Chocolate Mint Trifle

Recipe and photo contributed by Annelies Zijderveld Yield:  8 servings
Prep Time:  45 minutes Cook Time:  45 minutes

Chocolate Mint Trifle

The cake in this trifle is a bit sturdy so it will stand up to the mountain of custard and whipped cream that will soak into it. I find that the flavors come together well if you assemble the trifle the day before you are going to serve it. And, speaking of serving, this dessert would go marvelously well with a freshly brewed pot of peppermint tisane. Allow 3 hours for the pudding to chill and 1 hour for the assembled trifle to chill before serving.


Chocolate Mint Pudding:

5 egg yolks

¼ cup (30 grams) cornstarch

6 ounces (170 grams) semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

2 tablespoons (12 grams) cocoa powder

2 cups (476 grams) cream

2 cups (484 grams) whole milk

½ cup (102 grams) granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon peppermint extract


Cocoa Cake:

½ cup (48 grams) cocoa powder

2¼ cups (254 grams) cake flour

2 teaspoons (7 grams) baking powder

¼ teaspoon (1 gram) kosher salt

1 stick (½ cup / 113 grams / 4 ounces) cold unsalted butter

½ cup (102 grams) granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup whole milk


Whipped Cream:

2 cups very cold heavy cream

2 tablespoons (15 grams) confectioners’ sugar



Fresh peppermint leaves (see Kitchen Tip)

Semisweet chocolate, finely chopped



Make the pudding:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the 5 yolks and cornstarch into a bright yellow paste. Place the chocolate into a separate medium-sized bowl and sift the cocoa powder into it.
  2. Warm the cream, milk, sugar, and salt in a medium-sized saucepan set over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 7 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the milk mixture into the chocolate and whisk until it is incorporated and resembles chocolate milk.
  3. Pour ¼ cup of the chocolate milk into the yolks and whisk until combined. Whisk in the rest of the chocolate milk and add the peppermint extract. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into the saucepan, and set over medium heat. Whisk for 7 to 8 minutes, until the mixture thickens and leaves drag marks when you move a spoon through it. Spoon it into a small bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding and chill for 3 hours.

Make the cocoa cake:

  1. While the pudding is chilling, preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch round pan, line it with parchment paper (see Notes from the Test Kitchen) and grease the top of the parchment paper. Sift the cocoa powder and cake flour into a large bowl. Whisk in the baking powder and salt for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer set at medium speed for 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix between additions, until incorporated. Add the yolk and mix until integrated. Add the vanilla extract and half the flour mixture and mix until combined. Pour in the milk and add the remaining flour, mixing until it just comes together.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Turn out (see Notes from the Test Kitchen) onto a cooling rack and cool the cake completely, about 30 minutes. Cut the cake into chunks.

Make the fresh whipped cream:

  1. Chill the bowl of a stand mixer and the whisk attachment (or a mixing bowl and the beaters of a handheld electric mixer) in the refrigerator for 10 to 20 minutes.
  2. Pour the cream into the bowl and beat until thick and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the confectioner’s sugar and beat until soft peaks form.

Assemble the trifle:

  1. Place half the pieces of cake into a large, deep bowl. (See notes from the Test Kitchen.) Spoon half the pudding on top the cake, spreading it evenly. Spread half the whipped cream on top of the pudding, starting around the periphery of the bowl and working inward. Layer the remaining cake pieces on top. Spoon the remaining pudding atop the cake. Finish the trifle with a final layer of whipped cream. Garnish with finely chopped chocolate and fresh mint leaves. Chill the trifle for 1 hour before serving.

Kitchen Tips

If you want to get all fancy with your garnishes, you could candy the peppermint leaves by whisking 1 egg white until frothy. Dip each mint leaf into the egg whites and then quickly dip it into a small bowl of sugar. Leave it on the countertop to harden overnight.

Notes from the Test Kitchen:

  1. To line a round pan with parchment paper so that it fits perfectly, place the pan on a piece of parchment paper, then trace around the bottom with a pencil and cut out the circle.
  2. Nervous about turning a cake out of the pan once it’s baked? It can be a risky move. It is easier to simply place the cooling rack on top of the cake pan, holding the rack on firmly with one hand, and the bottom of the pan with the other (with an oven mitt if necessary), and flip it over quickly, still holding firmly with both hands. Set it down and let gravity and the nonstick vegetable oil spray do their work.
  3. A stemmed glass trifle bowl makes for a beautiful presentation, as all the layers can be seen through the glass.

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