This is probably one of the easiest desserts out there and the possibilities are endless. I am always inspired to make a trifle when there is an unadorned cake in my kitchen that isn't earmarked for another specific purpose. This happened to be the case while I was gearing-up for my husband's surprise birthday party and went just a little crazy, making six 9-inch chocolate cakes.
Start by finding a large bowl… either a clear trifle bowl, or, if you don't own one (like me), look for something else in your kitchen that will showcase the layers of your trifle. I used an Anchor Hocking clear glass storage jar.
For this trifle, I cubed the chocolate cake and used that as my first layer. I drizzled the cubes with Crème de Framboises (raspberry liqueur), since I would also be adding fresh raspberries to my trifle. Use your imagination! Kahlua, Grand Marnier, brandy... whatever! I had some Chocolate Syrup that I made from a recipe in Dorie Greenspan's book Paris Sweets, and also drizzled that over the cubed cake (see recipe below).
Layers of Chocolate Cake, Crème de Framboise, Chocolate Syrup, Fresh Raspberries, Mascarpone whipped with Heavy Cream, and a sprinkling of Toasted Sliced Almonds; this was my trifle. Be creative with yours! And… if you can make it the day ahead, all the better! A trifle benefits from setting a day (refrigerated, of course), allowing the cake to soak up all of those delicious liquids.
adapted from Paris Sweets by Dorie Greenspan
• 3/4 cup water
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup cocoa powder
Put the water, sugar, and cocoa in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. (The syrup can be made up to a week ahead and kept tightly covered in the refrigerator. I have also frozen this syrup before with good results.)
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