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In a world full of decadent desserts, this coffee and chocolate trifle stands as a testament to the delightful, layered complexity of flavors. Originating from England in the 18th century, the trifle has evolved from a simple fruit and custard concoction to a canvas for creative expression in the world of baking. Its layered structure allows for a symphony of flavors, and when infused with just a hint of chocolate and the rich intensity of coffee in the velvety custard, it becomes a sensory masterpiece.
The history of the trifle is a fascinating journey through time. Initially, it emerged as a humble dish, often consisting of stale cake, fruits, and custard. Over the years, it transformed into a lavish treat, incorporating a myriad of ingredients and flavors. The layers, traditionally arranged in a transparent bowl, showcase the beauty of each element, inviting anticipation with every spoonful. Today, the trifle has become a versatile dessert, offering a platform for endless variations to suit individual tastes.
Baking, as a creative outlet, extends beyond the boundaries of the kitchen. For home bakers like me, the process of crafting a coffee and chocolate trifle becomes a therapeutic escape. The act of measuring, mixing, and assembling the layers provides a mindful rhythm, a moment of solace amidst the demands of daily life. The aroma of brewing coffee and melting chocolate becomes a fragrant symphony, filling the kitchen with warmth and comfort.
The benefits of baking for stress relief are well-documented. Engaging in the intricate dance of ingredients not only stimulates the senses but also fosters a sense of accomplishment. For me, the joy of seeing these creations come to life, layer by layer, is unparalleled. Baking serves as a form of meditation, allowing the mind to focus on the present moment and temporarily set aside the stresses of the outside world. The trifle, with its indulgent layers, becomes a sweet escape from the chaos of the day.
One day if I ever open a bakery, I envision a space where the magic of baking can be shared with the community. This “Pick Me Up” coffee and chocolate trifle, with its rich history and therapeutic qualities, embodies the essence of my baking philosophy—making life better, one recipe at a time. So, the next time you find yourself yearning for a delightful escape, consider indulging in the art of baking and savoring the layers of a coffee and chocolate trifle.
Coffee & Chocolate “Pick Me Up” Trifle
1 hour, 45 minutes
You will need:
- Glass Trifle Dish (116 oz to 148 oz) or a large glass bowl
- Stand mixer, whisk attachment and paddle attachment
- Hand mixer with beaters
- 2 large mixing bowls, one small mixing bowl
- glass measuring jugs (1 cup and 2 cup)
- medium saucepan, small saucepan, and wooden spoon or silicon spatula
- offset spatula (small and large)
- Swiss Roll – chiffon cake method
- • 5 large eggs, separated
- • 4 tbsp granulated sugar, divided
- • 3 tbsp (33 g) canola oil
- • 3 tbsp cold brewed coffee
- • 11 tbsp (110 g) cake flour
- • 3 tsp (6 g) espresso powder
- Ganache Filling
- • ¾ cup (135 g) dark chocolate, chopped
- • ½ cup (120 g) heavy whipping cream
- Chocolate Crumbs
- • ½ cup (60 grams) All-Purpose Flour
- • 1 tbsp (9 g) Cornstarch
- • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- • ½ cup (56 g) Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
- • ½ tsp Kosher Salt
- • 6 tbsp (88 g) Unsalted Butter, melted
- Coffee Syrup Soak
- •½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- • ½ cup (113 g) Water
- • 2 tsp (4 g) espresso powder
- Coffee Custard
- • 2 cups (470 g) whole milk
- • ½ cup (110 g) cold brewed coffee
- • ½ cup (115 g) heavy whipping cream
- • 1 large egg, room temperature
- • 2 egg yolks, room temperature
- • ½ cup (85 g) light brown sugar
- • 4 tbsp (36 g) cornstarch
- • 2 tbsp (28 g) unsalted butter
- • 1 tsp (2 g) espresso powder
- • ½ tsp kosher salt
- Whipped Cream Topping
- • 2 cups (480 g) cold heavy whipping cream
- • ¼ cup powdered sugar
- • 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Make the Coffee Syrup Soak first
- 1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- 2. Once your mixture has come to a boil, whisk in 1 tbsp of espresso powder.
- 3. Pour mixture into a small bowl and set aside to cool completely.
- For the Swiss Roll
- 4. Preheat the oven to 320ºF
- 5. Line a Swiss roll pan with parchment, set aside
- 6. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add the 5 egg whites and turn on the mixer to low.
- 7. When the egg whites become frothy, slowly add 2 tbsp of granulated sugar.
- 8. Once all the sugar is added, turn up the mixer to medium–high, and whisk until stiff peaks form.
- 9. While it’s mixing, in a large bowl add the egg yolks and 2 tbsp of granulated sugar and beat with a hand mixer until light in color.
- 10. In a small measuring pitcher, add the cold brewed coffee, and espresso powder, mix until the powder dissolves. Add the oil to the coffee mixture, and blend until smooth.
- 11. Add this coffee/oil mixture to the egg yolk mixture, and whisk until completely combined.
- 12. Add the cake flour to the egg yolk mixture, and quickly mix until the flour just disappears.
- 13. Gently fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the yolk mixture until there are no white streaks. (this is a sacrifice, don’t worry too much if the mixture deflates a little bit)
- 14. Then, gently fold in the rest of the egg whites until no steaks show.
- 15. Pour the batter into the prepared sheet pan, smoothing with an offset spatula until it is completely even and smooth, making sure the batter covers the sheet edge to edge. It should still be fluffy, be gentle.
- 16. Tap the sheet on the counter once or twice to help remove any large air bubbles.
- 17. Place the sheet in middle of the preheated oven and bake for 13 minutes. (the cake will puff slightly, and it will not giggle, and when touched it will spring back)
- 18. While it’s baking, set up a clean kitchen towel on the counter and sprinkle with powdered sugar, and carefully tip off any excess powdered sugar.
- 19. Once baked, remove from the oven and run a knife around the edges so the cake is not sticking.
- 20. Take the prepped kitchen towel and place the powdered sugar side face down on the top of the cake.
- 21. Place a baker’s cooling rack on top of the kitchen towel, and carefully flip the pan over and set the rack on the counter. Pull off the pan, and remove the parchment paper. (the cake will now be on top of the powdered kitchen towel)
- 22. While it’s still warm, starting at the short end, flip the end of the kitchen towel over the short end, and roll up the cake using the kitchen towel to create a roll. (the kitchen towel will be in the roll) Wrap the towel ends under so you have a burrito, and set the roll aside to cool while making the ganache.
- For the Ganache Filling
- 23. In a small bowl or microwave-safe measuring cup, add the chopped chocolate and heavy whipping cream.
- 24. Microwave in 15 – 20-second increments, stirring after each, until the ganache is smooth. Be careful not to overheat! Keep a watchful eye to avoid burning or curdling the chocolate.
- 25. Pour the melted chocolate mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, and beat until cooled completely, and then continue beating until it becomes lighter in color and fluffier in texture.
- 26. Unroll the cake, it should be room temperature (if it’s hot, wait until it’s cooled before unrolling and filling), and spread all of the ganache evenly, covering all of the cake.
- 27. Then, roll the cake back up (it should retain its rolled shape), and set aside to cool completely. Refrigerate, be sure to use the kitchen towel to keep it rolled tightly.
- While the cake is chilling, make the crumbs
- 28. Preheat oven to 300ºF and line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- 29. Mix the flour, cornstarch, sugar, cocoa, and salt with a flexible spatula or in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on low speed until it’s one color and mixed well.
- 30. With the mixer on low, slowly drizzle the melted butter into the bowl until small clusters start forming.
- 31. Be sure to use all of the butter, and turn off the mixer once all the butter is in.
- 32. You can use your hands to press some small clumps together.
- 33. Scatter the clusters onto the lined baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, breaking up any larger clumps halfway, at the 10-minute mark.
- 34. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the crumbs to cool on the pan until completely cool. Set them aside until ready to use.
- Start the assembly
- 35. Bring your Trifle dish, coffee syrup soak, and the Swiss roll from the refrigerator to your workstation.
- 36. Using a very sharp knife (or plain/unflavored dental floss) cut the roll into 18 equal segments.
- 37. Set 2 of the roll segments aside and cover them so they don’t dry out.
- 38. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the coffee syrup on each of the 16 cut rolls, brushing the syrup on one of the flat-cut sides.
- 39. Starting on the bottom of the dish, lay the rolls on the bottom completely covering it, and then add rolls to the sides of the dish in one single row around the dish. (the syrup will help the segments stick to the dish)
- 40. (if you love soft cake in trifles, you can dunk them in the coffee syrup instead of brushing them and immediately place them into the trifle dish)
- 41. Place the trifle dish into the refrigerator to chill.
- Make the Coffee Custard
- 42. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, coffee, and heavy cream.
- 43. Slowly bring this to a simmer.
- 44. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and cornstarch until blended and smooth.
- 45. Using a ladle, slowly and gently pour half of the milk/coffee/cream mixture into the egg mixture to temper the eggs, stirring constantly. (to avoid making scrambled eggs, pour the hot liquid very slowly and mix constantly with a whisk!)
- 46. Once you’ve poured half, the eggs are warm enough and tempered to add the rest of the milk/coffee/cream mixture.
- 47. Then, pour the entire mixture back into the medium saucepan. Over medium heat, whisking constantly, heat the mixture for about 6 – 8 minutes until it’s thickened and smooth.
- 48. Once thickened, remove from heat, and whisk in the butter, espresso powder, and salt.
- 49. Bring your Trifle out of the refrigerator, and using a sieve or fine wire mesh strainer, strain the custard into the trifle dish to remove any lumps so the custard is silky smooth. (it will fill up the dish about halfway)
- 50. Place the dish back into the refrigerator, and place plastic wrap directly on the custard, making sure no air is in between the plastic and the custard to avoid any crust on the custard.
- 51. While it’s chilling, and before serving, make the whipped cream topping.
- 52. In a large bowl add the heavy cream. Using a hand mixer, whisk on medium, adding the powdered sugar and the vanilla. Keep whisking until stiff peaks form, making sure to avoid curdling the cream.
- Final assembly
- 53. When ready to serve, pull the trifle from the refrigerator and pile ¾ of the chocolate crumbs on top of the custard.
- 54. Pile the freshly whipped cream on top of the chocolate crumbs, making swoops and dips in the cream top.
- 55. Take the remaining two segments of Swiss roll and place them in the center of the cream, sticking up decoratively.
- 56. Take the remaining chocolate crumbs and sprinkle the biggest chunks around the segments on top of the whipped cream.
- 57. Serve and enjoy!
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