This trifle takes trendy red velvet cake right into the holiday season. Red and white layers visually mimic a candy cane and a hint of pepper mint balanced against cream cheese and white chocolate takes it over the top for a trifle all ages can enjoy. If you can’t find peppermint oil for the cream, you can substitute about ½ tsp (2 mL) peppermint extract. For a different presentation, this recipe works equally well made in 6 to 8 individual portions.
2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour, spooned in and leveled off
2 tbsp (30 mL) Dutch process unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups (375 mL) sugar
2 large eggs
2 tbsp (30 mL) red food colouring
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
1 cup (250 mL) buttermilk
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
1 tsp (5 mL) apple cider vinegar
Cream Cheese & White Chocolate Ganache
1 cup (250 mL) whipping cream
6 oz (175 g) white chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup (250 mL) deli-style cream cheese
2 cups (500 mL) whipping cream
¼ cup (60 mL) sugar
⅛ tsp (0.5 mL) peppermint oil (or to taste)
2 tbsp (30 mL) crushed candy cane
1. Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C).
2. Butter a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33-cm) pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
3. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Reserve.
4. Beat butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down sides of bowl between additions. Add food colouring and vanilla and beat until uniform.
5. Add a third of the flour mixture to the batter, beating until combined. Add half of the buttermilk. Repeat, adding alternating ingredients until all the fl our mixture and buttermilk have been incorporated.
6. Combine baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl, and stir until it foams. Add to batter and mix just until fully incorporated. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes and then turn out on a rack, remove parchment paper and cool fully. Reserve.
7. To make ganache, bring cream just to a boil on medium heat. Remove from heat, add white chocolate and let stand, stirring occasionally, until white chocolate is melted and mixture is combined.
8. Place cream cheese in a bowl and whisk in white chocolate mixture a little at a time until fully combined. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until ganache is cold and slightly thickened.
9. To make peppermint cream, beat cream with sugar and peppermint oil until it holds soft peaks. Reserve.
10. To assemble, cut cake into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes with a serrated knife. Spoon about ⅓ cup (80 mL) of ganache into the bottom of a large glass trifle dish or decorative bowl. Place half of cubed cake into dish fitting them tightly to make a single layer. Spoon about 1 cup of ganache over cake to make an even layer. Dollop on a little less than half of the peppermint cream, and repeat layers, ending with peppermint cream. Sprinkle trifle with crushed candy canes just before serving.
Serves 8 to 10