JELL-O Chocolate Cherry Trifle
I think the first trifle I attempted was from a store shelf tear-off recipe. I just searched through my old paper recipe collections for 20 minutes and actually found it! My version of the trifle was comprised of Swiss Rolls (chocolate with white filling, a cousin of the Twinkie, instead of the raspberry jelly ones), cherry pie filling, Cool Whip mixed with instant vanilla pudding, and grated Baker’s semi-sweet blocks. The Black Forest-type dessert was a hit!
It took a little time but I found a link to the recipe via Valley Heritage Radio's archived recipes. Move the scrolling bar down a generous thumb width; you'll find Chocolate Cherry Trifle on the right hand side. (The recipes are listed in alphabetical order in case my thumb-width estimate doesn't match your thumb or screen zoom level.)
A few years later, when I became a Pampered Chef consultant, I became acquainted with the Triple Berry Trifle. I made it at a few cooking shows and even whipped one up at a picnic table for friends at our church’s youth camp! In fact, the photos below were taken on my parents' motorhome table. The creamy filling was a blend of Light Cool Whip and fruity yogurt, with layers of blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, and cubed angel food cake. That summer, our local bakery dabbled in lemon angel food cakes; that made the trifle even better as the recipe called for a bit of lemon zest to be mixed in with the berries. Yummy!
The garnish on the top of that dessert was a strawberry fan. Strawberry fans look fairly impressive; remember how the roses on the birthday cake used to be something to fight for? Same deal, just updated for the 2000’s.
- If you have an egg slicer or Pampered Chef Egg Slicer Plus, take a firm, medium-sized berry, place it upside-down on the slicer so the stem is down, and hold the berry firmly as you pull the metal wire piece down over the pointy end of the fruit. Leave about ½ cm / ¼ “ from the stem so the strawberry doesn’t come apart; it’s supposed to look like a fan, not roadkill. ;-)
- If you don’t have a slicing gadget, just lay the berry wide side down on a cutting board, and make evenly-spaced ½ cm / ¼ “ slits to the same distance from the stem.
If you would like a recipe, here's a link to the RazzleDazzleRecipes website's collection of Pampered Chef recipes. (Interestingly, the RDR site is copyrighted but I couldn't find any info which indicated the author had permission to post the PC recipes...I'm still going to play it safe!)
Prepare a 9 x 13" pan with baking spray containing flour (Pam Baking Spray, Baker's Joy) or by greasing the pan with vegetable oil and sifting cocoa to lightly dust bottom and sides.
3 cups + tbsp all-purpose flour 780 mL
2 cups granulated sugar 500 mL
2 tsp baking soda 10 mL
1 tsp salt 5 mL
6 heaping tbsp cocoa, *sifted 6 x heaping 15 mL
(For any newbie bakers, if there is a comma followed by 'sifted,' 'melted,'
'thrown in the air,' etc., you measure the ingredient and then do the
required action to it.)
Make a well in the dry ingredients.
2 cups water 500 mL
2/3 cup vegetable oil 150 mL
2 tbsp vanilla 30 mL
2 tbsp vinegar 30 mL
Stir just until combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes. Check at 30 and 35 minutes; the cake is done when it springs back when pushed down gently in the middle and the sides are coming slightly away from the pan. The old toothpick-stuck-in-the-center-comes-out-clean trick works, too. Let the cake cool, then cut into 1" / 2.5 cm cubes with a serrated knife if making into trifle.
Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle
For Thanksgiving 2009, I wanted to serve a trifle featuring the comforting autumn-associated spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, as well as pumpkin. After doing some GRR (Google Recipe Research), I combined a Pampered Chef recipe with one from Paula Deen, Southern Belle o' the Butter. Paula's suggested using gingerbread mix; the PC's version included toasted angel food cubes. I love gingerbread (the cake kind) so I made up one from the first cookbook with Canadian Diabetes Association food choice symbols my mom had ever purchased. The recipe for Nova Scotia Gingerbread makes a nice, dense cake, and is one of my “Ack! Company’s Coming In An Hour!” dessert standbys since I almost always have the ingredients in my pantry. I baked the cake in a larger pan than called for so it would only rise to about 1” / 2.5 cm. When cooled, I cut it into cubes, and layered it with the creamy filling.
3 cups milk 750 mL
1 cup pure canned pumpkin 250 mL
(not pumpkin pie filling)
2 pkg. instant vanilla pudding 2 pkg.
(4 serving size each, sugarful or sugar-free)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon 7 mL
Whisk these ingredients together in a big measuring cup, bowl, or Classic Batter Bowl until smooth. Fold in 2 cups / 500 mL thawed Cool Whip or more if you'd like to make more volume of filling or find the taste too pumpkiny.
Similar recipes to the gingerbread cake one I use include these two on Epicurious or Robin Hood.ca. The latter recipe includes nutritional information. Now I'm looking forward to fall to make this dessert again!
- used Skor cake recipe above vs. brownies for the cake layer
- made 2 x 4 serving instant sugar-free chocolate pudding mixes with 4 cups of milk
- used 1-1.5 L of Light Cool Whip instead of whipping cream and did not add sugar
- added 2 cups vs. 1 cup of Cool Whip to peanut butter mixture since the p.b. mixture is really thick as well as getting more volume out of it
- sometimes included chopped peanut butter cups in the layers, sometimes didn't; for Miriam's b'day one, I used the mini Reese's Cups to make a "12"
- topped trifle with chocolate pudding, chopped peanuts, Cool Whip rosettes
If you're inventing your own trifle and considering the starch part, you'll have to choose whether you want
- something that'll soak up moisture (angel food, regular cake-mix cake, soft ladyfingers, sponge cake),
- something with some density to it (brownies, gingerbread, pound cake) to stay firm, or
- something with crunch (whole or crushed cookies/wafers, firm ladyfingers).
Some trifles call for whipping cream in the squishy layer. What I found was that the whipped cream deflated and made for soupy layers. Therefore, I had been more inclined to use Light Cool Whip to maintain the height of the trifle. I mentioned this to some of my friends last month, and they informed me that you can buy a stabilizer for whipped cream so it doesn’t go flat! It has a very tricky name: Whipped Cream Stabilizer. Thank you to the ladies who informed me of the product; sorry that I can’t remember which of you it was!