Andy had a birthday recently, so despite his comments that he didn't want anything, gifts or food or anything, I got him a present anyways. I also wanted to make some kind of cake-like dessert, because what's a birthday if not a great excuse for cake? However, we were only a few days away from a long weekend to Eden (where we've just returned from, so more on that soon), so we were trying to empty out the pantry and avoid grocery shopping.
This made birthday dessert-making tricky, because we were out of cocoa, out of chocolate, out of pastry, out of frozen fruit, and a few other things. But I did notice a box of vegan jelly we bought at the Asian grocery store a few months ago. I was going to make some jelly. Then I though -- why not make trifle?
I settled on a simple but hopefully delicious vanilla bean-centric trifle to go along with our strawberry flavoured jelly. First, I made a vanilla bean cake, turning the recipe for Vanilla Bean Cupcakes from Vegan Bake Sale into a big cake. This didn't work all that well; for some reason the cake took twice as long as I expected to bake through. And it had a few funny bubbles. However, it was absolutely freaking delicious.
I make trifle by splitting my cake in half and spreading it with jam, before sandwiching it back together and cutting it into chunks. Those chunks go into the trifle dish (in our house, a deep-ish pan) and jelly gets poured over the top to set amidst the cake chunks. This goes against Andy's family's method, which involves setting the jelly separately, then breaking it up and putting on top of the cake that way. But luckily he's flexible, and willing to try new things.
Once the jelly sets, some vegan custard goes over the top.
Then I sprinkled on some toasted coconut.
I was struggling to come up with a whipped cream alternative, based on what we had in the house. But then it hit me - vanilla bean + coconut cream = Andy's favourite ice cream ever. Since we had both of those things, I made some ice cream, which we scooped on top of each serve of trifle.
The result was really, very yummy. The only thing this needed was a layer of real fruit. But for a quickly thrown together, using what we had on hand kind of dessert, I was pretty impressed with myself.