How can a trifle made with a slice of a very tender cake, topped with cream and berries and sprinkled with toasted almonds go wrong? Exactly – it can’t.
The same way a movie with Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow, Patricia Clarkson and Jackie Earle Haley directed by Mr. Scorsese just can go wrong – it has got to be one of the best things I have ever seen.
If you haven’t watched “Shutter Island” yet, do yourself a favor and run to the nearest movie theater. :)
Silver poppy seed cake trifle
from Baking for All Occasions, presentation inspired by Nigella’s lemon-raspberry plate trifle
2 ¼ cups (315g) cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup (60ml) whole milk
½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
½ cup (60ml) well shaken buttermilk
¼ cup poppy seeds
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
200g unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups (300g) granulated sugar
4 large (120ml) egg whites, lightly beaten
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced lengthwise
3 tablespoons sliced almonds, lightly toasted
Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 180°C/350°F. Lightly coat a 32.5x22.5x5cm (13x9x2in) pan (quarter sheet pan)* with butter/nonstick spray, and line the bottom with parchment paper, coating the paper as well. Then flour it, tapping out the excess. Have all the ingredients at room temperature.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a small bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the milk with the vanilla bean just until lukewarm. Set aside to cool to room temperature, about 5 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean from the milk, scrape the seeds from the bean into the milk with a small pairing knife and discard the pod. Pour the vanilla flavored milk into a small bowl, add the buttermilk, poppy seeds and lemon juice, and stir to blend. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until it is lighter in color, cling to the side of the bowl and has a satiny appearance, 30-45 seconds. Add the sugar in a steady stream, then stop the mixer and scrape down the gritty, sandy mixture clinging to the sides of the bowl. Continue to beat on medium speed until the mixture is very light in color and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.
With the mixer on medium speed, add the egg whites, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated before adding more – this is especially important for egg whites because a large percentage of an egg white is water. If at any time the batter appears watery or shiny (signs of curdling) stop the flow of egg whites, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the batter looks smooth again. Then return to medium speed and resume adding the egg whites. Continue to beat, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl at least once or twice, until all the whites have been added and the mixture is fluffy.
On the lowest speed, add the flour mixture in three additions alternately with the buttermilk mixture in two additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and mixing after each addition until incorporated. Stop the mixer after each addition to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and with a rubber spatula spread the batter from the center outward, creating a slightly raised ridge around the outside rim (since heat is conducted faster near the metal rim, mounding the batter around the edges ensures the cake will bake more evenly and will be more leveled).
Bake the cake until raised and golden, 38-42 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, carefully unmold onto a wire rack and let cool completely.
Assembling the trifle: cut the cooled cake in thick slices and place on small serving plates. Top with 2-3 tablespoons of the whipped cream, a few strawberry slices and sprinkle with the toasted almonds.
* I halved the recipe above and used a 10x20cm (4x8in) loaf pan