Made with distinctive layers of light, fluffy sponge, flavoursome jelly, and creamy custard and cream, these mini trifle cakes make a perfect addition to any afternoon tea or family get-together, being a treat for the eyes as well as the taste buds.
Arguably the most welcomed dessert for our family is the humble trifle. The trifle seems to be a British institution with its delicious layers of sponge, fruit, jelly, custard and cream all being clearly visible through a large glass serving bowl. When the five of us get together, and trifle is on the menu, that glass bowl soon finds its way back into the cupboard having had the contents devoured; there's never any trifle left for the following day!
Having been inspired by a few trifle themed cupcakes on pinterest I decided to rustle up a few mini trifle cakes. OK, although they're individual cakes they're not exactly mini or even petit-fours, with them being far from dainty you could even call them petit-eights! But despite their generous proportions, these individual trifle cakes are certainly a winner according to Mr E.
These little trifle cakes are easy to whip up. The sponge is made from a straightforward light sponge, the type used for swiss rolls, which consists of just 3 ingredients and is baked in a few short minutes. The jelly was made from a tasty jam, we used Sainsbury's Red Plum Conserve, which was slackened down before being set with a vegetarian jelling agent. Vegetarian gelling agents are far quicker to set than the traditional gelatin based jellies. Although it results in the bake taking less time to complete, it does mean that you have to work swiftly when making the jelly layer. The custard layer, as I'm sure you've already realised with that vibrant yellow, is made from good old Birds custard. It's a quick and easy custard to make, but clearly if you fancy trying these mini trifle cakes with a creme patisserie your effort will certainly be rewarded.
Each separate component layer of the trifle was allowed to cool and set before being assembled. The layers were cut with the same plain round biscuit cutter to ensure that every disc was the same size therefore resulting in neater stacked trifle cakes. It also meant that they looked a little more aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Now, I have to admit that because I chose to make circular mini cakes there was a lot of off-cuts. Those off-cut pieces of sponge were actually scoffed by yours truly because it was so tasty, but you might decide to freeze them ready to make a traditional trifle another day. If you prefer you could make your mini trifle cakes square which would certainly result in far less off-cuts.
So let's get to it and bake!
Mini Trifle Cakes. Yum
Difficulty: Easy - moderate
Freezable: Sponge only
Time: Bake time 15 minutes; hands on time about 45 minutes; plus setting and cooling time.
You will need:
2 Brownie tin (about 20cm x 20cm) or similar
1 medium Mixing Bowl
1 Milk Pan / Small Pan
1 large baking tray with sides (about 24cm x 34cm)
Large Mixing Bowl
Stand Mixer or Hand Held Electric Beaters (or balloon whisk)
Spatula / Large Metal Spoon
Small Star Nozzle
68mm Round Biscuit Cutter
For the sponge layer
3 large Eggs
90g SR Flour
For the jelly layer
240g your favourite jam / conserve, plus 4 tsp extra (we used Sainsburys Red Plum Conserve)
3 tbsp boiling Water
200ml cold Water
1 sachet of Vegetarian Gelling Agent (we used Dr Oekters vege-gel)
For the custard layer
1 heaped tbsp Birds Custard Powder
1/2 - 1 tbsp Sugar (dependant upon your liking)
For the cream layer
150ml Double Cream
Milk / Dark Chocolate
How to make it:
1. Make the custard. Line a brownie sized tin with clingfilm. Place the sugar and custard powder into a medium sized mixing bowl. Add a tablespoon of the measured milk and mix together until it is smooth. Pour the milk into a small pan and heat on the hob until it is almost boiling. Pour the hot milk into the custard paste and stir thoroughly. The custard will be very thick. Stir the custard every minute or so to help it to cool down and prevent it from forming a skin. After 10 minutes or so, pour the cooled custard into the prepared brownie tin. Use a spatula to smooth the top a little. You're aiming for the custard be be around 1cm deep. Don't worry about pushing it into the edges as discs will be cut from this. Cover with a sheet of cling film ensuring it is in direct contact with the custard.
2. Prepare the large baking tray. Grease and fully line the baking tray with greaseproof paper.
3. Pre-heat the oven. Pre-heat the oven to 180 / 160 Fan / Gas 4.
4. Make the sponge. Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl and add the sugar. Use the hand held electric beaters to whisk the eggs and sugar together until it is pale, thick and voluminous. You should be able to lift the beaters and write the number 8 fully before it starts to sink back into the mixture. Sift the flour into the mixture and very carefully fold it in with a spatula or large metal spoon, aiming to combine the flour with the egg mixture without loosing too much volume. Ensure that no flour is trapped at the bottom of the mixture.
5. Bake the sponge. Tip the sponge batter into the prepared tin from a low height. Use a spatula to smooth out the mixture. Place the tin into the centre of the oven and bake for about 15 minutes. You may need to rotate the tin after 11 or 12 minutes of baking. The sponge will be cooked through when it is starting to pull away from the sides and springs back when gently touched. Remove from the oven. Use the greaseproof paper to lift the sponge from the tin and place it onto a cooling tray. Set aside.
6. Make the jelly. Line a brownie sized tin with cling film. Place the jam into a small pan. Add the boiling water and stir. Place the pan on a low to medium hob heat to allow the jam to melt. Stir with a wooden spoon. Meanwhile dissolve the gelling agent powder in the cold water. Pour the cold water mixture into the jam and stir. Allow to come to the boil. Pour into the prepared tin, aiming for the jelly to be around 1cm deep. The remaining jelly can be poured into a pudding bowl to enjoy another day. Work quickly (but safely) as the jelly will set quickly. Set aside to cool and firm up.
7. Whip the cream. When each component layer is cold and fully set and you're ready to assemble the cakes whip the cream, ideally with a hand held balloon whisk. Spoon the cream into a piping bag fitted with a small star nozzle.
8. Prepare to assemble. Position the cold sponge layer face side down onto a clean work surface and gently peel off the greaseproof paper. Use the biscuit cutter to cut 10 discs from the sponge. Set the off cuts of sponge aside. Clean the cutter and cut 5 discs in the custard and 5 discs in the jelly. Place the extra 4 tsp jam into a small bowl and mix with 2 tsp water to slacken.
9. Assemble. Use the back of a teaspoon to spread a thin layer of the jam onto one side each of the 10 sponge discs. Use a pallet knife to lift a jelly disc and place it onto the jammed surface of one of the sponge discs. Repeat with the other four cakes. Use the pallet knife to carefully lift a custard disc and place it onto the jelly. Repeat with the other four cakes. Top the stacked trifle cakes with the remaining sponge discs, jam side down. Pipe the cream over the top of the sponge cakes. Grate a small amount of chocolate over the top to complete.
Notes:a) The sponge can be made with a balloon whisk, though it will take around 10 - 15 minutes of constant beating to achieve the desired thickness.
b) Consider freezing the surplus sponge in an airtight container for use with a traditional trifle another day.
c) If you're not baking for vegetarians a traditional jelly would work equally as well but do consider that it will take far longer to set. You could suspend fruit pieces in the jelly whilst it is set aside to firm up.
d) To make daintier cakes use a smaller biscuit cutter though avoid making them too small as their height may make them more likely to topple over.
e) Keep the assembled cakes in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
f) If the cakes are to be transported assemble them at their destination.
This post has been shared with:
Sunday Fitness & Food Linkup co-hosted by Ilka at Ilka's Blog and Angela at Marathons and Motivation
Bake of the week co-hosted by Sarah at Maison Cupcake and Helen over at Casa Costello (this week is hosted by sarah)