Grab that spoon and save room for dessert because this gooey, delicious Mexican Hot Chocolate Trifle is a chocolate lover’s dream.
I’m not sure how it happened, but these are all a part of our Christmas routine, along with putting up three trees (yeah, that’s right, three of them), driving around at night multiple times to scope out the most awesomely decorated and lit houses, and listening to Kenny Rogers sing Mary Did You Know.
In addition to that, our stockings are all hung by the chimney with care. Not only do we have ones for Sophie, Doug and myself, but our young lady made sure that Molly (our cat) and Fluffy (our turtle) were also represented even though Fluffy’s deep into her winter hibernation.
While things like this have become our family traditions leading up to Christmas day, one thing that isn’t is holiday baking. I don’t have a specific cake, cookie or other goodie that I’ve made year after year, decade after decade. I try new recipes, adapt old ones and go with whatever whim or magazine drifts my way.
This year, thanks to Sophie’s chocolate obsession, it ended up being this trifle.
I’m not going to gloss over this or beat around the bush. My kitchen’s a mess right now and it’s this dessert’s fault. We’re talking stacks of bowls and cake pans, spatulas, beaters, wooden spoons, measuring cups and spoons. And that’s just the equipment.
There are also splatters of chocolate, brown fingerprints, and messed up towels all over. To add the exclamation mark to the process, I also have incredibly sticky sweet fluff dotting everything like a giant marshmallow exploded in my favorite room. It makes me want to weep.
Is this easy? No, not really.
The cake/brownie part uses a lot of chocolate that needs to be microwaved until melted and smooth (first set of fingerprints all over the kitchen happened at this point). Then came the normal butter and sugar creaming and eggs added. The chocolate and vanilla went in and were mixed as well.
When I hit the part where I needed to alternate the flour and milk, I realized that I was going to have a lot of batter. A word of warning; use a really big bowl because that flour and milk addition wasn’t the end of it. I also beat egg whites to stiff peaks and folded them in the batter before splitting it between three pans and baking the cake.
Then there’s the ganache. Another word of warning; don’t try to make it ahead of time. I did that and was more than a bit surprised when I went to give it a stir and the spoon wouldn’t move. Luckily 30 seconds in the microwave loosened it up nicely.
Finally, there’s the marshmallow topping. Three containers of the marshmallow fluff stuff go in a bowl with heavy cream. Have you ever tried mixing fluff and milk? It splatters. A lot. All over. I’ll probably need a ladder to get all of it off my walls.
Unfortunately, even though I beat my heavy cream for over 5 minutes, it never set up to whipped cream level like I think it’s supposed to do. It tasted awesome, but was very loose.
All that work and all that mess. Was it worth it? To me, the chocolate disliker in the family; you probably don’t want to know. It’s really, really chocolaty.
If you ask Doug, who’s scooping out a big bowl of it at the moment, you’ll get a resounding, ‘heck yeah.’ He says that it’s stinkin’ good, which is a high compliment. Sophie seconds his sentiments in spades.
So is it worth it? To see them so happy and enjoying it … yes, it’s worth it. Way worth it.
What I’d Do Different Next Time
- 6 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
- ¾ cup butter, softened
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 1½ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2¾ cups cake flour
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon table salt
- 2¼ cups milk
- 3 (4-oz.) semisweet chocolate baking bars, chopped
- 2 (4-oz.) bittersweet chocolate baking bars, chopped
- 1½ to 1¾ cups heavy cream
- 3 (7½-oz.) jars marshmallow crème
- 3 cups heavy cream
- Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Microwave chopped chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl at MEDIUM (50% power) 1 minute; stir. Microwave 2 to 2½ more minutes or until melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Beat butter at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy; gradually add granulated sugar and brown sugar, beating well. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add melted chocolate and vanilla, beating at low speed just until blended.
- Sift cake flour with next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Wash and dry beaters.
- Beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form. Stir about one-third of egg whites into batter; fold in remaining egg whites in 2 batches. Spoon batter into 3 greased (with butter) and floured 9-inch round cake pans.
- Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to parchment paper-lined wire racks, and cool completely (about 1 hour). Cut cake layers into 1-inch cubes.
- Make the ganache: Microwave first 2 ingredients and 1½ cups cream in a medium-size microwave-safe bowl at MEDIUM (50% power) 1 minute; stir. Microwave 3 to 3½ more minutes or until melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir in up to ¼ cup cream, 1 Tbsp. at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
- Make the marshmallow topping: Beat marshmallow crème and 1 cup heavy cream at low speed with an electric mixer 1 to 1½ minutes or until combined and smooth. Add remaining heavy cream; beat at medium speed 2 minutes or until light and fluffy.
- Assemble: Layer one-third of cake cubes in a 4-qt. bowl. Top with one-third each of Chocolate Ganache and Marshmallow Topping. Repeat layers twice.
Yes, this does make enough to feed a small army, but since we’ll be with family tomorrow, there will be more than us whittling away at it. I assume that it will also serve as breakfast for a few days and that’s okay because, after all, it’s Christmas.