For once, I decided on simplicity for Christmas dessert, especially since we were journeying about 1 1/2 hours to my sister-in-law’s home for Christmas dinner and the dessert had to sustain travel. A simple chocolate bundt cake dressed up with dark chocolate cinnamon glaze would suffice.
Alas, it wasn’t one of my successful baking days.
When I finally released the cake from the bundt pan, I found the outside had BURNED! Argh!!!
Imagine my frustration even more when I realized the clock read 8:00 pm and it was Christmas Eve.
After I calmed down from several minutes of stress and my mind spinning with thoughts of what I could quickly pull together for dessert, I decided to taste the cake with the hope that it wasn’t too disastrous and the glaze could cover the burn.
Although only a thin layer of the outside was burned and the inside was still moist, the charred taste dominated. Why throw it all away, though–which in my disgust at burning it I sorely wanted to do–when a majority of it was still edible?
I decided to cut off the burned edges and slice it up to make trifles.
Ironically, the first dessert I had contemplated making for the holiday was a Red Berry Trifle made with pound cake and cognac cream (from Ina Garten). So, back to my original plan, then, only now I had to make it work with chocolate cake.
I had to scramble to figure out how to put together a chocolate trifle. I decided to use my triple frozen berries from Costco–choosing the raspberries and blackberries but omitting the blueberries –for the fruit layer. Awhile back I had made blackberry jam (from Giada De Laurentis), so that was ready to spread onto the cake layers. Next was figuring out how to make a chocolate custard, for that seemed like it would coordinate well. Custard required more ingredients and time than pudding, so I opted for a pudding recipe instead. (By the way, custard is the “egg cousin” of pudding because it includes eggs in the recipe; otherwise, the consistency is similar). And finally, I quickly whipped up some sweetened cream to top it all off.
Whew! From disaster comes success.
Chocolate Berry Trifle
- chocolate cake (Bundt cake recipe below)
- berry jam of choice
- berries (fresh is best but frozen works, too–just thaw them first)
- chocolate custard or pudding (recipe below)
- sweetened whipped cream (recipe below)
- chocolate shavings for garnish
- Cut cake into 1/2-inch thick slices. Spread each slice with jam. Layer in bottom of large trifle dish or individual trifle cups.
- Spread a layer of berries on top of cake slice.
- Spread a layer of pudding over berries.
- Repeat as needed.
- Finally, add a dollop of whipped cream. Garnish with sprinkles of chocolate.
Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake with Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Glaze
- 8 oz. butter (2 sticks)
- 1/2 cup high quality Dutch Process Cocoa
- 1 tbsp. instant espresso powder dissolved into 3/4 cup water
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt (I used Kosher)
- optional: 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Glaze
- 4 oz. high-quality bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 1/2 tsp. light corn syrup
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place oven rack in the middle position.
- Grease and flour a 10-12 cup bundt pan.
- Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-heat; add cocoa, stirring until smooth (I sifted cocoa first; this makes blending it with butter easier).
- Whisk in espresso and water mixture and remove from heat.
- Add the sugar, whisking until dissolved, about one minute.
- Add sour cream, vanilla, and eggs; whisk until smooth.
- Add baking soda and salt; whisk.
- Add flour (sift it first); whisk until well blended (batter will be thin and bubbly).
- Fold in chocolate chips.
- Pour batter into prepared pan. Tap pan a few times on counter to eliminate bubbles. Bake for 40-45 minutes–until it feels firm to the touch and has slightly pulled away from sides of pan…or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Carefully loosen the cake with a knife and invert onto a large plate. Cool completely before glazing.
- Place chocolate, butter, corn syrup, and cinnamon in a medium heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water.
- Stir the mixture using a rubber spatula until melted and smooth.
- Pour warm glaze over bundt cake.
- Keep covered in a cake-keeper at room temperature for up to 4 days.
SOURCES: adapted from Sweetapolita (awesome cakes on her site!) and Merry Gourmet
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 4 cups milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- whipped cream, for garnish when serving
- In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, cornstarch, and salt; set aside.
- Combine milk and vanilla in medium saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until small bubbles form around the edges.
- Add chopped chocolate to saucepan and stir with spatula until chocolate is melted, 1-2 minutes. (The chocolate may appear slightly specked and not completely melted. It will smooth out later.)
- Ladle about a quarter of the warm milk mixture into the bowl with the sugar mixture; whisk until smooth. Whisk in the remaining milk mixture. Return entire mixture to saucepan over medium heat. Continue to cook, stirring with spatula, until mixture bubbles and thickens. Be sure to scrape bottom and sides of pan so mixture does not burn.
- Continue to cook until mixture is very thick, about 2 minutes. (To test, run a finger through the mixture on the back of a spatula–it should leave a distinct trail.)
- Divide the pudding between 6-8 serving dishes. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool 30 minutes, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill and set completely, at least 2 hours. Remove plastic wrap, top with whipped cream as desired, and serve.
SOURCE: Annie’s Eats
Sweetened Whipped Cream
- 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Place the cream, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Whip on medium speed until mixture begins to thicken, then switch to high speed until the cream just forms still peaks.
- Chill and serve cold.
SOURCE: Food Network (Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa)