Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Excuses and Black Forest Trifle

It's been a while. I'm sorry about that - but only a little bit, if I'm honest. I'm sorry I haven't been writing, and hearing back from everyone and all of those things - but I'm glad to have had a bit of time out. Thanks for your patience!

This recipe is a mash-up of a variety of ideas and is really pretty flexible - it can be astonishingly easy, or a little more complicated if you want. It's a trifle, but perhaps not as you know it. 

Firstly, please excuse the slightly burnt cake - I've done so little baking lately (our apartment gets so hot in summer that increasing the temperature further by turning on the oven seems folly) that I forgot our zealous oven overshoots the mark on temperature by about 15 degrees. However, that sort of helps illustrate one of the best parts of this recipe - it's a great way of making people rave about a seemingly ruined cake. Just scrape/break off the charred parts and it'll be all good!

You don't have to use cake - if you're going for the path of least resistance and don't have a charred cake to rescue use a supermarket cake or trifle sponge (better than regular sponge, though I'm still not sure why). It'll probably even be cheaper (sad though that is).

And if the path of least resistance doesn't beckon go ahead and make a chocolate cake like I did - and if you still hanker to exert yourself go ahead and make chocolate custard from scratch too. Me, I'm sticking with Meadow Fresh.

To make the regular vanilla custard chocolate, simply melt in a block of Whittaker's chocolate. I say simply but there is a wee trick to this - add about 1/4 of the custard to the chocolate as you melt it, so that it becomes more akin to ganache and doesn't seize up when you add it to the rest of the custard. You could heat the whole lot but it will take longer to chill so only do that if you have plenty of time up your sleeves.

The most time consuming part of making this trifle was actually the bowl. We made it to take to a barbeque, and though I have wanted a trifle bowl for some time (oh the desserts I could make!) so far I've only managed to acquire individual serving ones - probably not the best look to show up to a barbie with four mini trifles. ;-) So Mr Cake offered to go on a mission to get the bowl while I made the cake. Off to Moore Wilson's he went - I knew they had them, I had seen and approved. Alas - sold out! He rang me to consult, and agreed to go to Briscoes, since we had both seen them there. I think you can see where this is going... Next was The Warehouse - perhaps not the most logical place but the website said they had them - before he finally found success at Stevens. And in the end we decided the salad bowl (sans pedestal) was a better bet, at half the price and with potentially more applications. It is perfect for its job, but how ridiculous acquiring it was!

Trifle/salad bowl, not without its share of angst

The recipe below will make a lot of trifle - feel free to only make half the quantity if you're not feeding masses of people. Of course, if you (like me) enjoy leftover trifle for breakfast, lunch and dinner go ahead and make the full recipe. ;-)

The jelly is made with the liquid from the cherries, so the flavour is a bit more cherry-centric (I use raspberry jelly which works fine, though if you can find cherry jelly that will obviously also work), and the mixture is then poured over the cherries and cake. Slather the custard on top, and then the optional presentation bonus is to grate a little bit of chocolate over the top and pop a couple of leftover cherries on top.

Trifle always seems to be a hit but this one gets people raving - I couldn't believe how many comments it got. If you wanted to glam it up you could serve it in cute little glasses but I love spooning a generous dollop into a bowl and scoffing it down, carefully balancing each spoonful to contain some of each layer.

Have you got any hit barbeque/potluck recipes that get everyone going back for seconds?

Black Forest Trifle
20cm cake or sponge
1 jar morello cherries (600-700g)
1 packet raspberry jelly (to make 500mls jelly)
1 litre of thick custard
250g 70% dark chocolate

Break up the chocolate and place in a microwave-proof bowl with about 1/4 of the custard. Microwave for one minute then stir to melt the chocolate. If after a couple of minutes of stirring some chocolate remains unmelted, blitz in 10 second intervals, stirring between each one until smooth. Stir in the rest of the custard and chill until needed.

Break the cake or sponge into a large trifle bowl. Drain the cherries, reserving the syrup, and scatter over the broken cake.

Make the cherry syrup up to 500ml with water and microwave or simmer in a saucepan to bring to the boil. Dissolve the jelly as per instructions on the packet and pour over the cake and fruit, distributing as evenly as possible. Chill for half an hour then spread the custard on top and chill for a further 2-3 hours or until needed. Grate chocolate on top to serve, and top with a couple of leftover cherries.


  1. Nice to have you back, Rosa! Love that you can vary the levels of effort you put into this recipe. Looks show-stopping :)

  2. Looks delicious! Welcome back :)

  3. A nice take on the ubiquitous trifle and the bowl looks great too. Welcome back.

  4. Welcome back Rosa! This looks divine :D - Becs

  5. Looks great, and is just the thing for those chocolate muffins I have in the freezer waiting for an interesting way to incorporate them into a dessert.

  6. Yum! This looks amazing. Hear you on the time out thing, it's definitely good to have a break when you need one. :-)

  7. Thanks everyone!

    Maureen, I think the snazzy bowl makes all the difference. ;-)

    Kim, this would definitely be a perfect fate for your muffins.

  8. Nice to see you back, trifle looks delicious!

  9. Great to see you last weekend and also to see you are back blogging. This sounds gloriously decadent but perfect for indulging in this twilight of summer.

  10. Hi Rosa, a very belated happy new year. This one even gets me a non trifle fan to like trifle,,,,but with all that chocolate, hard to resist!

  11. Andrea, thanks. :-)

    Julie, or lack thereof! ;-) I suppose it really is perfect for the Wellington 'summer' barbeque, since it has decadence to step it up from simple summery pudding if the weather falls apart!

    Mairi, happy new year to you too! Glad to be able to convert you. ;-)

  12. Hello

    Good Day,interesting post keep the good work.i'll be back for more


  13. Oh wow. Delicious! Look at that custard! And welcome back :)

  14. I am sure that is cheaper to buy a sponge, but making one is better. :-)

  15. Thanks Delaney! :-)

    Alessandra, yes, much more delicious this way! Though good to have options when pressed for time. :-)

  16. yum! i actually came back to look for your fake-denheath custard squares, i had a recipe in print somewhere but god knows where it's gone - anyway, as someone who used to bake those trifle sponges in a supermarket i can tell you that the only difference between the trifle sponges and the other sponges is that they're baked in a different sized tin. no idea why they call them trifle sponges as opposed to 'square sponges that you get slightly more of so we charge you a bit more', but there you go ;)

  17. Anon, that's interesting! I guess maybe I just don't like the edge bits, which the round sponges obviously have more of. Or I'm delusional. ;-) Thanks for updating me!


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