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A Trifling We Go...

a thoughtfulrecipes.blog story

By Caroline JanePublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 5 min read

Cards on the table, I am a BIG trifle fan. It seems to me to be the dessert that has everything. Cream, cake, custard, alcohol, fruit, jelly... whatever you have in, bang it in a bowl in layers and celebrate something! It especially appeals because it is traditionally made to make use of stale cake. No leftovers in the bin will always be a win in my book. Team trifle all the way, and I stand by that even as I discovered today that the recipe for "trifle" was first published in a 1585 British Recipe book by Thomas Dawson called The Good Huswifes Jewell. Sounds a class read. Not. Still, times move, and trifle has with it...

Go trifle!!

I did. Today.

It has been a great day. The best sort of day. This morning, I met a friend for a leisurely brunch (chilli avocado with a poached egg on sourdough, if you wanted to know). It snowed while we were inside, and we came out to a winter wonderland of fat falling flakes and crisp white rolling hills. I came home, sat at the kitchen table with a mug of English breakfast tea, and watched the snow fall thick over the garden My husband was building a medieval village beside me, we had Faith No More playing in the background to stir our mutual nostalgias, and I wrote.

Later, we collected our son from school and contemplated dinner. What did we fancy? The million dollar question on every family's lips on a Friday after school. "Trifle", came the comic reply. I laughed. Who knocks up a trifle just for an everyday dinner?

Nobody, surely, ever.

Then I thought, challenge accepted. Why? Because that is who I am, and I cannot help that; besides, a friend* had mentioned a few weeks ago that she would welcome a trifle story. Plus, in case I have not sufficiently mentioned it, I LOVE TRIFLE. So, I seized the day, and today we strode into the kitchen and by God, we trifled.

Now, here's a thing... what shocked me as my son and I scrubbed up and got stuck in was how quick it was to do. All those layers and elements it should take what... the best part of forever? Nope. The longest part of the process was waiting for the custard to cool. Everything else was a breeze, and briefly nestling the custard in a freezer drawer soon saw the wait speed up.

Making trifle from scratch, yes, all the elements (we even made the cake because we had none to use up) really is a trifle.

Chocolate Mug cake - 5 mins inc. 2 mins in the microwave.

Custard - 10mins plus cooling

Cream - 2mins to whip.

That is all it took, and as I had my little helper with me stirring and whisking, we had all our elements done in no time. To note, we did not use jelly. Why? Because we went chocolate trifling and jelly with chocolate in my book, do not go.

We made two. One each.

In mine, I had layers of chocolate sponge soaked in Irish cream (well, if you are going to trifle, you may as well go all in!). I put one heaped teaspoon of Nutella on the bottom layer of sponge, followed with a layer of cream, another sponge circle, another Irish creamed sponge, a layer of custard and more whipped cream. I sugared the whole kit and caboodle with chocolate vermicelli strands for a dainty crunch and, well, to make it look cute. As you do.

My son chucked every element in a bowl in blobs, shovelled on the strands and got at it with a spoon (sans the Irish Cream, obviously!) As you do when you are 8.

When one trifles, one follows one's own path.

The Recipe:

First - The Mug Cake

(My go-to is from the BBC Food Archive)

Get a big microwavable mug and put in it the following:

4tbsp Self-Raising flour

4tbsp Sugar or Sweetener on half and half.

2tbsp cocoa powder

1 medium egg

3tbsp milk (any)

3tbsp Veg oil (any)

Stir until it is a thick chocolate paste, and bob it in the microwave for 2 mins. Take it out and leave it to cool before decanting it onto a plate to slice it into discs. Use a biscuit cutter if you want neat discs that fit your dish.

Microwave cakes are really quick and full of air, so they are also lighter. Ideal for putting into a swift trifle.
If soaking the sponge discs, do so once in the dish (no waste!)

Next - The Custard

In a bowl, mix the following:

2tbsp cornflour

3 egg yolks

2tbsp sugar

Mix the above to a paste and relax a little with a splash of milk.

Warm half a pint of milk in a pan, and just before it boils, gradually stir it into the paste. Return the mixed liquid to the pan and continuously stir over a low heat until it thickens. Use a whisk to keep it smooth as it thickens. Don't be afraid to beat rigorously; it will be thick.


Whip some Double Cream

Open a jar of Nutella.

Ready the Irish Cream - pour on the discs of sponge as you place them in your chosen dish (I used a stemless wine glass for mine).

Ready the chocolate sprinkles.

Note: All of the above is optional and interchangeable with whatever floats your personal trifling boat!

Here are some pictures of ours:


Have fun!

CJ xxx

* With thanks to Hannah Moore.


About the Creator

Caroline Jane

Warm-blooded vertebrate, domesticated with a preference for the wild. Howls at the moon and forages on the dark side of it. Laughs like a hyena. Fuelled by good times and fairy dust. Writes obsessively with no holes barred.

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Comments (9)

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  • Hannah Mooreabout a month ago

    Ha ha! You did it! It looks great, and such a perfect finish to a snow plus cosy time day!

  • Chloe Gilholyabout a month ago

    The trifle looks great and my eyes lit up when I saw the bottle of Baileys.

  • Paul Stewart2 months ago

    Lol...okay so not read this yet...but you did it. a trifle post...a trifle post. Will be reading this and coming back to it because I love sweet stuff and love trifle. lol. Anyway, yeah...weird comment...but felt apt.

  • Cathy holmes2 months ago

    That looks delicious, especially with the Bailey's. My aunt used to make a delicious trifle. Except, I think she used custard powder for that layer, and hers was filled with fruit. Also, I've never tried microwave cake, but I will after looking at yours. Well done!

  • As always absolutely delectable but no Content Warning although being old, diabetic and unfit it should probably warn me off but I do have a penchant for sweet things

  • I was like "How the hell is baking a cake for the trifle quick to do?" and then you mentioned it was a mug cake. Lol. Those mug cakes look sooooo good! I've never had a trifle before so I might just try this!

  • Caroline Craven2 months ago

    Lush! You had me at Irish Cream! Love your food blogs so much!

  • Great story… interesting historical info too. I also love trifle. I grew up consuming my Nana’s delicious trifles… using sponge cakes or leftovers. You’ve given me a yearning for it!🙃

  • Jay Kantor2 months ago

    Cj ~ Yeesh ~ I gain weight just reading you: But it's GOOD weight - Yum - j.in.l.a.

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