Here is a wonderful chocolate version of a favorite English Dessert. Tradition calls for it to be presented in a pretty glass bowl to show off the layers.


For the chocolate sponge cake:

Eggs – 6

Sugar – 1 cup

Vanilla – 1 1/2 tsp

Flour – 2/3 cup

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder  – 1/3 cup

Salt – 1/2 tsp

Unsalted butter or Margarine (melted) – 6 tbsp (3/4 stick)

For the custard cream:

Egg yolks – 6

Sugar  – 1/2 cup

Flour – 3 Tbsp

3 cups half-and-half, scalded

1 teaspoon vanilla

For the assembly:

Strained Raspberry preserves – 3/4 cup

Toasted Slivered Almonds  – 3/4 cup

Raspberry liqueur or crème de cassis (optional) – 1/3 cup

Dry sherry  – 1/2 cup

Heavy cream Chocolate curls for garnish – 1 cup


Preheat the oven to 350’F. To prepare the chocolate sponge cake. In a medium  bowl, Whisk together the eggs and sugar until well combined. Set the bowl over simmering water and whisk until the sugar has dissolved – 23 to 4 minutes.

Remove from the water and, using an electric mixer, beat until the mixture forms a thick ribbon like stream when dropped from a spoon about 10 minutes. Then beat in the vanilla.

Sift together the flour, cocoa and salt onto a piece of wax paper, then gradually fold these dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined. Fold in the butter.

Divide the batter between two 8″*8″*2″ pans, the bottoms lined with buttered wax paper lightly dusted with flour. Smooth the top and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean – 30 to 35 minutes. Cool the pans upright on racks for 5 minutes, then turn the, cakes out onto the racks and let cool completely.

Meanwhile, prepare the custard cream. In a medium size bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly. Ass the sugar and beat until thick and pale. Beat in the flour, then add the half-and-half in a slow stream, stirring constantly. Transfer to a medium size saucepan, and cook over moderately low heat, stirring , until thickened about 5 minutes. Do not boil. Strain the custard into a bowl and stir in the vanilla. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface and chill until cold about 1 hour.

Note: At this point the cake and custard can be stored. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and store in a cool dry place for up to 24 hours. Refrigerate the custard for up to 24 hours.

To assemble: Spread the top of each cake layer with the raspberry preserves and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the almonds. Sandwich the coated sides together, then cut into 1 by 3 inch fingers. Arrange the fingers on the bottom and partially up the sides of a deep 10 to 12 inch glass serving bowl. Pour the liqueur, if desired and the sherry evenly over the cake and let them soak in for 10 minutes. Spoon the custard cream on top. Cover and chill for at least 2 and up to 24 hours.

In a medium size bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks from the spoon on top of the custard. Garnish  the trifle with the chocolate curls. Serve 10 to 12.


Whipped cream can be prepared ahead of time by adding gelatin to it. For each cup of whipping cream, put 1 tablespoon cold water in a heat proof cup, stir in 1/2 teaspoon of unflavored gelatin, and set the cup in a pan of simmering water. Stir until the gelatin dissolves allows to cool. Whip the cream until soft peaks form add the dissolved gelatin and 1 tbsp sugar, if desired. Continue whipping until the cream is stiff. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When ready to serve, whisk the cream lightly.



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