Move over boring desserts! There’s a new favorite bowl of orange-y goodness in town!
Layers of from-scratch goodness in the form of orange pound cake, vanilla pudding, and freshly whipped cream come together to make a creamy, citrusy, show-stopping dessert.
It all started with a recipe sent to me by my lifelong friend Melissa, in which she described a favorite cake made with mandarin oranges and pineapple and whipped cream. I loved the concept and she knew I’d have to make it mine so lots of years and lots of trials later, and this trifle was born.
I just love a trifle!! They feed a crowd, are customizable, and make a lovely presentation. They can be made in a large bowl or in individual jars! My Strawberry Trifle, Brownie Trifle, and Pumpkin Spice Trifle with Maple Cream, are all showstoppers and guaranteed crowd-pleasers.
But back to this beauty. You know it’s a good dessert when I’ve made it four times in as many weeks and served it to four groups of guests who happily devoured all the delicious, creamy, citrusy bites and asked if there were LEFTOVERS of it in the fridge!!
There are three main elements to this dessert: the orange pound cake, the Homemade Vanilla Pudding, and the homemade whipped cream — and the mandarin oranges, of course but all you have to do is drain those. I believe each, made from scratch, makes this spectacular and special, but feel free to throw in your own spin. Pineapple, raspberries, even cranberries would be delicious additions to the trifle and would add color and delightful flavor options.
To begin, you’ll need to make the pound cake and let it cool. This recipe based on Ina Garten’s delicious recipe makes two pound cakes so I wrap and freeze the second cake for another happy trifle day.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour two loaf pans.
In a mixing bowl, cream together 2 sticks (1 cup) room temperature butter
and 2 cups of sugar for five full minutes.
Add in 4 room-temperature eggs, one at a time, until incorporated,
as well as 2 T. orange extract.
In a liquid measuring cup,
add 1 T. vinegar
to 3/4 c. milk and let sit for 5 minutes to simulate buttermilk. Or if you happen to have buttermilk, use that. :o)
When it has curdled a bit, add in 1/2 c. orange juice
and 1 tsp. vanilla.
In another large bowl, mix the following:
3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Pour the batter evenly between the two greased and floured pans and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the top springs back when touched and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove and let cool for 20 minutes or so and then move to a wire rack to cool completely.
Once cool, cut one cake into slices and then cubes — no need to be picky or perfect here. The cubes will be lost in the trifle somewhere so don’t worry if things aren’t even or get broken. I shoot for at least 6 cubes per slice.
Now, make your pudding. It is so easy to make homemade pudding and the custardy texture will make you wonder why you ever used a box. It doesn’t take much longer and you’ll know exactly what ingredients are in it! Before you just grab the boxed stuff, give this a shot!
Heat 3 c. milk and 1 T. vanilla in a heavy pot over medium heat.
In a separate mixing bowl combine the following:
3/4 c. sugar,
4 T. cornstarch,
and a pinch of salt.
Add in 6 egg yolks.
When the milk is just starting to simmer, add a cup to the sugar mixture, stirring constantly, to temper (heat) the eggs. Tempering allows the eggs to get nice and hot without cooking.
Add that whole mixture back to the pot whisking constantly and cook until it bubbles and thickens. Do NOT stop whisking, Pudding burns easily to the bottom so just stand there and whisk until it’s thick. Remove from heat and stir in 2 T. butter. Let cool completely.
Now you just need to whip the cream! Whip 1 pint (2 cups) until stiff peaks form (don’t go too far or you’ll have butter!).
Gently fold in 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 1 T. orange juice.
You now get to make the pretty trifle layers and the good news is, you get to freestyle! I start with about a half cup of pudding in the bottom to make a base and then add in cake cubes, drained mandarin oranges, pudding, and whipped cream, ending with whipped cream and garnish with a few reserved mandarin oranges, grated orange zest, and some sparkling sugar (add this just before serving to retain all the sparkle). Refrigerate at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight to let all the flavors and textures come together.
And there you have it! A bright and happy, delicious new dessert idea to share and enjoy!
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