A Trifle Recipe to Liven Up Your Summer Dessert Menu

Updated on January 17, 2020
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Mandy is a communications professional living in Nashville, Tenn. She loves the city and enjoys finding new places to explore.

Make It Work

A few years ago, I was attempting to make my favorite chocolate cake recipe but accidentally crumbled the layers when removing them from the cake pans. Determined not to simply throw away an afternoon of work—not to mention the cost of the cake's ingredients—I wracked my brain for ideas of how to salvage the cake. Soon, I was creating this trifle, which I've made on purpose several times since. It's always a crowd-pleaser!


  • 1 baked chocolate cake, unfrosted, (make your favorite recipe, mix or buy one)
  • 3 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 2 1/2 cups instant coffee granules
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1–2 teaspoons almond extract, to taste
  • chocolate sauce, toasted almonds or chocolate curls, for decoration
  • 1–2 teaspoons vanilla extract

You Can Do This!

  1. Make and bake your favorite chocolate cake recipe or mix or buy a prepared chocolate cake without frosting. Allow the cake to cool, if necessary. Then, crumble or cut the cake into small pieces. Layer 1/4 of the cake crumbles into the bottom of a large, pretty bowl.
  2. Make the ganache layer by heating 3/4 of the heavy cream in the microwave for about a minute to 90 seconds. Stir in about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of coffee granules, then whisk in 1 cup chocolate chips. Continuing whisking or stirring until all chocolate chips are melted. Stick the entire bowl into the freezer and stir every 5 to 10 minutes until the mixture reaches a firm, pudding-like consistency. Pour the ganache over the top of the crumbled chocolate pieces, smoothing to the edges of the bowl.
  3. Cover the ganache layer with another layer of crumbled chocolate cake pieces.
  4. Combine 1 cup cold heavy cream, 1–2 tablespoons of granulated sugar, a couple of teaspoons of instant coffee granules and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Use the whisk attachment of a mixer to whip the mixture into soft peaks. Spread the whipped cream over the top of the chocolate cake layer.
  5. Top with another layer of chocolate cake pieces.
  6. Top the trifle with a layer of almond whipped cream. Whisk together 1 cup cold heavy cream, a couple of tablespoons of granulated sugar, and a small amount of almond extract (1 tsp or so). When the mixture becomes whipped cream, spread it on the top of the trifle.
  7. Decorate the top of the trifle with the toppings of your choice. Suggestions include chocolate syrup, toasted almonds, or even chocolate curls or chocolate chips. Refrigerate the whole trifle overnight or for several hours before serving.
Mmm, chocolate cake smothered in ganache!
Mmm, chocolate cake smothered in ganache!

This Isn't Rachel's Trifle!

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© 2017 Mandy Crow


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