Black Forest Trifle Cake

By Fongolicious - December 30, 2012

Annual Christmas dinner was at my Uncle's place. As usual, it's pot luck and as usual, I bring the dessert. Though last year I took my quinoa with chickpea, spinach and haloumi but that didn't go down so well. Most of my family isn't that adventurous when it comes to food. So I'd best stick to more familiar desserts.

Keeping to the Aussie Christmas theme, I decided to make trifle. Personally, I'm not the biggest a fan of trifle. Jelly, custard, fruit and sponge… all great things individually but together… the party becomes a little awkward in my mouth. Not this one though.

With the cherry season in fully swing and this year it's an awesome season too, it is the best time to make use of the seasonal produce. And a great recipe to celebrate the greatness of cherry and chocolate – Black forest. I also found a white chocolate and raspberry trifle cake in the latest Donna Hay Magazine (Issue 66, page 100). So adapting this, I present my black forest trifle cake. Credit for the chocolate custard goes to Poh, from Emmanuel Mollois chocolate éclair recipe. I stayed pretty close to this recipe, though I think in future I could cut down the sugar.

Below, I've split the recipe in parts then the steps to build it. There are a fair few steps, so best to make this at least a day ahead of time.

Cherry jelly
1 packet of store bought jelly – 85g (I used raspberry, but you can use cherry or port)
~400g fresh cherries, cut in half and de-stoned
250ml boiling water (as per jelly instructions)
200ml room temperature water (as per jelly instructions)

1. Prepare the cherries – wash, cut in half and de-stone. Place them in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

2. Following the packet instructions prepare the jelly. (Usually, dissolve the packet’s contents into 250ml boiling water, then 200ml of room temperature water.)

3. In a shallow dish, line the dish with about a third of the prepared cherries. Pour the jelly over. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to set (about 4 hours).

Chocolate custard
200ml of cream
130ml milk
4 egg yolk
60g caster sugar (I'd cut it down to 45 to 50g as the cream and milk are sweet too)
165g dark chocolate, roughly chopped/cubed

1. In a medium bowl, bring to a boil the cream and milk.

2. While waiting for cream mixture to boil, combine egg yolks and caster sugar in a medium bowl and whisk immediately until they become a pale gold. (This is actually cooking the eggs.)

3. Add cream mixture to the egg mixture in one pour, stir slightly then return mixture to the pot you used to boil the cream and milk. On very low heat, be sure not to boil, continue stirring until all the bubbles have disappeared, the mixture becomes a little thick and creamy. You can tell the mixture is ready when it coats the back of the spoon, you run your finger along the back and the mixture doesn't move into the space where you've just run your finger. If you’re not following what I mean, refer to Poh's video (link above).

4. Remove from heat and add chocolate and continue to stir until all the chocolate has melted. Pour into a bowl, allow to cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to set (a few hours or overnight).

Chocolate cake
250g butter, chopped
200g dark chocolate, chopped
1 2/3 cups (~350g) caster sugar
1 1/2 cups (375ml) water
2 cups (300g) plain flour, sifted
2/3 cup (100g) self-raising flour, sifted
3 eggs
1 tspn vanilla essence

1. Preheat oven to 120C. Lightly grease and line with baking paper, a 24cm round cake tin.

2. Place butter, sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until butter has melted and sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until chocolate has melted and mixture appears smooth. Transfer mixture to large bowl and set aside to cool slightly. Add both flours, eggs and vanilla and whisk until smooth.

3. Pour mixture into prepared cake tin and bake for 1.5 to 2 hours or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Allow cake to cool completely in the tin before turning cake out onto a wire rack.

Building the trifle cake
80ml (1/3 cup) water
1/3 cup caster sugar
45ml kirsch (1.5 shot) Prepared cake
300ml thickened cream
1tspn vanilla essence
1/4 cup icing sugar
Remaining cherries from cherry jelly (above)
Prepared jelly
Prepared chocolate custard
Shaved chocolate (garnish)

1. In a small saucepan, combine water, caster sugar and kirsch over medium heat and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

2. Place cake onto serving plate. Place a 20cm plate on top of the cake. Using a small sharp knife, make about a 3cm deep cut around the plate. Remove the plate and cut a chequered pattern of 2.5cm squares in the round. Using a spoon, carefully scoop out the squares. In the original recipe it says to place scooped out cake squares in the kirsch mixture to absorb the liquid. However, I don’t think there is enough space left in the cake to return these cubes. So I used them in a traditional trifle (along with the left overs of the other parts – custard, fruit, jelly, kirsch and cream).

3. Beat cream, icing sugar and vanilla until firm peaks. The volumes I've stated above are approximate. You'll need to keep tasting to suit your liking. Cocoa is added for colour, flavour and the bitterness, so balance this with the icing sugar. Be sure as you add to the sugar, you sift it in to avoid lumps.

4. Sprinkle some of kirsch mixture over the base of the cake just to moisten and flavour (not to soak). 

Do you think you're ready for this jelly! :p
5. Add sheets of jelly to line the cake cavity. 

6. Spread custard over the jelly. 

7. Carefully place the halved cherries onto of the custard to cover top. 

8. Top the cake with chocolate cream and any remaining cherries to garnish. Sprinkle with shaved chocolate.

9. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Merry Christmas and enjoy!

Note: As mentioned above, with the left over bits, I made a "traditional" style trifle. This involves layers, starting with cake, kirsch, jelly, custard then fruit. Then cake and kirsch, cream to finish off. Bonus! Two dishes!

Not very attractive slice but delicious!

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