Strawberry and Cream Trifle

When a gorgeous slice of cake appears in front of you, tall and gloriously layered, which part is your fork most attracted to?

Much like preferring certain parts of a chicken over others – I’m a thigh girl, in case you’re wondering – I’ve noticed how people like to eat their cake. Some people avoid extraneous fluff, frosting or filling and zero in on their prize: the cake; while others are happy to precisely scrape away and devour only the layers of icing, leaving naked, golden cake all alone on the plate, like Beyoncè after she’s stripped off a pink satin dress at the end of the day.

It must be a trait we carry throughout our lifetime, because it’s not only children who seem to have this compulsion. I know a few adults who would gladly mutilate a harmless cake just to get at the neon-colored icing.

I place myself in the democratic camp; I get some of everything when I dig in to dessert; a bite of moist cake, the crush of sweet juicy fruit, and a lashing of vanilla-scented cream. That’s why I think trifle is such a perfect dessert: It’s cake deconstructed and put back together.

For this trifle recipe, I baked a sponge cake from pastry chef David Lebovitz’s new book Ready for Dessert. It’s super-easy to make and even better made ahead of time – like the day before assembling the trifle. But to keep things extra-simple, a store-bought angel food cake would work just as well.

And – ssshhh – maybe even better, since you can take credit for serving a simply stunning dessert for Mother’s Day (or any day) without having to turn on the oven.

Strawberry and Cream Trifle

Serving Size: serves 4

Ingredients

    For sponge cake:
  1. 5 large eggs, separated
  2. ¼ cup cold water
  3. 1 cup sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 1 ½ cups cake flour, sifted
  6. ½ teaspoon baking powder
  7. ¼ teaspoon salt
  8. Grated zest of a lemon or orange
  9. For Trifle:
  10. ¾ cup sugar
  11. 2 cups crème fraiche
  12. 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  13. 1 vanilla bean, split with sharp knife and seeds scraped
  14. Juice from one large lemon or orange
  15. 4 cups mixed hulled and sliced strawberries and raspberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter the bottom of a rimmed 12 x 18-inch baking sheet or a 9-inch springform pan with sides at least 2 inches high. Line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the egg yolks and water on high speed for 1 minute. Decrease speed to medium, add sugar and vanilla then increase speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture forms a ribbon when the whip is lifted, about 5 minutes. Scrape the batter into another bowl, and wash the bowl and beater.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt over the beaten yolks. Gently fold in the flour until completely incorporated.
  4. Whip the egg whites and zest in the clean bowl on high speed until they form stiff peaks. Fold one-third of the whites into the yolk batter to lighten, then fold in the remaining whites.
  5. Pour batter into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Bake until the cake is lightly browned and the center springs back when gently pressed, 15 – 18 minutes in a baking sheet or 40 – 45 minutes in a springform cake pan.
  6. Let cake cool in the pan. Run a knife around the sides of cake to loosen and invert onto a cutting board.
  7. Whisk ½ cup sugar with the crème fraiche, cream and vanilla bean seeds in a medium bowl until smooth.
  8. In another bowl, whisk the remaining ¼ cup sugar with lemon or orange juice to dissolve. Gently stir in the berries. Let the berries sit 10 minutes.
  9. To assemble the trifle, cut the cake into circles to fit into 4 wide, shallow glasses. You can use ramekins, dessert bowls or go all out and use a special trifle bowl if you have one, just cut the cake into pieces to fit.
  10. Layer cake, berries and cream into whatever serving container you’re using, ending with berries on top. Refrigerate 30 minutes to one hour before serving.
http://familystylefood.com/2010/05/strawberry-and-cream-trifle/

Comments

  1. I want some of that! It looks so good.

  2. A thigh girl, you say? Did you ever see So Taguchi in his warm-up shorts? Those were some thighs. Still miss the guy. Rail-thin, but what thighs.

  3. Over the weekend, my sister was urging me to work on a summer trifle. Yours is gorgeous, I especially love the lighter cake for summer, for Christmas we use panettone. Very pretty.

    PS That Tony is such a, ahem, Card, I mean, card.

  4. My fork goes for the middle where it’s most moist and dense. I actually avoid crunchy sugar frosting! I prefer cream cheese frosting or even pudding. I’m just loving this trifle, Karen. It’s such a beautiful presentation.

  5. I can’t get enough strawberries right now. They are so sweet and delicious. Your dessert is stunning!

  6. I adore trifles and can’t think of a better way to show off summer fruit. Your trifle looks beautiful, and I like your idea of combining creme fraiche with the cream.

  7. Your trifle is just beautiful and I’m sure it tastes every bit as good as it looks. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

  8. This is gorgeous! Can’t wait to try this one. We need another way to enjoy our strawberries.

  9. This trifle is gorgeous and so perfect for summer entertaining!

  10. Hi Karen! We’ve posted the photos and a link to your recipe on our site!
    http://www.elements-magazine.com/2012/02/gastronomical-delight-strawberry-and.html

    Should you want us to remove it, do email and let us know!

    PS: The trifle looks DELICIOUS! <3

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