Trifle's have become my new BFF this past year. If you're a follower of the blog you know I say that quite often. Trifle's have all the qualities of cake, but look and taste even better...in my opinion anyway. AND, there's no added stress of trying to frost a cake like a champ. I still tend to frost cakes like I'm wearing a blindfold. Yeh, we'll work on that in 2013. But for now, it's still the year-o-trifle.
I love the flexibility of a trifle. You can add just about anything. Left-over candy (who am I kidding, there is no such thing...just go buy your favorite), chopped and toasted nuts, broken up cookies, anything. And, there are NO rules! Add whatever you like or whatever you have on hand. You can use any kind of cake, whether it's a sheet cake, angel food, or even a batch of brownies. The options are limitless.
If you must be healthy (at least wait until January!) you can substitute the whipped cream for fat-free cool whip and add fruit instead of candy. For this trifle I used a white chocolate-cream cheese-mascarpone filling (wow, I know). If you wanted to lighten it up (::sigh:: if you must) swap out the filling for a sugar free/fat free jello pudding that is white in color such as the coconut or cheesecake flavors. Add the green and red food coloring and it's ho-ho-ho time.
1 chocolate cake, baked and cooled. (a typical 9x13 sheet cake will be more than enough. I used the Chocolate Sour Cream Cake)
Hershey's syrup (to squeeze over the cake to act like 'glue')
1 (9.2 ounce) bag Nestle Crunch Jingles, coarsely chopped (or any chocolate candy, your preference)
M&M's or any kind of festive colored candy for garnish
For the filling:
1 cup cream cheese
1 cup mascarpone
400 grams white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla
red and green food coloring (I used Wilton's gel colors)
For the whipped cream:
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Marshmallow Snowmen:
approx 20 marshmallows
orange and black food coloring (I used Wilton's gel colors)
For the marshmallow snowmen, prepare a batch of royal icing, or pick up a tube of the pre-made frosting in the cake decorating isle. Buy the white color and dye a small batch of black and orange at home. You need a very tiny amount of icing for these snowmen so it may not be necessary to prepare an entire batch of royal icing. I did, but that is only because I'm decorating sugar cookies later in the week. It's up to you! I used the recipe from Sweetopia, which you can find here.
I used a number 2 tip for his eyes, and a number 3 tip for the nose. I found that keeping the snowmen in a muffin tin helped keep them straight and made decorating much easier.
To prepare the filling, place the white chocolate in a heat safe bowl.
Microwave for one minute. Stir and microwave again for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave in 10 second intervals (stirring after each interval) until the chocolate is smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Add the cream cheese and mascarpone to the bowl of a stand-up mixer.
Beat on medium high until creamy and smooth. Add the melted chocolate and vanilla and mix until combined.
Equally divide the filling in two separate bowls. Add the red and green food coloring to each, using a toothpick to transfer the color from the pot to the bowl. Add color slowly in small amounts, stirring after each addition until you've reached the desired color. Set aside.
To prepare the whipped cream, place the bowl of a stand up mixer along with the whisk attachment in the fridge for about 10 minutes to chill. Remove from the fridge and add the heavy cream to the bowl. Beat on the highest speed until soft peaks form.
Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat on high until stiff.
Cover the bottom of the trifle dish with a layer of cake. Be sure to compact it down nice and tight. Give a good squeeze of Hershey's syrup (aka glue).
Next, sprinkle half of the candy:
Continue with the entire batch of the green-colored filling:
Add another layer of chocolate cake and push down to compact. Give a good squeeze of the Hershey's syrup:
Sprinkle on the remaining candy:
Add the entire batch of the red-colored filling:
Add half of the whipped cream and place the snowmen around the edge of the bowl. Add the remaining whipped cream and try to pile it on top like snow. Use the back of a large spoon to smooth the whipped cream out. Garnish with the colored candies. I used a Hershey Kiss on top, but I think a candy star or maybe an edible chocolate tree ornament would be nice too.
I always let my trifle's sit in the fridge for a few hours (over night is best) so the flavors can marry and get happy.
I would LOVE to see your variations of this recipe and what creative ideas you and your kiddos come up with! Trifle's are awesome and I truly hope you enjoyed this one as much as I did!
Merry Christmas and ENJOY!