Southern Living (November 2015)
Clay: “Do we have a trifle bowl?”
Zach: “Have you met us? Of course we have a trifle bowl!”
And that's all it took for this Cherry Spice Cake Trifle to make it onto our Fakesgiving menu.
This is the kind of dessert you want to tell your guests that it didn't turn out, so you can stash it in the fridge and then eat it all yourself the next day.
It's the kind of dessert you want to crawl inside.
It's the kind of dessert you want at your Thanksgiving table.
There are three components here that make this dish a winner:
First is the holiday spice cake, which is phenomenal just on its own. It's flavored with sweet potatoes, vanilla, and all the spices we associate with the holidays, like nutmeg and cinnamon and ginger. It's moist and flavorful and you can make it well in advance.
Next up is the cherry compote filling, which starts with a jar of cherry preserves that gets punched up by orange juice and cranberries. It's a perfect balance of sweet and tart. (Technically, this really should be called a Cherry-Cranberry Spice Cake Trifle.)
And then there's the custard, which is velvety and rich and incredibly decadent.
Oh! And there's a whipped topping made with cream, vanilla and sugar, because at this point, why not?
Once the components are ready, you simply build the trifle by layering in a large bowl. Cake, compote, custard. Repeat. Repeat. Whipped topping.
All of these components are really tasty on their own. Combined together, it's sublime: a perfectly spiced dessert with both sweet and tart elements (but mostly sweet). And it's great for a Thanksgiving crowd: This recipe makes a massive amount of trifle.
We're ready to sign up for new Thanksgiving Trifle tradition.
Servings: 15 to 20
Total time: 9 Hours, 15 Minutes
Hands-on time: 45 Minutes
NOTES FROM ZACH AND CLAY
The custard filling calls for vanilla bean paste, which we have never seen at our supermarket. We ordered it from Amazon.
1 (13-oz.) jar cherry preserves
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, divided
For the Custard:
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon table salt
3 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the Cake:
Holiday Spice Cake, cut into 1-inch cubes (recipe below)
For the Topping:
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
1. Prepare Filling: Bring first 3 ingredients and 3 cups cranberries to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low, and boil, stirring often, 5 to 6 minutes or until berries begin to pop. Remove from heat, and stir in remaining 1 cup cranberries. Transfer mixture to a bowl; cool completely (about 30 minutes). Cover and chill 8 to 24 hours.
2. Meanwhile, prepare Custard. Whisk together brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large heavy saucepan; whisk in milk and 1 1/2 cups cream. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Boil 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove from heat.
3. Whisk in butter and next 3 ingredients. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl, and place plastic wrap directly on mixture (to prevent a film from forming). Cool completely (about 30 minutes). Chill 8 to 24 hours.
4. Assemble trifle. Layer about one-third of cake cubes in a 4-qt. bowl. Top with one-third each cranberry filling and custard. Repeat layers twice.
5. Prepare Topping: Beat vanilla extract and 2 cups heavy cream at medium-high speed until foamy; gradually add powdered sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Dollop over trifle. Serve immediately, or chill up to 8 hours.
Holiday Spice Cake
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy. Gradually add granulated sugar and light brown sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add sweet potatoes and vanilla, beating just until blended.
2. Stir together flour and next 6 ingredients. Add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Spoon batter into 2 greased (with shortening) and floured 9-inch round, 2-inch-deep cake pans.
3. Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire rack, and cool completely (about 1 hour).