Okay, here's the story: one day, somebody screwed up a cake. Oh, no! Then, suddenly, inspiration hit. Add pudding to broken cake pieces, decorate with fruit... Voila! The trifle was born.
I've been trying to figure out a birthday dessert to make for someone at work. When I asked her, she said her favorite dessert was two layers of white cake soaked in two different colors of jello with whipped topping between the two layers.
1) Not going to assemble said cake at work.
2) Jello. Sacre bleu! This is a birthday present, not a church potluck!
3) Where's the challenge there?
And then I thought...trifle. Cake + squishy stuff + pretty colors = pretty much the same thing.
So I did a practice trifle yesterday. This isn't the same trifle I'm sending off as a birthday present (she wants berries and doesn't care for sour stuff), but it was what I felt like making. Also, I bought a big bag of cherries at $2/pound on Friday and I wanted to use them up. And a ****load of eggs in the house. Also made potato salad (with bacon). My guests may die.
Cherry Limeade Trifle
Coconut Pound Cake (via Epicurious)
2c all-purpose flour
1t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1c unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1/2t coconut extract (did not have on hand but recipe stressed as being vital)
1 1/2c sweetened, flaked coconut, toasted and cooled (did not toast)
Heat oven to 325 (350 for Colorado. Center still not totally done after 1 1/2 hours. May need to raise temp and cover with tinfoil next time). Grease a 9x5 loaf pan (dust with flour if that's what floats your boat). Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. In a different bowl, cream butter and sugar, then beat in eggs and vanilla. Fold into flour mixture just until mixed, then fold in coconut. Spread batter (thicker than banana bread mix) into loaf pan, bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (watch for this...the crust is pretty stiff and will scrape off the batter!), 1 - 1 1/4 hours (or 1 1/2 hours at high altitude).
Cool cake in pan on rack for 15 minutes; run a knife around the edges to loosen, and invert onto rack and cool completely.
Key Lime Custard (also via Epicurious, sort of)
2/3 c key lime juice
Do this at the same time as the cake or heat oven to 350.
Beat eggs by hand just until yolks and whites are completely mixed. In a saucepan, heat the milk, sugar, and lime juice over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until it reaches a boil. Add 1/4c of the hot mixture to the eggs, whisking the eggs constantly as you do so. Repeat until all the milk mixture has been added. Pour the custard into a heatproof dish and place the dish into a larger pan. Fill the larger pan with enough hot water to come up even with the level of the custard. Place the whole thing in the oven and bake until the custard jiggles (rather than oozes) when lightly shaken (about 1/2 hour). Do not overcook; you're looking for the consistency of instant pudding, if that, rather than cheesecake.
To assemble the trifle:
(Do this the day you plan to serve it.)
When the cake and custard are more or less room temperature, cut the pound cake into squares (I dare you to try to keep this consistent) about 1" square. Line the bottom of a trifle dish or other clear glass/Pyrex dish with the cake--don't be shy about getting a solid layer of cake in there. Whisk or stir the custard to ensure an even consistency. Spoon about half of the custard over the cake. Place a layer of ripe cherries over the custard, about 1c of pitted cherries or so. The thought of adding maraschino cherries to this makes me feel ill now that I've tasted it (I had considered it), so try it at your own risk. If you don't have fresh cherries, go for thawed frozen cherries rather than pie filling. Seriously. If necessary, you can make a simple syrup, heat it in a saucepan to boiling, add the cherries and heat until boiling again, then remove from heat, if you think it's going to be too sour. But don't use anything but real cherries.
Anyway, add the rest of the cake in another layer, add the rest of the custard, and cover with another cup or so of cherries. Refrigerate for a couple of hours. Serve with a big spoon and don't worry about being neat.
(Note: Lee said the custard was too sour, but I thought it was just right.)