I salute the brilliant mind that invented the combination of cake, alcohol and pudding. Trifle is probably the best cold dessert on the planet, a gooey concoction that you can further enhance with jello (“jelly”) – and, best of all, it can be adapted to be soy free, dairy free, vegan, gluten free – epically allergy safe, and, forgoing the booze, kid friendly if you swing that way.
My go-to recipe has made an appearance two Christmases in a row, so like NYE takeout and Cantonese films, it’s now a tradition. My preferred trifle is free from butter, milk and soy, and can be made egg-safe by doing a cornstarch pudding and gluten free by… well, whatever voodoo you have to do to make a cake happen.
Dairy Free Chocolate Raspberry Trifle
Make or buy a chocolate cake. I like the Chocolate Amazon Cake from my NY Times Cookbook. It’s ridiculously easy, cheap, vegan and tastes like the awesome chocolate cake you’d get at your grandmother’s house. It’s a very forgiving cake, and I tend to overbake it to make it a little less moist. Leave out until completely cool so it can absorb all the stuff you’re going to throw on top of it.
Make a vanilla pudding, adapting the recipe as needed. I prefer to use almond milk for vanilla pudding as coconut can be too aggressive. If you really need to use a box mix (and, come on, it’s sugar and cornstarch – you don’t), I like the Dr Oetker organic mixes. As always, read the ingredients as most of them have soy lecithin, the butterscotch and chocolate are the only ones without. Leave until completely cool in the fridge.
Raspberries. I usually use fresh but I tried frozen ones this Christmas and was pleasantly surprised. The taste was much better and they held their shape pretty well after defrosting. They’re going to be layered in the dish and, if you’re like me and could care less about aesthetics, are a great option.
Booze! All important. I use a generous 1/4 cup of Tia Maria, but Kahlua also works. It just depends on what’s in the house.
Assembly: Crumble the cake into bite sized pieces and put just over a third into the base of your dish. Splash all of the alcohol over the cake, trying to evenly cover it. Add a layer of pudding, about a third of the dish, and then half the raspberries. Add another layer of cake, the rest of the raspberries, another layer of pudding, then the last of the cake and the last of the pudding. If there’s small cake crumbs left, you can sprinkle them on top, along with any stray cake decorations hiding in your cupboard. Stick it in the fridge until ready to serve.
I recommend making it a few hours ahead so it all has time to glob together into a giant primordial pudding ooze of engorged, drunken cake that quivers with your reflected gluttony and desire as you open the fridge at one AM on Boxing Day, tablespoon in hand.
Centerpiece dessert, this is not.