Cherry Trifle

From United Cakes of America
Makes one 9-inch layered dessert

What You Need

For the Sugared Cherries

  • 2 pints pitted cherries
  • 1/4 c superfine granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

For the Sugar Syrup

  • 1 1/2 c superfine granulated sugar
  • ¾ c water

For the Whipped Cream

  • 3 c whipping or heavy cream
  • 1/4 c superfine granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

What You Do

  1. To make the sugared cherries, combine the ingredients in a large bowl and toss to blend. Refrigerate for 2 hours, strain, and reserve the liquid.
  2. While the cherries are chilling, make the Amazing Vanilla Cake. *
  3. To make the sugar syrup, combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove and let cool.
  4. When the sugared cherries, the cake, and the sugar syrup are ready to use, wash and dry a deep glass trifle bowl.
  5. To make the whipped cream, bring the ingredients to a soft peak using a standing mixer fitted with a wire whip attachment or hand beaters. Stop the mixer and whip by hand with a balloon whisk until the cream shows a slightly thick body. It should not be at all stiff.
  6. Slice the cakes horizontally with a serrated knife, and place one layer in the bottom of the bowl. Using a pastry brush or squeeze bottle, soak the layer with about one quarter of the sugar syrup and one quarter of the reserved liquid from the sugared cherries.
  7. Spoon a generous amount of whipped cream onto the first layer and level it with a ladle or spoon—because of the angle, you won’t be able to use a spatula.
  8. Drop about one quarter of the sugared cherries evenly around the first layer. Place some near the edge so they’ll be visible in the bowl.
  9. Repeat with the next two layers of cake. (Prepare more whipped cream if necessary.) Complete the top layer with a generous portion of whipped cream and a few sugared cherries.
  10. Serve immediately with a large spoon, or let sit for up to 2 hours before serving—the trifle will improve as the cake soaks up the flavors.

*This is a knockoff of the chiffon cake that has a balanced, familiar flavor. I recommend it over the traditional chiffon—but that’s because I prefer the taste and texture of butter cakes to those with oil. The recipe yields two rounds, but each round tends to bake high and is often enough for a layer cake on its own.
Amazing Vanilla Cake
Makes two 9-inch rounds

What You Need

  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 oz potato starch
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla powder

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp rum
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract 6 eggs, separated
  • 1 ½ c superfine granulated sugar
  • ½ vanilla bean, seeds only

What You Do

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F and place the rack in the middle position. Line two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans with parchment.
  2. Measure the dry ingredients into a bowl and whisk to blend. Set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter until it is browned, then remove from the heat. Stir in the rum and vanilla and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the wire whip attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until fluffy, about 1 minute. Slowly pour 2 ounces of the sugar into the whites and whip for another 20 seconds. Transfer the whites to a clean bowl and set aside.
  5. In the mixer bowl, beat the egg yolks, vanilla seeds, and remaining 10 ounces of sugar until the mixture is pale yellow.
  6. Reduce the speed of the wire whip to slow, and add the dry ingredients to the mixer in three portions.
  7. Stop the mixer and fold in the meringue with a flexible spatula, followed by the browned butter mixture. Divide the batter between the prepared pans.
  8. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool the cakes in the pans. Use an offset spatula to release the cakes if they stick to the sides when you invert the pans.