Trifles are always a fun dessert to make because they make such a beautiful presentation. The only limitation is your imagination, deciding what ingredients you want to combine. A traditional trifle is typically made with sponge fingers dipped in some type of alcohol, along with fruit or jelly and custard and perhaps some whipped cream. These ingredients are then layered in a tall trifle bowl and, depending on the colors and what fruit or jelly is used, the effect is a dessert worthy of any occasion.
Our take on the trifle is this Spicy Chocolate Trifle With Marshmallows and Raspberries. It reminds me of a rich cup of hot chocolate with a hint of fruit flavor. What I will say about this is that it is best served as a small portion, primarily because it is a rich, chocolatey dessert. It will feed a crowd and while you can simplify the recipe by using a box cake, I would highly recommend making the cake from scratch. You really want it to be mildly dense, between a regular cake and a brownie. The hint of spice, from the cayenne pepper in this recipe, helps balance out the overall sweetness.
Preparing the Cake
This cake is worth the effort as the taste balances the sweetness of the ganache and marshmallow sauce, as well as holding up to the other ingredients so it doesn’t crumble. To make it, melt the butter in a large 3-Qt. Sauce Pan over medium heat and, using a Mix-Stir, whisk in the cocoa and espresso powder, followed by the water and sugar. When the mixture is smooth, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla to the cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until fully combined. Stir the dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture, taking care to not over stir. Pour the cake batter into the prepared 9-by-13-inch baking pan and cook for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely and remove from the pan.
Using a 7-3/4" Petite Slicer, cut the cooled cake into one-inch cubes and set aside.
Preparing the Ganache
Using a 7" Santoku, chop the semi-sweet and 72 percent cacao chocolate bars into small pieces.
Place the chopped chocolate and one-and-a-half cups of heavy cream into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at 50 percent power for one minute. Stir and microwave again at 50 percent power for three minutes, stirring the mixture every 30 seconds. The chocolate should be thoroughly melted and if it’s still thick, add the additional heavy cream to thin it into a sauce.
Preparing the Marshmallow Sauce and Marshmallows
In a large bowl, beat the marshmallow cream and a half cup of heavy cream on low speed until combined. Add the remaining heavy cream and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.
Using the Super Shears, cut the marshmallows in half and place them in a large bowl. Set aside.
Putting the Trifle Together
To bring this dessert together, start by putting one-third of the cake cubes into the bottom of a trifle bowl. Layer with one-third of the ganache, followed by one-third of the halved marshmallows, one-third of the marshmallow sauce and one-third of the fresh raspberries.
Repeat this process two more times, making sure you see the layers on the side of the trifle bowl. When finished, top with chocolate curls for a final decorative element.
This Spicy Chocolate Trifle With Marshmallows and Raspberries is beautiful to look at, with the raspberries adding a pop of color throughout the final dish. This is a very rich dessert and you do not need large servings to satisfy your sweet tooth. One thing we found was that serving this dish a day later and heating up the individual serving was quite tasty as the ganache and marshmallow sauce became gooey. We hope you enjoy!
Spicy Chocolate Trifle With Marshmallows and Raspberries
For the cake
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups cake flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
For the ganache
- 3 (4-ounce) semisweet chocolate baking bars, chopped
- 2 (3.5-ounce) 72% cacao chocolate bars, chopped
- 1 3/4 cups heavy cream, divided
For the marshmallow sauce
- 1 (7 1/2-ounce) jar marshmallow cream
- 1 cup heavy cream, divided
- 1/2 bag of regular-sized marshmallows, cut in half, divided
- 2 pints raspberries, divided
- 1 (4-ounce) semisweet chocolate baking bar, for chocolate curls
- Heat oven to 325 F. Lightly coat a 9x13-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
- Make the cake: Over medium heat, melt butter in a large saucepan. Using a Mix-Stir, whisk in the cocoa and espresso powder. Then add the water and sugar, mixing until smooth. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside to cool.
- In a medium bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips.
- Pour the previously cooked chocolate mixture into a large bowl and add the eggs and vanilla, whisking until fully combined. Stir in the flour mixture and incorporate all the ingredients together, taking care to not over stir. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake the batter for 40-45 minutes, it will be done when you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and cool completely.
- Cut the cooled cake into 1-inch cubes.
- Make the ganache: Microwave the semisweet and 72% chocolate and 1 ½ cups of heavy cream in a medium bowl at 50% power for 1 minute. Stir the mixture and microwave at 50% power for an additional 3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Add additional cream if needed to thin the chocolate to a sauce.
- Make the marshmallow sauce: Mix the marshmallow cream and ½ cup heavy cream, beating at low speed with an electric mixer until thoroughly combined. Add the remaining heavy cream and beat on medium speed until fluffy.
- Assemble the trifle: In a 4-quart trifle bowl, layer 1/3 of the chocolate cake, top with 1/3 of the ganache, followed by 1/3 of the halved marshmallows, 1/3 of the marshmallow sauce and 1/3 of the raspberries. Repeat this layering process 2 more times.
- Top with chocolate curls.