Trifle is true DIY do-what-you-want layered dessert. Every recipe I looked at was remarkably different. The skeleton of the recipe seems to be: Layer ladyfingers (sponge fingers), fresh/canned fruit, custard, and whipped cream. Do what you will from there. Some use regular sponge cake as the base, and some add jam in between those cakes. In the past 20 years, Jell-o (jelly) has been added in with the fruit! So many options! Hey that's great, but lemme get a handle on things before going experiementing. So I emailed his sister to ask what they ate at home.
Starting with the bottom layer:
Sponge Cake (click for recipe)
This is FREAKIN delicious and I added a bit of lemon juice with the water. Wonderful.
Cool cake, slice and make your bottom layer
I lined the sides with strawberries at this point
Pour canned fruit and jello over cake.
I actually soaked fresh strawberry slices in canned tropical fruit syrup while I was making the cake so it would have the sugary goodness. I poured the fruit over first to let it soak up a bit before the jello (because that seems weird to me). (I used the tropical fruit in another cake).
I used Apple-White grape juice instead of water (still added just a small amount of sugar though). I reduced the recipe by a third, but it still needed a bit more agar. I only used a small portion, maybe a cup- enough to not go over the cake before absorbing.
Pour over cake with fruit while still hot. Let it set in fridge
***If you are pouring this into a glass container, cup, etc, make sure it was HEAT TEMPERED, otherwise it will shatter at this stage***
I wish it were a little bit thicker- next time add more cornstarch. I added a pinch of cinnamon and it was overwhelming. Delicious, but maybe skip it. (First I made a custard on the back of an Australian no-egg powder box. Don’t, it’s gross.)
Let custard cool, stirring once in a while to avoid a skin. Add on top of fruit, let set.
I thought if I did this by hand it would be fluffier. Wrong. While the blender still keeps it runny, not as runny if you do it by hand. Still great tasting though.
Top your trifle off with it right before you serve it.
The result? Sure it wasn’t the trifle he was used to (and I had nothing to gage it against) but he loved it! I thought it tasted like a giant over indulgent strawberry shortcake- yum! He raved about the real sponge cake bottom. Me too, that sponge cake is magical, I'm tellin' ya!