Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Make sponge cake. Beat eggs and add sugar gradually, beating until combined. Place bowl over hot water and whisk eggs with 1 cup sugar until thick, light, and larger in volume. Remove bowl from heat and continue to whisk until cool. Fold in sifted flour and lemon rind. Place mixture into an 8-inch cake tin, which has been buttered, sugared and floured, and bake for 30 minutes. Turn onto a rack to cool.
To make custard, heat milk with the vanilla bean until boiling. Beat yolks with remaining 1/2 cup sugar until thoroughly combined. Pour in hot milk and whisk together. Place custard into saucepan on low heat and stir until thickened. Remove from heat, take out vanilla bean, and allow custard to cool.
Assemble trifle. Fill centers of lychees with raspberries. Mix together sherry, brandy and port. Make raspberry jelly by dissolving the gelatin in a little cold raspberry juice and then combining with warm raspberry juice. Allow to cool. Cut sponge cake in half and then cut one half into eighths. Place 5 slices into the bottom of a crystal bowl and separate each slice with 2 raspberry filled lychees. Pour half of the alcohol mixture over the cake and then pour over the raspberry jelly. Place the remaining raspberry filled lichees in the center. Cut the 3 remaining pieces of cake into thin slices and lay on top - add the rest of the alcohol. Place into the refrigerator to set. When the jelly has set, smear with the strawberry jam and scatter the blanched almonds over the top. Cover with the cooled custard and place in the refrigerator to set for 1 hour. Decorate trifle with whipped cream (using a rose-shaped piping nozzle), crystallized fruits and toasted almonds. Keep in the refrigerator.
Our suggestion to