Make Plum Trifle, the fanciest dessert for the hottest afternoons

Illustration for article titled Make Plum Trifle, the fanciest dessert for the hottest afternoons
Graphic: Natalie Peeples

I eat some sort of dessert every single night, because I love dessert and see zero reason to deprive myself of it. Most of the time it’s something that takes seconds to put together, like ice cream from the carton or a peanut butter, chocolate, and banana sandwich with a tall glass of cream-spiked milk. I rarely make myself something like a cake or pie, because if I do, I will eat the entire cake or pie within 24 hours. But I still crave, and deserve, nice desserts, because there’s a limit to how fancy a peanut butter sandwich eaten off of a paper towel can make a girl feel. So during the summer months when my favorite fruits are at their very best, I employ my freezer cake strategy so I can always make myself a fancy-pants trifle whenever I’m in the mood to be a fancy-pants lady.

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Here’s how it works: most cakes freeze beautifully, particularly pound cake, as it’s quite sturdy and won’t get overly jostled by rock-hard chicken and whatever other crap I’ve got shoved into my overstocked freezer. Every so often I’ll make a large pound cake, cut it up into cubes, then stick those into a large freezer bag and toss it in the freezer for “emergency desserts.” In this recipe, I layer some of those cake cubes with some briefly macerated plums and quick whipped cream flavored with honey, vanilla, and Greek yogurt, which gives it a pleasant tang. If you don’t yet have quality plums in your area (or if you just aren’t fond of them) you can substitute just about any summer fruit you’d like: peaches, apricots, cherries, blueberries... I could go on. What’s really important is that you always have some of this cake in your freezer, because when the mood strikes on a breezy summer evening, nothing should stand between you and the sweet life.


Illustration for article titled Make Plum Trifle, the fanciest dessert for the hottest afternoons
Photo: Allison Robicelli
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Plum Trifle

This recipe serves 4-6, though you’ll have plenty of cake to freeze for a later date. The whipped cream lasts up to seven days in the fridge in a well-sealed container, allowing you to treat yourself to a fresh personal serving of trifle any day of the week.

For the cake:

  • 3 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda

For the plums:

  • 6-8 nice looking plums
  • 2 Tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the whipped cream:

  • 2 cups cream
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Make the cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use cooking spray or a bit of butter to grease a 9" x 13" baking pan.

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Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the mixer running, add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add the milk, Greek yogurt (or sour cream), salt, and vanilla, and beat until completely smooth.

Add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda; turn the mixer to high and beat for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl halfway through. (Note: normally you wouldn’t want to overmix a cake this way, because it makes it tough, but for this trifle you want the cake to be a little denser so it holds up against the rest of the ingredients without getting completely soggy.) Pour the cake into the pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center pulls out clean.

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Let the cake cool completely, then use a serrated knife to split it into two layers. Cut each layer into half-inch cubes, and put into a resealable container or a gallon-sized freezer bag. Set out the amount of cake cubes you’ll need for the trifle, then store the rest in the freezer for future trifles.

Prepare the plums

Cut up the plums however you please; toss them with the sugar, salt, and vanilla, and set aside for at least 10 minutes. (You can do this well ahead of time if you’d like.)

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Make the whipped cream

Put all the whipped cream ingredients in a bowl and, using a whisk or a mixer, beat until soft peaks form.

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Assemble the trifle

Add a bit of whipped cream to the bottom of a nice glass (use the nicest one you own, because life is too short not to be enjoying the good china), then add some pound cake cubes, then a few slices of the prepared plums, then a drizzle of the plums’ macerating liquid. Continue layering this way until you’ve reached the top of the glass, then treat yo’self.

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Allison Robicelli is The Takeout staff writer, a former professional chef, author of three books, and The People's Hot Pocket Princess. Questions about recipes/need cooking advice? Tweet @Robicellis.

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DISCUSSION

will cake absorb freezer funk?

or does it not last long enough to be a problem? ;)