Mocha Trifle– A layered trifle with coffee vanilla pudding, dark chocolate cake, and whipped cream and topped with crushed almond biscotti.
Today’s treat is my newest creation. It combines two of my favorite flavors – coffee and chocolate. These two flavors compliment each other soooo well. The coffee and chocolate leave a smooth, balanced flavor in your mouth and both ingredients lose any hint of bitterness. It’s truly magical.
Many times, I see these flavors in drinks or cakes. But why not try them in a more layered treat like a trifle? I like having desserts in this way so I can taste each layer distinctly.
But before we get into the recipe any further, let’s look at my Mocha Trifle!
Making a trifle
A trifle is just a layered dessert. I think a good trifle has a variety of textures and flavors. Some might have fruit, cake, pudding, whipped cream, cookies, custard, jam, etc. For this mocha trifle, I use just three layers:
- Dark chocolate cake – I include a recipe for a great dark chocolate cake that is made from scratch. But feel free to use your own recipe or a store-bought cake, if you need to cut the prep time down
- Coffee vanilla pudding – This pudding is made by adding in coffee to a vanilla pudding. It’s prepared instantly so it really can’t be any easier.
- Whipped cream – This whipped cream is made from scratch. There is no substitution for this – homemade whipped cream is just so incredible.
To finish off the trifle, I crushed some almond biscotti and sprinkled it over the top. I love that hint of crunch that it adds. Plus almond flavor also pairs well with coffee and chocolate so it’s the perfect addition.
Tips & Tricks
- Use cold coffee. Brewed coffee is used in the coffee and the pudding. Make sure you’ve allowed the coffee to cool before using in either recipe. For the pudding, it’s even better if the coffee is cold so that the pudding sets up quicker.
- Cool the cake. The cake must be cooled before slicing and placing in the trifle. If it’s warm, the whipped cream will melt and no longer whipped and fluffy. I like to let me cake cool 15 mins in the pan and then remove it from the pan to cool for another 30 minutes. Finally, I slice it and let it get to room temperature before adding to the trifle.
- Instant pudding. There is no need to make pudding from scratch. Instant pudding works just as well and saves you tons of time and effort.
- Make ahead. The best thing about the trifle is that it gets better the longer it sits. So I like to make mine the day before I plan to serve it. Trust me – it really makes a difference.
For the trifle:
- 2 3-ounce packages instant vanilla pudding
- 2¼ cups whole milk cold
- 1 cup brewed coffee chilled
- 1 pint heavy cream
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 almond biscotti or 4 mini
For the cake:
- 1⅓ cup flour
- ⅓ cup unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup canola oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup brewed coffee
- ⅔ cup sour cream
To assemble the trifle:
- Make pudding by mixing both packages with cold milk and cold brewed coffee. Whisk to combine until it's thickened. Place in the fridge to thicken a little more until we need it.
- Make whipped cream by adding heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla to the bowl of a mixer. Beat with whisk attachment until thickened and stiff peaks form. Set aside.
- Remove cooled cake from pan and cut into 1-inch cubes (see below for making the cake). Layer 1/2 of the cubes on the bottom of a trifle dish. Layer 1/2 of the prepared coffee vanilla pudding over the cake making sure that the cake is completely covered. Layer 1/2 of the whipped cream over the pudding, completely sealing it in.
- Repeat layers. Crush the almond biscotti into small pieces. Sprinkle biscotti pieces and chocolate cake crumbs over the top layer of whipped cream. Let the mixture set in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving (ideally overnight, if possible).
For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 1 9×5 inch loaf pan by spraying thoroughly with non-stick spray. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk cocoa powder, flour, salt, and baking soda together until combined. Set aside until the final step of making the batter.
- In a bowl of a stand mixer, add sugar and oil and mix until combined. Add egg and egg yolk, together and mix on medium-low until combined. Add vanilaa extract and mix together. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
- Mix coffee together with sour cream in a separate mixing bowl or measuring cup. Add ⅓ of the flour mixture to the batter and mix on low until combined. Add half of the coffee-sour cream mixture and mix on low until smooth. Repeat with another ⅓ of flour mixture and then the last of the coffee-sour cream mixture. Finally, add the last of the flour, mix, and stop when combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth into an even layer.
- Bake in center of preheated oven for about 1 hour. Remove the cake when a knife comes out clean when inserted in the center. Let it cool for 20 minutes before removing from the pan. To remove from the pan. slide a knife around the edge to loosen up the cake. Place a plate on top of the pan and, with pot holders on, invert the pan so it's on top of the plate. Gently tap the pan on the plate to loosen up the cake. Remove pan and let cake sit to cool completely, about 40 more minutes.