Tis the season for delicious gluttony! I love the Holidays and the fact that is a time for extravagant dishes.
This year settling on the perfect holiday dessert seemed nearly impossible, so we combined many of our seasonal favorites. Gingerbread is simply classic and I am always looking for an excuse to make the spicy cake. But denying chocolate during the Holidays seemed a sin onto itself therefore we decided on a Chocolate-Gingerbread Cake made with Coffee-- the hodgepodge of flavors were made more delightful with the bittersweetness.
Trifles for me are often born of slight baking disasters in desperate need of transformation. One memorable cake-to-trifle experiment was after the disappointing results of a Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Kahlua Cake. I can’t remember the details, my brain was fuzzy after the heavenly impact of spooning up the layered cake crumbles with whipped cream.
My attraction to making a Gingerbread Trifle came after watching Paula Deen whip up an interesting concoction. I am partial to more natural, albeit not as speedy as Paula might like her ingredients. I am happy to cheat a bit as I did by using Organic Canned Pumpkin in the Fluffy Pumpkin Mouse that was layered in between pieces of the cake. The final touches included Candied Orange Peel and Candied Ginger—you can purchase or make both of these. I made the Candied Orange Peels, while I didn't make the Candied Ginger, David Lebovitz has a great recipe I am planning to try next time.
After it was all done, I realized my sweet tooth was aching a bit. To balance out the intense sugar I layered the Mousse and Cake with an unsweetened, barely touched with vanilla bean whipped cream.
words can barely say. Most of our guests ate in serene silence—
Take that fruitcake.
Chocolate & Coffee Gingerbread Cake
Shift together the dry ingredients:
2 ½ cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger
Pinch each: Cloves, Cinnamon, Nutmeg
Melt together the “wet” ingredients:
1/3 cup chocolate chips, melted
2 sticks of butter
1 cup hot coffee
¾ cup brown sugar
1 cup molasses
4 eggs, slightly beaten
Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a shallow baking dish (we used a 9 x 13) by rubbing the bottom and sides with butter and dusting with cocoa powder. If you don’t have cocoa powder, flour works fine.
Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside. Melt the chocolate chips and butter together. Mix in the hot coffee. Remove from heat and stir in the brown sugar & molasses. Cool slightly to ensure the eggs will not scramble in the chocolate. While whisking the chocolate mixture, slowly add the eggs until incorporated. Shift in the dry ingredients, folding after each addition, take care not to over mix.
Pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 35-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan until you are ready to assemble the trifle.
1 package unflavored gelatin
1 ½ tbls cold water
3 large egg yolks
½ cup sugar
15 ounce can pumpkin (or if you are less of a cheater than I am: 1 ½ cups cooked & pureed pumpkin will work also)
Pinch each: Cinnamon, Ginger, Cloves, and Nutmeg
4 cups heavy cream, chilled
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Take a double boiler or a metal bowl that fits on top of a saucepan (that’s what we use!). Combine the cold water and gelatin in the top boiler pot/bowl. Allow to thicken for 1-2 minutes. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar into the gelatin mixture over the boiling water until a thermometer reads 160F. Remove the egg mixture and whisk until cooled and thick. Whisk in the pumpkin and spices, cool.
The grand finale….
Layer the Trifle:
Take about 2 handfuls of the cake and gently crumble it into a Trifle or other glass bowl. The layer needs to be even, about 1-2 inches high. Dollop in the Pumpkin Mousse until there is an even layer. Crumble on more cake, dollop on the Vanilla-Cream, more cake, more mousse, more cake, more cream….. until the bowl is filled to the brim with goodness.
We filled the bowl and ended up with leftovers of all three.
Somehow I don't remember either of us complaining about that.
Let me know your favorite Trifle combos.
I am terribly excited to use and abuse my Trifle privileges….