Food & Drink

Easy Rum, Chocolate & Pear Trifle Recipe

November 3, 2013

Halloween SundaeWhen recipes go wrong…

Is it just me or do you find that from time to time things don’t quite go to plan in the kitchen? Ingredients are forgotten, some are mistakenly doubled up, the oven might be at the wrong temperature or the wrong dish used.

I’m not ashamed to admit that as a multitasking mum my cookery goddess halo slips now and again. It happened recently when the 48 buns (I was quadrupling a recipe) I’d popped into the oven to share among the family for their Hallowe’en meet ups with friends, failed spectacularly.

I shared the photo on social media (you can view it here) – well why not show up our failures as well as our successes? Not surprisingly the comments were mixed. Seemingly there are a few of you out there who neither suffer the kitchen failures I do or are too embarrassed to admit to them… 😉

I’ve often posted about our attempts to reduce food waste and the thought of throwing away the ingredients of so many failed buns, not to mention the cost, was quite vexing. We were in for a surprise though. As I whipped the trays out of the oven under the assumption they were burnt beyond salvation, Mr G couldn’t resist picking some crumbs off the side.

“These are quite nice, don’t throw them away just yet, try one.”

I hesitated, my curiosity overcoming the sense of despair, then picked off some cake mixture myself. Mmmmm, they weren’t burnt after all! There was so much chocolate in the recipe it had darkened to almost black. Granted they hadn’t risen and several were still a bit runny looking, but we decided to wait. I didn’t turn the ‘buns’ out onto a cooling rack but left them in their trays overnight.

Surprise, surprise, the following morning, the cake mixture had set into a delicious, fudgey mix and their taste wasn’t compromised at all. The reason for the failure wasn’t the recipe (you can find it below) it was human (me). I’d added way to much water but apart from that everything else was business as usual. What a relief.

Clearly we wouldn’t be giving any of these buns away and there were way too many for us to eat alone, so on Saturday they metamorphosed into a Cheats Chocolate & Pear Trifle. This is a variation of a recipe made by a visiting close friend years ago and as trifle (or any dessert come to that) is such a rare occurrence in our household, I don’t have a problem buying all the ingredients and not making custard or whipping up cream myself…

Cheats Chocolate & Pear TrifleCheats Chocolate, Rum & Pear Trifle


Rich Chocolate Cake – bought or made (see below)
Tin of pears in natural juice (save the juice if not using rum)
Carton of ready made custard
Carton of whipped cream
*Rum – a good enough glug to soak the sponge omit for a child friendly trifle
Sprinkles or grated chocolate to decorate


Break the chocolate cake into pieces and line the bottom of a trifle dish or sundae glasses.

Pour the *rum or the pear juice over the cake.

Slice the pears and add a layer on top of the sponge followed by a layer of custard and a layer of whipped cream. Finally, decorate with grated chocolate or sprinkles.

This is what the buns look like when the recipe is followed correctly & decorated with multicoloured sprinkles for a birthday surprise…

Chocolate Birthday Buns

Chocolate Birthday Buns

If you’d like the recipe for the Chocolate Buns that have been adapted from a Nigella Lawson chocolate cupcake recipe, here it is:

Chocolate Bun Ingredients

110g butter
200g demerara sugar
1 free range egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
1 teaspoon cocoa mixed with teaspoon boiling water
50g 70% cocoa dark chocolate
100g plain flour
125ml boiling water

Method (makes 12 buns)

Preheat the oven to 180oC. Fill a bun tray with bun cases.

Cream the sugar and butter together (I use a food processor as I don’t own a food mixer) then add the vanilla extract and eggs until combined.

If you have a beautiful food mixer you can do all of this in one bowl, but I have to tip the beaten mixture out of the processor at this stage and proceed by hand.

Carefully fold the melted chocolate into the creamed butter and egg mixture, ensuring it’s all incorporated but not over beaten and add the cocoa powder mix. Gently add the sifted flour and bicarbonate of soda a spoonful at a time, alternating with a spoon of boiling water, folding the mixture together until fully incorporated. The mixture will resemble a liquidy batter.

Pour the mixture into the bun cases and place in the oven for thirty minutes. When cooked (under ordinary circumstances), remove from the tin and cool on a wire tray.

Do you have any kitchen failures you’re willing to own up to?


  • Reply Maggieg November 3, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    I have had masses of failures. Not so many since I got my new oven though so of course it must have been the old one….. just one observation though that bun recipe seems to have an awful lot of sugar in relation to quantity of butter. Could have been reason they all spread out like that.

    • Reply greensideupveg November 3, 2013 at 5:53 pm

      Our ovens have a lot to answer for Maggie 😉 I checked the recipe and the sugar butter ratio is correct. I put almost 300ml extra water into my mix this week whereas the birthday buns followed the recipe exactly and they were perfect. It’s a nice recipe and the whole family enjoy it which is why they’re on my special cupcake mix list 🙂

  • Reply Dr Hows Science Wows (@sciencewows) November 3, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Oh yum will be trying this one. How inventive of you and Mr G to come up with this. Hate throwing out food myself but have had lots of disasters in the kitchen department… I am sure we all have if we are honest!

    • Reply greensideupveg November 3, 2013 at 5:55 pm

      Have to credit my friend Louise for the trifle recipe. She made it one New Year for us and used Jamaican Rum Cake. My dodgy bun consistency reminded me of it 🙂


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