Growing up, in the spring and summer my big sister Colleen often made trifle for any special occasion. Her trifle was always one of my favourites on her brunch menu. In her recipe she used Bailey’s Irish Cream in her custard. It tasted amazing, however I cannot handle the sugars in Irish cream, so I used a little local raspberry brandy instead. As for the cake in this recipe I used a packaged GF yellow cake mix by Bob’s Red Mill and made some adaptations to the recipe to make it egg free/vegan. I have included those instructions in the recipe. You can, however use whatever cake you like in this, including home-made, pre-made/store bought. My sister used to make hers with lemon pound cake. Traditionally trifle is made in a trifle bowl so as to show of the pretty layers. However, since it is just my husband and I, I decided to make them in individual glasses (make sure each glass is at least 8-12 ounce capacity), plus I don’t have a trifle bowl. By making them in individual glasses you can make them up “on demand” so to speak. Not only that, but if you are bringing by some for friends or family they can easily make individual servings with the ingredients. A lovely portable gift idea is to make the trifle in individual 12 ounce mason jars. I call them Trifle Jars! All the gift recipient needs to do is pop them in the fridge for later! Trifle can be made in stages. The cake and the whipped topping can be made the day ahead. The cake can be cubed and stored in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days and the same goes for the whipped topping. The custard is best fresh when it is warm and can meld with all the layers. It’s these layers uniting together that make trifle such a luscious, yet fairly simple dessert and special treat on any brunch table. That being said, as my husband and I were testing this recipe we enjoyed the prepared and chilled custard in the trifle very much. So if it works better for you to make the custard ahead and serve it chilled, no worries, it will still taste wonderful!
Preheat oven to 350 F and grease and line 2- 8 inch round cake tins with parchment. Use an electric mixer and mix oil, water, vegan egg mixture(or 3 eggs) and apple cider vinegar for a minute. Add cake mix and zest and beat for at least 1 minute. Pour even amounts into cake tins and bake in the centre of preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in pan for at least 25 minutes before transferring to a cake cooling rack. Once cooled, cut cake into bite sized cubes and set aside.
Pour the milks into a medium saucepan and whisk. Remove about 1/2 cup of the milk and add it to a medium bowl. Whisk the tapioca starch into the 1/2 cup of milk and whisk until smooth. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan
Add the rest of the ingredients to saucepan. Whisk over medium heat until it starts to gently bubble and then turn down the heat to medium-low and continue to whisk until it thickens. It should take about 10-20 minutes to thicken. How to tell your custard is ready: when you can draw a clean line with your finger down the back of a spoon.
Allow to cool slightly and if you are making it ahead make sure to cover the top of the custard to prevent a skin from forming as it cools.
Layer the trifle into individual glasses as such:
Layer 1: cake cubes
Layer 2: custard
Layer 3: berries
Top/Final Layer: Raspberry Whipped Topping
Serving Size 1 glass