I saw it happen by accident. I sat under the patio umbrella, finishing my meal. The tall woman brought her desert out to the back porch and sat down at the next table. The conversation at my table was quite lively and as I looked up and laughed I saw her take her first bite of the trifle. She stopped, took a deep breath, closed her eyes and then asked her table mate, “Who made this?” “I don’t know” was her friend’s response.
I did not volunteer any information. I tend to be shy about my cooking. But I saw her face and realized that the trifle was better than I had expected. Now, I don’t eat sugar anymore, and I don’t eat gluten, so this dessert was a shot in the dark, so to speak. But we had an invitation and I wanted to bring a nice summer dish.
I made it the day before and asked my husband to taste the components.
“Dearest, how does this cake taste?”
“O.K. How does this whipped coconut cream taste?
“O.K. How about the watered down jam? Is it too thin?”
“No, it’s good.”
(So you see what I was up against. It was all good, but that is what he says about everything I make).
So I brought the trifle, satisfied it would at least be good. But that woman’s face said something different. It said the trifle was better than just good. As more people ate the dessert, the news finally got around that I had made the cake. And as sometimes happens, somebody asked for the recipe. So here it is.
Simple Berry Trifle
Prepare all the following:
Vegan Vanilla Cake
1 cup unbleached white cake flour
1/2 cup bakers sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup, plus 2 – 3 tablespoons vegan milk
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare one 9 inch round cake pan by greasing the bottom and side. Cover the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper, cut to size, then grease the parchment paper too. Combine all the dry ingredients into one bowl and sift. In another bowl combine all the wet ingredients. Quickly add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir well to combine. Place in the hot oven and let bake 5 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes.
When a fork gently pressed into the center of the cake comes out clean, take it out of the oven. Cool the cake 5 – 10 minutes, then gently loosen the sides with a knife. Invert the cake onto a wire cooling rack and let it come to room temperature.
Strawberry Jam Spread
1/2 cup of strawberry jam
Put the jam into a small bowl and add water, 1 teaspoon at a time, to thin it out into a loose jelly. (Notice the photo of the jam, it is loose, but not watery). Set aside.
Lemon Coconut Whipped Cream
4 cans full fat coconut milk, chilled in the refrigerator at least 2 hours
1 lemon zested and juiced
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar
Carefully open the coconut milk cans and scoop out the thickened coconut fat that has solidified into the bowl of a stand mixer. Try not to get any of the coconut liquid in your bowl, but reserve it for another dish. Add the zest and juice from the lemon, the vanilla and sugar. Turn the mixer on high and whip the cream until it is fluffy. It will not hold peaks. Use immediately.
Fresh Mixed Berries
4 cups of your choice
1. Tear off 2 inch pieces of the cake and set in the bottom of a clear glass bowl. Drizzle the strawberry jam spread on that and follow with big dollops of the lemon coconut whipped cream. Put a generous portion of fruit on top of the cream.
2. Begin layering again with the cake and follow the same procedure until all the ingredients are used up. Let the cake sit covered with plastic film over night. This will help the flavors mix. Let the cake sit out of the refrigerator for 10 minutes before serving. And then watch for that look from some unsuspecting dessert aficionado.