Chocolate Whiskey Trifle

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Trifles are one of my favorite desserts to construct. This is why:

1. It’s no-bake and thus super quick to assemble.
2. You can even use all store-bought, ready-made ingredients to assemble your trifle.
3. If your layer cake fails, turn it into a trifled “deconstructed” dessert.

This chocolate cake trifle was borne out of the third reason. I had made a chocolate whiskey cake, only I tweaked the recipe to double the amount of whiskey to 1 cup, and omitted the coffee chocolate chips. If I found the original recipe a tad too sweet, this new incarnation was excessively alcoholic. I legitimately felt tipsy after a slice, and would mostly eat it with a scoop of ice cream to offset the dryness and high alcoholic content.

The poor cake languished in my freezer for a while, until I chanced upon this chocolate sauce recipe. I loved that it didn’t contain any ingredient that couldn’t exist outside the refrigerator, which would imply that it’d have an extended shelf life much like a commercial chocolate sauce. I made a batch of it, and I saw it as the perfect solution to my dry and un-sweet chocolate cake. Then I had another great idea. I had some heavy cream left over from the Sachertorte. What if added a bunch of whipped cream to it and made it a trifle?

I made short work of it, both in making and eating it. I added some white chocolate chips for textural contrast and added sweetness. It ended up being a high whipped cream to cake ratio, which meant that the flavors ended up balancing out perfectly.

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Chocolate Whiskey Trifle
This is not so much a recipe as guidelines for freewheeling creativity. Go wild!

An amount of chocolate cake – I used this chocolate whiskey cake recipe
Chocolate sauce – homemade from this Allrecipes recipe, or store-bought is fine
1 cup of heavy cream
Granulated sugar to taste
White chocolate chips

1. Start whipping heavy cream on high with a mixer (or laboriously by hand if you don’t have a mixer – it is possible, just tiring) and add granulated sugar to taste.
2. Crumble chocolate cake into a container – ideally glass, so everyone can see the strata that make up your trifle. Spoon some whipped cream into it and even out. Squirt a bunch of chocolate sauce on to it. Sprinkle a handful of chocolate chips.
3. Repeat until a limiting factor presents itself – for me, the whipped cream ran out first.
4. Let sit for an hour so the cake moistens from the sauces and whipped cream. If you’re not patient enough, go ahead and eat it right there and then anyway.

Bailey’s Icebox Cake with Homemade Chocolate Wafers


Most bakers are usually reluctant to bake in the summer time, because no one wants to have yet another source of heat bearing down on them. Out comes the no-bake recipes: no-bake cheesecakes, puddings, trifles. Icebox cake (or zebra cake) is one variation of the ever-classic trifle. I strongly believe that contrasting textures makes a dish especially compelling, and the basis of most trifles: a creamy spread and a cakey layer offers that palate-teasing complexity.

I opted to make my own chocolate wafers, but I’m sure you can purchase them if you preferred to save some time. However, these wafers are top-notch, and if you’re one of those people that prefer the cookie bit of an Oreo to the cream (it’s an atrocity but I used to discard the cream bit), these cookies would really hit the spot. I also added a couple of tablespoons of Bailey’s in the whipped topping – because why not, right? It added a subtle alcoholic touch to the dessert with an accented chocolate taste Because of how light this dessert tastes in your mouth, it’s very easy to eat quite a lot of it. Restraint, my friends, restraint.


Icebox Cake
Serves 3 normal people, 2 sweet-toothed people

1 batch of chocolate wafers (recipe below)
1 cup whipping cream, chilled
2 tbsps of powdered sugar
2 tbsps of Bailey’s (optional)

Whip the cream till stiff peaks form. Add in sugar and Bailey’s, if using. Alternate layers of chocolate wafers and whipped topping in a bowl, with the wafers forming the bottommost layer. Leave to set at least overnight or up to a day, until wafers soften and become cake-like.

Chocolate Wafers
Makes about 30 to 40 wafers
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

3/4 cups (3.38 ounces) whole wheat flour
6 tbsps (1.2 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 1/2 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, and baking soda in the bowl of food processor and pulse several times to mix thoroughly. Cut the butter into about 1/2 inch chunks and add them to the bowl. Pulse several times. Combine the milk and vanilla in a small cup. With the processor running, add the milk mixture and continue to process until the mixture clumps around the blade or the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a large bowl or a cutting board and knead a few times to make sure it is evenly blended.

Form the dough into a log about 7 inches long and 1 3/4 inches in diameter. Wrap the log in wax paper or foil and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour, or until needed.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut the log of dough into slices a scant 1/4-inch thick (I went thinner, closer to 1/8 of inch. If you’re trying to emulate the store-bought wafers, slice as thin as you can, and watch the baking time carefully, as it might be less.) and place them one inch apart on the lined sheets (cookies will spread). Bake for a total of 12 to 15 minutes. The cookies will puff up and deflate; they are done about 1 1/2 minutes after they deflate.

Cool the cookies on the baking sheets on racks, or slide the parchment onto racks to cool completely. These cookies may be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks or be frozen for up to two months.

Note: These cookies should crisp as they cool. If they don’t, you’re not baking them long enough, in which case, return them to the oven to reheat and bake a little longer, then cool again.

Frangelico Tiramisu

The good people over at Frangelico sent me a bottle of Frangelico to work into a recipe, and after several trials (mediocre brownies, subpar tiramisu) I finally made an actually delicious tiramisu. What I like best about this recipe is the lack of egg yolks in it – I know it’s not authentic, but it also means I don’t have to deal with a bunch of egg whites and worry about contracting salmonella. After all, I do make dessert primarily for one – the longer that dessert stays in the fridge, the iffier it gets.

The sad part about having to experiment with flavors is that I had to eat tiramisu every single day for lunch – while not a bad deal by most accounts, even my sweet tooth got a little tired of it. I’m glad I succeeded with a modification of Baking Bites’ recipe. The cheese and heavy cream filling was light and airy, and the strong coffee I brewed coupled with the Frangelico gave it a sweet, nutty complexity. I had attempted another recipe that involved cream cheese in the filling, and while it was okay, I found the cream cheese flavor cloying and not very traditional. This tiramisu recipe is really delicious stuff, and the perfect sort of thing to make when you don’t want to crank up the oven heat in warm weather.

Frangelico Tiramisu
Adapted from Baking Bites
Makes one 8×8 pan

8-oz mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream, cold*
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup strong brewed coffee, room temperature
1/4 cup Frangelico
approx 30-36 ladyfingers
unsweetened cocoa powder, for finishing

In a large mixing bowl, beat mascarpone, sugar, heavy cream and vanilla at high speed until mixture is fluffy and very smooth.
In a small, shallow bowl, combine coffee and Frangelico. Dip each ladyfinger into the coffee mixture to let it soak up some of the liquid (2-3 seconds) and place in the bottom of a 8×8 or 9×9-inch baking dish. The bottom of the pan should be completely covered with the ladyfingers in a single layer. Do not completely soak the ladyfingers in the coffee mixture.
When there is a full layer of ladyfingers, spread half of the cream mixture on top of them.Repeat with remaining ladyfingers and cream mixture.
Dust with cocoa powder
Cover and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 6 hours.

Serves 9-12

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Trifle

Ooh la la. This is a personal creation. It’s pretty delicious, and very easy to make. No bake, just assemble and you’re ready to go.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Trifle
Serves 2-3

For cream cheese flavored whipped cream:
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp milk

Add sugar to heavy cream. Whip heavy cream till soft peaks form. (Tip: keep heavy cream chilled, and chill bowl and whisk prior to whipping.) Add milk to cream cheese. Mix till evenly mixed.

For rest of trifle:
5 graham cracker sheets
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
4 tbsp caramel sauce with1 tsp salt

Layer in a glass bowl or any bowl with high sides in this order: graham crackers, whipped cream, caramel sauce, chocolate chips for about three layers. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.