Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Chocolate Cherry Trifle

For all of you who haven't made, or tried, trifle -- trust me, you are in for a treat! Trifle is a traditional English dessert made from layers of sponge cake, custard, fruit, and whipped cream. Many traditional recipes often include soaking the cake in some kind of alcohol (including this one). The possibilities are endless, and I have recently come across a plethora of incredible-looking trifle recipes.

The classic combination of chocolate and cherry is one that I prefer in the colder months, especially during the holidays. I made this trifle for Christmas this past year, and my family absolutely could not get enough. It makes a large amount, so it is good for sharing with a crowd. I also think this would be a beautiful dessert for a Valentine's Day meal (your date will certainly thank you). A trifle's flavors develop the longer it sits, so you can also eat on it for days, and it will keep getting better. In fact, I would plan on making this the day before serving, if you are able. It is crucial for the cake to soak up the custard, and for the flavors to develop overnight. The cherry brandy can be left out, and this is probably best if serving kids (you really can taste it). However, if this is an adult occasion, I highly recommend splurging on the brandy. It gives the dessert such a decadent flavor, and it pairs perfectly with cherry and chocolate flavors.

* 1 chocolate pound cake (you can usually find one at a bakery -- even some grocery store's, or you can make it yourself; I used this recipe)
* 1/2 cup black cherry jam
* 1/2 cup cherry brandy
* 2 cups sour cherries, drained (I found the jam, brandy, and sour cherries at Spec's)

* 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
* 1 1/3 cups & 1 tablespoon milk (whole milk is best)
* 1 1/3 cups & 1 tablespoon heavy cream
* 8 egg yolks
* 1/2 cup & 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
* 1/3 cup cocoa powder

Whipped Cream
* 3 cups heavy cream
* 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

* Slice the pound cake into pieces, and make "jam sandwiches" with the pieces of cake and the cherry jam.
* Layer the bottom of the trifle dish with the jam sandwiches, and then soak with cherry brandy. * Top with sour cherries.
* Continue this layering process until out of sponge cake (mine made two layers).
* Let macerate while you make the custard.
To make the custard:
* Melt the chocolate in the microwave on low heat, checking a stirring every minute or so (you can also melt in a bowl over a simmering pot of water on the stove top, if you prefer this method).
* In a medium saucepan, warm the milk and cream.
* In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and cocoa powder.
* Slowly pour the warm milk and cream into the large bowl, and whisk it into the yolk and sugar mixture.
* Stir the melted chocolate into this mixture until incorporated.
* Then pour the mixture back into the saucepan, and cook over medium heat until the custard thickens.
* It is very important that you are stirring constantly, and watching to make sure that it doesn't boil (if so, will split and curdle your custard).
* When ready, pour the custard into a bowl, and let cool (immediately cover the top of the custard with plastic wrap to ensure that a skin doesn't form on the top as it cools).
* Once the custard has cooled, spread it over your cake layers.
* Add another layer of cherries (or you could do so on top of the whipped cream layer).
* Cover in plastic wrap, and leave it in the refrigerator overnight.

Once ready to serve, make the whipped cream:
* Softly whip the cream until soft peaks form.
* Add the confectioners' sugar, and whip a little more to incorporate.
* Note: it's important not to over-whip the cream. It will still taste okay, but will be an unpleasant slightly hard and curdled texture.
* Top with whipped cream, and serve!
* You can also decorate with grated chocolate and/or more cherries.

* Here's a picture after the first attack:

From the bottom of my heart, I hope you try this, and share with someone you love!

* Recipe adapted from here.


  1. Oh my gosh!! Sinful! I now know what to do with my egg yolks from my morning breakfast of egg whites....I can't wait to see the looks on peoples faces when I take this to the next church luncheon. I may have to find a brandy substitute.....Thank you for sharing at Foodie Friends Friday.

    1. Thank you! It really is absolutely delicious! Hope you enjoy. If you're interested, I also have a facebook page at

  2. This sounds absolutely delicious. Thanks for posting and sharing this recipe.