Quick Recipe – Black Forest Trifle

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Hey there!  Time again for an easy and awesome dessert recipe.  This one is made even cooler by the mouth-watering name: black forest trifle.  For those of you that aren’t quite sure what a trifle is, it is basically a layered mix of cake, pudding or pastry crème, and usually fruit.  Of course, this is a very loose definition, because the only fruit in this recipe are cherry preserves and a maraschino cherry on top.  In the near future I will teach you how confusing trifles are with its two nearly identical sisters: fools and parfaits.

Back to it, though.  We will be cheating a LOT in this recipe, but I promise it is easy and superb.  First, gather the ingredients.  For this hour you will be quite busy (looking).  You will need: sugar-free cherry preserves (to keep the sweet taste from overpowering the eater), dark chocolate cake mix, a large sugar free chocolate pudding mix, a 12oz can (or bottle) of diet Dr. Pepper, a small carton of light cream (or heavy if you can’t find it), store-bought whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles or shavings, and clear drinking cups (for a great display).

Black Forest Trifle 01

Preheat the oven to the standard 350 degrees.  Then get a big bowl for cake-mixing.  We are going to use the legendary soda-cake trick, which is not only fast and easy, but a great way to curb calories without flavor.  Put the cake mix in the bowl, and then pour in the entire 12 ounces of soda.  Quickly stir well, time is of the essence here.  Using a large spoon or a serving ladle, fill each of 12 cupcake wells (spray with cooking spray if you don’t use cups) until about 1/2 full.  Then bake according to the back of the cupcake box.  This results in a soft and springy cake.  Not perfect for heavy-duty cake decorating, but perfect for crumbling into a trifle.

Black Forest Trifle 02Black Forest Trifle 03

Black Forest Trifle 04

While these are baking, we will use another quick trick for making a chocolate mousse.  In a fresh and clean bowl, add the chocolate pudding mix and the whole small carton of cream.  Mix on low until the powder is mixed in, then increase to medium high speed until the mixture stiffens.  This takes 3-5 minutes (depending on the quality of your mixer) is is easy to see.  The mousse should form stiff peaks, but you can always make it al dente.  Don’t resist trying a little, it is goooooood.  But remove yourself from the bowl before trying a small taste, because you will want to eat it all.

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At this point, you can save the ingredients until the day you plan to eat them.  The cupcakes are freezable (in a freezer bag) for a good week, and the mousse can last a week in the refrigerator (sealed in an airtight container).  Oh, and just a little note: don’t make these too far ahead of time. Store bought whipped cream loves to “melt,” aka loose all its fluff, which makes the trifle look like it is shrinking.

When the cupcakes are done, remove them from the pans to cool.  Now assemble everything onto a nice, big workspace.  For the cups I used, it took 1.5 cupcakes to fill a cup, so adjust the layers according to how big your cups are.  This is the easiest part, by the way.  Traditional Black Forest cake is made with layers of chocolate cake, in between which are cherries (or preserves) and whipped cream.  The mousse here is really for decadence.  Here’s how I added the layers.

First, half a cupcake (crumbled)…

Black Forest Trifle 07

… then a good spoonful of mousse, spread to cover the cake…

Black Forest Trifle 08

…then a spoon of cherry preserves, smoothing over mousse…

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…then cover with another half of cupcake (crumbled or not)…

Black Forest Trifle 10

…then another layer of mousse…

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…and a good spray of whipped cream to cover the mousse…

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… the third half of a cupcake (crumbled or not)…

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… yet another spoon of mousse smoothed over the cake…

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… yet another spoonful of preserves smoothed over the mousse…

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… make a pretty top with whipped cream…

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… and topped with a cherry.

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Put a bunch of them together and they look… <drool starts to cover my keyboard.>

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Just to be sure, let’s feed and experimental trifle to my in-house taste-monkey, Brant.  Brant, how do you like it?

Black Forest Trifle 19

That’ll do, Brant.  That’ll do.

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