I made Berry Trifle for my daughter’s birthday last month. It was a very quiet affair celebrated with close friends. Since I had already made Ina’s raspberry orange trifle in the past (which is superb!), I decided to make red berry trifle instead.
Trifle is an English dessert which consists of layers of cake, custard , fruit and topped with whipped cream. I remember my mom making this as a dessert for parties. She would buy the cake and make the custard from a “Brown and Polson” box and then layer it with fruit and fresh whipped cream. In the past I have layered the trifle in a big glass bowl but this time around I made individual portions – more appropriate I thought for the party and the kids were thrilled having it in their own little “wine” glasses.
There are 3 components to making this supremely indulgent dessert.
- A plain pound cake
- Cognac cream
- Whipped cream
I baked Ina’s pound cake a week before and froze it. I made the custard 2 days in advance and chilled it in the refrigerator. After that it was just assembling it. You could buy a pound cake at a good bakery making it easier. But since this was her special day I wanted to make everything from scratch.
1 plain pound cake, recipe follows
1 cup good raspberry jam
Framboise (I used Grand Marnier)
2 half-pints fresh raspberries
1 pint fresh strawberries
Cognac cream- recipe follows
2 cups cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
Assembling the trifle:
Cut the pound cake into 9 (3/4-inch) slices and spread each slice on 1 side with raspberry jam, using all the jam. Set aside.
Place a layer of cake, jam side up, in the bottom of a 2 1/2-to 3-quart glass serving bowl, cutting the pieces to fit or in the individual glasses.
Sprinkle with Framboise or Grand Marnier. Top with a layer of raspberries and strawberries and Cognac Cream. Repeat the layers of cake sprinkled with Framboise, raspberries, strawberries and Cognac Cream, ending with a third layer of cake jam side down and raspberries and strawberries.
Decorate the trifle with whipped cream. The trifle can sit for a while at room temperature.
Plain Pound cake
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In another bowl, combine the buttermilk and vanilla.
Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.
When the cakes are done, let them cool for 10 minutes. Take them out of the pans, place them on a baking rack and allow them to cool completely. Wrap well, and store in the refrigerator.
Ingredients for Cognac Cream
- 3 cups milk
- 10 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons sifted cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon Cognac
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture back into the pan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, 5 to 7 minutes. (Pay attention because it will thicken and then quickly become scrambled eggs!)
Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. When it starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla and continue to whip until it forms stiff peaks. Decorate the trifle with whipped cream. The trifle can sit for a while at room temperature.