Trifle Cake

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Variations: Easy Fruit Trifle; Apples and Cream Trifle; Banana Cream Trifle; Black and Orange Trifle; Black Forest Trifle; Chocolate Raspberry Trifle; Peaches and Cream Trifle; Raspberry Lemon Trifle; Strawberry Shortcake Trifle; Tropical Fruit Trifle

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Trifle, a quintessential English dessert. Today, the basic ingredients of a trifle are always the same: sponge cake soaked in sherry and perhaps brandy, covered with raspberry jam and then an egg custard, all topped by whipped cream. The top is traditionally decorated with angelica (a plant stem crystallized with sugar) and glace cherries, but fresh fruit is a modern option. However, opinions on the ingredients vary greatly! Trifle is usually served in a large cut glass bowl so that the layers of cake, jam, custard and cream can be appreciated.

There is no record of the origin of the name trifle appeared as early as 1598, not in its current composition and bBy the middle of the 18th century, trifles included ratafia (almond-flavored biscuits) or macaroons soaked in sweet wine, covered with custard and topped with whipped cream. In Victorian times, it was regarded as a way of finishing up stale sponge cakes, which were soaked in wine, amd layered with left over custard. Left over cream was poured it on top and the dessert was consumed right away since there wasn't good refrigeration, if at all. The dessrte should not be soggy at all.

If you aren't concerned about serving a traditional English trifle dessert, you can be very creative. While a sponge cake is traditional and holds up well to being moistened with liqueurs or sweet wine, any type of cake tastes delicious, as does pairing it with flavored pastry cream, chocolate sauce, Italian or Swiss Meringue Buttercream, different flavored liqueuers or jam, fruit syrup, crushed amaretti cookies, frosting, a sprinkling of toasted nuts, crushed candy - you get the idea ~ This is a great dessert to make if you have left over cake scraps or other ingredients.

4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 large egg yolks
2 cups whole or 2% milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Assembly Ingredients
2 recipes Priscilla’s Orange Sponge Cake or Basic Genoise Cake Tutorial or 1 recipe (two, 9 x 2-inch layers) Cream Cheese Pound Cake or 1 recipe Grandma's Angel Food Cake (or already made)

1/4 cup marsala wine, rum or brandy (optional)
1 cup seedless strawberry jam (or raspberry) or any type
2 cups fresh strawberries or raspberries or a mix of fruit
additional fresh fruit for garnish

Whipped Cream
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 or 2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the custard: Mix together sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan. Add egg yolks and whisk to combine; then gradually whisk in milk. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until custard thickens to the consistency of thick cream, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, and add vanilla. Cover surface of custard with plastic wrap to prevent a skim from forming, and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 2 hours.

Assemble the trifle (same for low-fat version)
1. Cut cake into 2 x 1-inch pieces or tear cake into large pieces. Arrange a layer of cake pieces in the bottom of a trifle or large glass bowl.

2. Sprinkle cake with some of the marsala; then spread a layer of raspberry jam over the cake; then scatter some of the raspberries over the jam. Pour some of the custard over the berries.

3. Repeat layering, ending with custard. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Scoop trifle portions into serving bowls. Garnish with additional fruit.

Just before serving:
Make the Whipped Cream - put heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract into a large, well-chilled mixing bowl. Beat cream with a whisk or electric mixer fitted with whisks until cream holds soft peaks. Do not overbeat. Decorate with large dollops of whipped cream, sealing to the edge of the bowl to keep the moisture in the cake.

Serves 10-12
1 recipe Grandma’s Angel Food Cake
2 recipes Easy Pineapple or Any Flavor Pastry Cream Filling
2 bags, 1 pound each, frozen fruit or equivalent sliced fresh fruit
1/3 cup sugar 
1-1/2 cups heavy cream 

additional fresh fruit for garnish

1/3 cup sherry or other liqueur, or sweetened or unsweetened juice 

1. Mix fruit with sherry and fruit. If you don't want to use alcohol, use a little juice instead. You want the fruit to be sitting, but not swimming, in a bit of juice.
2. Whip the cream.
3. To assemble:
Cut the cakes into large chunks and cover the bottom of your dish with a layer of cake. Top with a layer of prepared fruit, then a layer of custard. Repeat the process until you are out of ingredients or the bowl is full. Top with whipped cream and garnish with fresh fruit. Make sure you refrigerate your Trifle a couple of hours before serving so the flavors have a chance to meld. To serve, simply scoop out servings with a large spoon. You can also make individual servings by placing the layers in large wine goblets or in individual parfait glasses.

Apples and Cream Trifle
-- Yellow or Spice Cake, Apple Pie Filling and Custard
Banana Cream Trifle -- White or Chocolate Cake, Sliced Bananas, Custard
Black and Orange Trifle: Instead of a white cake or pound called for in the recipe, make a Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake or an Orange Pound Cake (or buy an already made one).
Tint the whipped cream in the recipe with orange food coloring, added right before you start to whip it. Flavor it with orange extract.
Or, you can tint the custard orange, as well. If making it from scratch, add the coloring to it when you add in the vanilla or use orange extract. You can also tint Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix. Add it in with the milk.
You can substitute the custard filling with Instant Chocolate Pudding made from a mix and use it with an Orange Pound Cake.
Or, substitute raspberry jam with apricot chunky fruit spread or orange marmalade. Use canned Mandarin Oranges instead of raspberries or strawberries.
Black Forest Trifle -- Chocolate Cake, Cherry Pie Filling and Custard
Chocolate Raspberry Trifle -- Chocolate Cake, Raspberries and Custard
Peaches and Cream Trifle -- Angel Food Cake, Sliced Peaches, Optional Alcohol: Peach Schnapps or Brandy
Raspberry Lemon Trifle -- Yellow or Lemon Cake, Lemon Pie Filling and Raspberries
Strawberry Shortcake Trifle -- Yellow or Angel Food Cake, Custard and Strawberries
Tropical Fruit Trifle -- Angel Food Cake, Mixed Pineapple, Mangos, Papayas, etc. and either Vanilla or Lemon Pudding, Sprinkle top with Toasted Coconut

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