So on Memorial Day, my Friend-I-Can-Cook-With and I made a trifle. (We also made baked beans which turned out just fine, but are not nearly as interesting).
As FICCW noted, I was the architect of the trifle, and he was the engineer. This came in handy when, for example, I had baked two 9-inch rounds of cake and needed them divided into three equal portions. You may smile gently at this point and say to yourself “well, Annie’s a smart woman; she could have done that on her own…”) but you would be tragically mistaken. I cannot keep track of certain logical sorts of things (I am always confused by recipes involving “ending with a top layer of” something. Sometimes I have to draw myself a picture of alternating lasagna noodles, sauce and cheese that resembles a cross section of the earth’s core in order to avoid confusion and a last minute run to the store for extra mozzarella).
But I digress. What I envisioned were alternating layers of homemade white cake, whipped cream, strawberries and blueberries. Once the project commenced, the following changes were made:
- There were no fresh blueberries, so I bought frozen
- I like yellow cake better, so I abandoned the patriotic color scheme and made a butter cake
- Having abandoned the color scheme, I decided that the last of the lemon curd might be quite good if we could work it in
- I found the bottle of Chambord on top of my refrigerator, and decided that the children probably wouldn’t eat the trifle anyway, and that if they did, their tempers and constitutions could only be improved with a little liqueur.
- I decided that the strawberries, although not frozen, looked a bit peaked from flying in from California, and required some fluffing.
Here is what we finally ended up doing, and, if I may so myself, it was magnificent.
Improvised Memorial Day Trifle
- 1 quart fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and cut in slices lengthwise (reserve 5 of the most beautiful)
- 1 pint fresh blueberries (can substitute frozen, if necessary)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 vanilla bean (optional)
- 1 recipe white or yellow cake (enough to make two 8 or 9-inch rounds)
- 4 pints whipping cream
- Powdered sugar
- Lemon Curd (optional)
- Chambord or other berry liqueur (optional)
-Make cake batter and bake
-While cake is baking, cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape one half pod into sugar and mix with finger tips. place in bowl with strawberries, toss to mix, and set aside.
-Whip cream with hand or stand mixer until stiff peaks form; fold in powdered sugar to taste, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Refrigerate.
-Bake cake until it is approximately 2-3 minutes past being “done.” (This will make it a bit drier and more absorbent). Cool, and divide into three equal sections.
-Crumble 1/3 of cake into bottom of bowl, sprinkle it with about 1 tablespoon of Chambord, and gently dab/spread 1/2 lemon curd over cake, cover with 1/4 whipped cream and half of the strawberries.
-Crumble another 1/3 cake, add second 1/2 lemon curd, 1/4 whipped cream, and blueberries
-Crumble final third of cake onto blueberry layer, top with 1/4 whipped cream and remaining strawberries.
-End with final 1/4 of whipped cream, and top with five beautiful strawberries arranged with four equidistant from the center and one in the center. If you are feeling very fancy, make vertical slices through the berries, leaving stem intact, and fan out.
This will be much better if it can sit for at least a few hours before serving – maybe four to six. Don’t let it it set much longer, or the cake will become mushy. Of course, this is best served in a trifle bowl or other clear glass bowl.