Trifle

Posted by Brad Beattie on Sun 22 January 2017

Laura's Trifle (Winner)

My trifle was a mix of a few different recipes, leaning mostly towards this one by Nigella Lawson.

I decided on four layers:

  1. Victoria Sponge
  2. Custard
  3. Fruit
  4. CocoWhip whipped cream
  5. Sherry

Laura's Trifle

Victoria Sponge

  • 150 g dairy-free margarine
  • 150 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 100 g sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 100 g organic soya yoghurt
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • Rice milk

Did you know Queen Victoria ate a little of this kind cake every day with her tea? My kind of lady. I used a Jamie Oliver recipe for the sponge.

Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5. Grease two springform cake tins (roughly 20cm) with the margarine, then line the bottom with greaseproof paper and dust the sides with gluten-free flour.

In a bowl, beat the margarine and sugar for around 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Halve the vanilla pods lengthways then, using the tip of a sharp knife, scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds to the margarine mixture, along with the yoghurt and lemon zest, then mix until combined. Sieve the flour, baking powder and xanthan gum into the bowl, then fold through. If it’s a little thick, add a splash of rice milk and stir briefly until you have a nice, smooth batter.

Carefully divide the mixture between the cake tins, then place on the middle shelf of the hot oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, before turning the cakes out onto a wire cooling rack, then leave to cool completely.

A few notes on the recipe

  1. I halved it.
  2. I used regular flour instead of gluten-free flour because gluten is my favourite food.
  3. The part where you beat the margarine and the sugar together for five solid minutes is for serious.
  4. I wish I had baked mine longer. Maybe five more minutes?

As you let your cake cool, make the custard.

Custard

  • 1 packet of custard powder
  • 2 cups of almond milk

So honestly? Custard powder is vegan, so I just used that and made it with almond milk rather than dairy. I followed the directions on the back of the packet.

After you make the custard, it also needs to cool for a bit so that it sets. There was this terrifying moment where, after it set, it was super lumpy and I had flashbacks to my creme caramel. I shmooked it a bit with a hand-held blender and that seemed to sort things out.

Fruit

  • Four handfuls of frozen berries, thawed
  • Zest of one orange
  • Sprinkling of sugar

Assembly

Cut the cake into thin slices. Spread one slice with whatever jam is in your fridge (I used blackberry) and top it with another slice. Cut your cake sandwich so that it fits into the bottom of a whiskey tumbler. Continue in this way until the bottom of four tumblers are filled with cake. I made two layers of cake sandwich in each glass because I really like cake.

Pour one tablespoon of sherry into each tumbler and let the cake soak it up for a few minutes. The official drink of the Farina family is Harvey's Bristol Cream, so that's what I used.

Top the cake layer with a handful or so of frozen berries. Use a spoon to scoop a bit of their berry juice over the cake, too. Top the berries with a dusting of sugar and some orange zest.

If the custard is cool, you can then spoon the custard over the berries. I didn't use the full two cups of custard — more like five or six spoonfuls per glass.

Put your tumblers of trifle into the fridge so that the flavours meld. Bring them out about an hour before you plan on serving them.

Just before serving, top each tumbler with a dollop of Cocowhip.

Brad's Trifle

Like Laura's, mine is an amalgam of other recipes I found. In truth, I'd never even had trifle before, so the challenge was real for this one. There doesn't even seem to be consensus as to what trifle should contain! Jello, custard, cake, fruit, whipped cream, alcohol? Something like that, right?

  1. Strawberry jello
  2. Lemon pound cake
  3. Rum
  4. Blueberry aquafaba whip

Brad's Trifle

Strawberry jello

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup strawberries (frozen is fine)
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon agar powder
  • 1 vanilla pod (optional)

Bring all the ingredients to a boil and ensure the agar is thoroughly dissolved. If adding a vanilla pod, make sure it's split open so that its seeds seep through the mixture. Remove the pod and scoop out a bit into each jar, enough to cover roughly the bottom quarter or third. Place the jars in the fridge to cool, letting the agar set while we make the lemon cake.

Lemon pound cake

This recipe is lifted largely untouched from Sofia von Porat.

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • zest of a lemon
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup soy yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 50 g (1.76 oz) vegan butter, melted

Preheat the oven at 160°C/320F. Grease a bread form and line the inside with a baking sheet.

Sift the flour in a bowl and combine with baking powder, baking soda, vanilla powder, salt, lemon zest and sugar.

Add water, olive oil, vegan yoghurt, lemon juice and melted vegan butter and quickly combine all the ingredients to a smooth batter (be careful not to overmix).

Pour the batter in the bread form and bake in the oven for 35-45 min or until a skewer comes out clean (note in the comments that some covered the cake with foil and let it bake for longer). Carefully remove the cake from the form and let cool completely.

I cut the recipe down in quarter and used a muffin tin instead of a cake pan, hoping that the end result would fit snuggly into the mason jars. Aesthetically in retrospect, I think I should have gone the full cake pan route and cut them to size.

Anywho, when ready, fit the cakes into the mason jars on top of the strawberry jello. Add in rum to your liking, though I'd suggest a tablespoon at most. I put in much more than that and came to regret my decision.

Blueberry aquafaba whip

  • Aqaufaba from a 15-ounce can of chickpeas (unsalted)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • A few handfuls of blueberries

Extract aquafaba from the chickpea can and mix with the cream of tartar, sifted icing sugar, and vanilla. Whip it until it's fluffy. Fold in the blueberries, add to the mason jars and serve. The aquafaba whip won't retain its form longer than 15 minutes, so save this step to the end.

Notes

The previous challenge was notably simpler in terms of components. Simplicity makes iterative improvements a lot easier. My hasty effort was largely spoiled by an excess of rum and a whip that collapsed in transit. I concede this round to Laura's superior trifle, but I'm keeping this jello and lemon cake recipe.

Comments from the taste testers

  • "The only thing I'm tasting right now is rum, and I like that." - Dan
  • "It takes some work to get to the bottom, but when you get there, it's really rewarding" - Andrea
  • "I think this might be what trifle is supposed to taste like." - Brad
  • "I'm sorry Brad, Laura clearly won this round." - Dan