Think of today’s dish as being a chocolatey dessert mocha, light on the coffee (quite light, actually), with copious servings of cream. Best of all, it’s crowned with a generous dollop of Bailey’s Irish Cream-laden topping. A double dose of cream thus completes this, reinforcing the smooth chocolate dreaminess found throughout.
Formally speaking, this is a trifle, one of England’s representative desserts. So typical is it, in fact, England offers the treat at its World Showcase pavilion in Florida. A site called Disney Restaurant Recipes includes instructions for this among the other dishes it shows readers how to replicate a home.
There are three main components. There’s the infused whipped cream, more than a little reminiscent of a Frosty (a chocolate milkshake, for those of you reading from outside North America). Beneath is a moist, tender chocolate cake, cut into cubes.
Then you have the chocolate custard:
It takes some time, and lots of stirring, to make a pudding from scratch like this. Entirely worth the investment, though, as chocolate silk enrobes the cake and adds another layer of flavor, another variation on the theme of chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. There’s also a small amount of coffee in here too, though it’s not recognizable. Not even to a coffee-hater, or at least to a coffee-disdainer.
If anything, it brings something more like a hint of mocha, a taste that works beautifully with cocoa, playing off its sweetness and enhancing its richness. That’s what gives this dessert its purpose and builds cravings for more, is creaminess. Whether it’s in the cake or in the pudding, chocolate approaches from different directions. Then there’s the whipped cream, and the Bailey’s Irish Cream…
Humanity must’ve developed 1,762 different ways to celebrate cream, and most of them found their way into today’s dessert. To those on a diet, sorry.
Bailey’s Irish Coffee Trifle
For the custard:
- 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups milk
- 3 cups half-and-half
- 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extraxt
- 3 ounces coffee
For the cake:
- 1 and 3/4 cup flour
- 1 and 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 and 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
For the whipped cream:
- 5 ounces heavy whipping cream
- 1 ounce Bailey’s Irish Cream (*1)
Start with the custard. In medium bowl whisk together the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. Slowly whisk in the milk until smooth, then slowly whisk in the half-and half. Strain through a fine sieve into a large saucepan.
Set the saucepan over a medium flame and bring just to a boil, whisking the mixture constantly. Reduce flame to low and continue to boil gently, whisking constantly.
Turn off the flame and stir in the coffee, bittersweet chocolate and vanilla. Continue stirring until the chocolate melts, about a minute.
Fill a large bowl (at least two inches wider than the saucepan) 2/3 of the way with ice cubes. Set the saucepan on top of the ice cubes and add cold water to the ice cubes until they’re submerged. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
Next, make the cake. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the wet ingredients in a medium bowl. Sift the dry ingredients into a larger bowl and slowly whisk in the wet ingredients. Do not overmix, Stir just until steaks disappear.
Grease a baking pan or spray it with baking spray. Pour the batter into the pan and bake it for 25 minutes. Set on a rack to cool.
Meanwhile, whip the cream. Put a metal mixer bowl in the freezer and remove it after fifteen minutes, after it has frosted. (*2) Pour the cream into the mixing bowl and attach the whisking utensil. Starting at low speed, start whisking the cream, gradually building to high speed.
Continue to whisk on high until stiff peaks appear, usually between 8 and 12 minutes. Pour in the Irish Cream and continue whisking on high for a minute. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
To assemble the dessert, cut the cake into 1-inch cubes. Arrange these in individual serving bowls. Next, spoon some custard into each bowl, blanketing the cake cubes and filling the bowl about a third of the way with pudding. Finally, garnish with the whipped cream mixture. Using a spoon to do so is fine, using a pastry bag to pipe it on is fancier and is more presentation-worthy.
1 – Or more. Bailey’s always reminded me of a Frosty, making it a perfect compliment to the dessert. All told, I probably used 1/3 of a cup.
2 – Putting the mixing bowl in the freezer isn’t part of the original recipe, though experience has shown an ice-cold bowl really sets the cream nicely and has become indispensable to the process. For that matter, freezing the whisk too doubles the benefit.