Poppy Seed Trifle with Strawberries and Orange Creme Fraiche
By Bacon Grease an... on February 11, 2012
So, Yesterday I ventured to the grocery store and bought some strawberries. Surprisingly enough they were really good for this time of year. They probably came from Mexico or something... or Chile... or somewhere that is way warmer than northern California. (though I cant complain, I love this weather).
Anyway, since I was in the mood for light summery food since summer is so far away yet, I decided to make a trifle with fresh strawberries. Now I have had trifles in the past with the traditional sponge cake, fruit, whipped cream, and some kind of pudding or custard, and they were good. Traditional is good. But sometimes change is good. For instance, how about instead of a sponge cake, a light airy poppy seed cake, and instead of vanilla custard or pudding, crème fraiche with orange zest and grand marnier? Now think of all of that yummy goodness with fresh strawberries. Yes, your correct, it's like summer in your mouth.
I love the texture that the poppy seeds give. That subtle crunch paired with the tangy sweetness of the crème fraiche and strawberries. It's a light yet filling desert that although time consuming is relatively simple to make and looks impressive. The most difficult part is the poppyseed cake itself. You can use a poppyseed muffin mix instead of making the cake from scratch. The result will be good still but note that the muffin mix is denser and sweeter. If thats ok with you, then by all means, take shortcuts.
I was in the mood for making cute little individual deserts instead of having the hole kitten caboodle in a trifle dish. But the whole thing can be put into a trifle dish no prob if you would like. The end result is just as pretty and probably much more efficient if serving a larger number of guests.
Something else I discovered is that the crème fraiche filling makes an AWESOME fruit dip. So if you have leftover filling and strawberries (which I made sure I did) it makes an awesome appetizer or side (or in my case snack).
Also, since I made smaller individual portions, I had lots of left over cake. You can freeze the cake and use it for more trifles later by taring up the pieces or be adventurous and use it for a poppyseed bread pudding that could be used for a desert or even breakfast or brunch. I'm thinking of trying that route with my left overs. I'll let you know how that turns out if I do try it.
Anyway here's the recipe. Enjoy!
Poppy Seed Trifle with Strawberries and Orange Crème Fraiche
poppy seed cake:
3 c cake flour
3 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 c unsalted butter, softened
3 ½ c confectioners sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 c whole milk
1 tsp almond extract
3 oz poppy seeds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together. Cream butter, add sugar gradually and mix thoroughly. Add egg yokes and beat well. Add four alternately with milk a little at a time, beating until smooth. Add almond extract and poppy seeds, mix until seeds are equally distributed through the batter. Set batter aside and in a separate bowl beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into the batter immediately. Do not over mix. Bake in 2 greased 9 inch cake pans for 30 minutes or until an inserted tooth pick comes out clean. Cool on wire racks.
orange crème fraiche and strawberry filling:
32 oz fresh strawberries, sliced lengthwise
2 c heavy whipping cream
15 oz crème fraiche
2 tsp orange zest
2 Tbsp grand marnier
½ granulated sugar
Beat the cream until stiff. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the crème fraiche, orange zest, grand marnier, and sugar until most of the sugar has dissolved. Fold half of the whipped cream into the crème fraiche mixture, saving the other half for topping. Do not over mix, it is ok to still have a few streaks of white from the whipped cream.
Once the cake has cooled, use the serving dishes you will use to make imprints into the top of the cake (I used a small desert cup, ramekins would work well for this as well). Using a knife, cut along the imprints so that you are left with a piece of cake the size of your dish.
The number of servings will depend of the size of the dishes used. Try to get as many pieces as you canfrom your two cakes. Once all your pieces are cut, slice each one in half. Place a piece in the bottom of your serving dish.
On top of that, layer your sliced strawberries, topping them off with a layer of your crème fraiche. Place your remaining slice on top and press it into the crème fresh as much as possible (you can do an optional drizzle of grand marnier, letting it soak into the cake).
Top with extra strawberry slices and a dollop of the remaining whipped cream. Garnish with orange zest and a sprig of mint. Serve immediately.