon  juice or a little more or less.

(Try 2 to begin with and add the other only if needed. The icing should be stiffish.)



Preheat oven to 200ºC

Beat butter and sugar till soft. Add eggs one by one till well beaten.

Gently fold in other ingredients.
Place in a large cake tin lined with baking paper.

Scrape in batter.
Bake 40 minutes to an hour- depends on shape of tin- till firm and play brown on top.
Cool in tin.
Remove. Ice when completely cold..

An (insert memorable debacle here) Mess

*Part of the delicious 'edible insults' series. You can find them all in the september 2017 blog*


A mess – the culinary kind – is a fool with extra layers of crunched meringues in between the cream and fruit, or layers of fruit and meringue with the cream on top. Commercial meringues work surprisingly well for this, as they are usually harder than home-made delicate ones.

Red berries – raspberries, strawberries, bramble berries – or rhubarb make the best colour contrast, or fresh blueberries.

The berries can be fresh and the strawberries chopped, or fried on low heat, scattered with caster sugar, for about two minutes till the sugar dissolves and the juice just begins to run. Cool before making the mess, or it may be a mess indeed.  

Orange and Caramel Panna cotta  

You’ll need:


For syrup

100g caster sugar

4 tbsp orange juice


For panna cotta

395g tin condensed milk

1 cup cream

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla bean paste or essence

1 tsp grated orange zest



Simmer the juice and sugar for the syrup, stirring well. Take off the heat when sugar has dissolved.

Mix other ingredients. Bake at 200°C for about 50 minutes till firm on top – smaller containers will cook faster than one large one.

Pour over hot syrup to serve

Best Ever Double Chocolate and Almond Brownies

Status: easy to make, incredibly delicious, keep well.


You'll need:

250g butter

2 cups castor sugar

4 eggs, lightly beaten

2 1/2  cups plain flour

400 gm dark cooking chocolate..the better the chocolate the better the result

2 tb vanilla paste

400 gm white chocolate chips

2 cups sliced almonds



Melt butter and dark chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon. take off the heat when melted.

Add vanilla and sugar and mix till sugar is dissolved.

Add flour, mix well, then add the eggs and mix those well.

Mix in  two thirds of the almonds.

Line a baking tray with baking paper and turn the oven on to 200ºC.

Now add the white choc chips and  scoop onto the tray.

Smooth then scatter on remaining almonds.

Bake 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan. DO NOT OVERCOOK (it's ok to leave a little soft).

Slice when cool and keep in sealed containers.

Fruit Fool

*Part of the delicious 'edible insults' series. You can find them all in the september 2017 blog*

Do not add a name to this one. But do offer second helpings to any who deserve it, or even the recipe, in neat calligraphy on parchment paper. ​

You'll need:

1¾ cups SR flour

2 large beetroot, cooked and peeled, and either puréed or grated (or substitute carrots or pumpkin)

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 cup brown sugar, well pressed down

2 eggs

1/3 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup canola or safflower oil – some blandish oil


Whip all ingredients till the cream is thick.
Make layers of fruit and cream (as many as you can fit in) ending with the cream, in a glass – a wine glass or champagne flute works well.
Keep in the fridge, covered with a plate so the cream doesn’t absorb the scent of rockmelon, cheese or last year’s Thai take-away. Serve within 2-3 hours.


Pear Tart

You’ll need:


For pastry

110g cold butter

200g flour

2 egg yolks


For poached pears

6 hard winter pears, cored and sliced length-ways

1 cup raw sugar

1 cup orange juice – not navel oranges

1 vanilla bean


For cream filling:

1 cup brown sugar

3 eggs

½ cup flour

1 cup cream



Make the pastry

Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips till it looks like breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks.

Chill in the fridge for an hour or overnight.

Spread baking paper on the bench. Put the dough on it, then cover with more baking paper and roll out thinly. Shape it to your pastry tin and keep any extra bits to repair the edges after it is baked. Bake at 200°C for 15 minutes. Cool and add the trimmings – it will have slumped a bit at the edges. (Baking blind means you end up with overcooked edges. This way you don’t)

Poach the pear mix till soft.  Arrange the cooked pears neatly on the pastry.

Beat the cream filling till smooth, then pour over the pears. Bake at 200°C till almost set – it will set a bit more as it cools. To make the filling, whisk together the sugar and eggs until lightened in colour, then whisk in the flour, cardamom and a pinch of salt.

Serve warm or cold with cream or icecream.

Deliciously Easy Lemon White Chocolate Cake with Lemon Ganache​

This cake is gorgeous, rich, decadent, easy to make and stays fresh for a fortnight or possibly more. 

In a saucepan mix:
1.5 cups caster sugar
3/4 cup milk
250g butter
200g white chocolate


Melt gently on low, stirring all the time.



2 eggs

4 tsps lemon essence and/or lemon zest
Beat well


1.5 cups plain flour

1/2cup SR flour

Fold in gently.

Pour into a pan lined with baking paper.
Bake at 150 ºC (SLOW) for 1.5-2 hours – this will depend on  the shape of your pan. The thicker it is the slower it will cook. It will be firm and light brown on top.

Cool before icing with:

Lemon ganache

You'll need:
½ cup cream
1 cup white chocolate
3 tsp lemon essence and/or 1 tbsp lemon zest
½ cup icing mixture.



Melt chocolate in the cream on low, stirring all the time.

Do not boil.

Mix in the icing sugar and lemon zest then leave in the fridge to cool for an hour.
Ice cake.


A Trifle

*Part of the delicious 'edible insults' series. You can find them all in the september 2017 blog*


Once trifles were anything but, glorious fruit and cream concoctions decorated with crystallised fruit cut into shapes, silver bon-bons or edible gold leaf.

These days it can also be delicious and decadent or truly over-sweet and horrible.

A trifle’s success depends on the quality of the ingredients.

Place in a large glass dish (preferably wide rather than deep as when you serve it you want everyone to be able to have sedimentary layers of wonderful flavours and textures):
1 layer of sponge cake, the best you can find or make your own, moistened with rum, sherry, Cointreau or Kahlua (or hazelnut liqueur if you decide to use chocolate cake instead.) NB Some recipes advise using stale cake. Stale cake is the prerogative of the cook and does not belong on the dining table although it can be day-old cake.
Optional: a thin layer of very good jam
1 layer of fresh berries, i.e. raspberries, blueberries, chopped strawberries
1 thin layer of custard. I don’t know if good commercial custards exist because a. I’m not keen enough on commercial custards to waste calories trying them out and b. we usually have enough eggs to whip one up for Bryan. But if you know a good one in a carton, use it or use the whipped cream. 
More fruit
More custard, pour the sweetened flavoured cream over.
Optional: A layer of virulently red or green jelly, which won’t be as bad as you think it will be once it’s contrasted with the soft custard and cake. Or leave it out. Or – for a truly opulent trifle make a champagne jelly (there are plenty of recipes on the internet) for a delicate, pale gold gesture towards tasteful decadence.
More fruit.
A top layer of whipped cream
Decorations: grated chocolate, fresh berries or both.

© Jackie French