Hey, hey, hey, you’re in the right place today!
And you will be when you stop by tomorrow and the next day, and the next…
because it’s What You’ll Be Eating On Cinco de Mayo Week on SB! With recommendations a go-go for you and your Cinco spread!
Today, since my sweet tooth has been overdrive lately, we’re starting out with the sweet, sweet end of your meal: a festive Peanut Butter & Jelly Tres Leches Trifle, rumor of which will get your fiesta started, and reality of which will shut your fiesta down in the very best way possible.
I generally think of trifles as old fashioned relics of a kinder, gentler time; it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Betty Draper or Mrs. Brady assembling a trifle in their kitchen before going off to play bridge or what have you.
Well I’m on a one-woman mission to bring trifles back into style for a few very simple reasons:
1. Trifles are simple to assemble.
2. Trifles feed an army.
3. Trifles are oh so pretty to behold.
4. Trifles are moist and delicious beyond compare.
Will you sign my petition? You won’t even be required to learn how to play bridge…
This particular trifle is salute to the flavors of my dreams these days: peanut butter and jelly!
The peanut butter cake is sturdy enough to absorb a classic tres leches soak without breaking down. Then move on to healthy doses of whipped cream, plump fresh strawberries, dollops of sweet preserves, and then a sprinkling of chopped peanuts to finish.
Layer after layer, filling up your pretty trifle bowl with everything you need to keep your party people, or just yourself and a large empty spoon, happy for hours on end.
You can serve your trifle right away or let it set up for a few hours in the refrigerator. It doesn’t really matter, does it?
Either way, you’ve got a kinder, gentler dessert to serve and you didn’t even have to step into a time machine. Or contend with Marsha, Marsha, Marsha.
Peanut Butter & Jelly Tres Leches Trifle
For the cake:
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 c. dark brown sugar, tightly packed
3 large eggs
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. canela, ground (ground cinnamon may be substituted)
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 c. chunky peanut butter
For the soak:
1- 14 oz. can sweetened, condensed milk
1- 12 fl. oz. can evaporated milk
1/4 c. whole milk
For the trifle:
5 c. whipped cream
2 lbs. strawberries, stemmed, sliced
2 c. strawberry preserves
chopped peanuts for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°.
Line a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together oil and sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Gradually add the flour, baking soda, salt and canela, finally beating in the buttermilk and then the peanut butter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Take care not to overbake this cake. Remove and set aside to cool slightly before unmolding.
Meanwhile, whisk the ingredients for the soak together in another large bowl and set aside.
Once the cake has cooled, remove it from the pan and slice into small pieces. Note that this trifle sets up best with extremely small pieces of cake – I recommend cutting into 1/2″ cubes.
To assemble your trifle, line the bottom of a trifle bowl with an even layer of approximately 1/3 of the pieces of cake. Top with one cup of the soak and an even layer of two cups of whipped cream. Top the cream with approximately one third of the strawberry pieces and several spoonfuls of preserves. Repeat this pattern. After the third layer of cake and soak, skip the whipped cream and top with the remaining strawberries and preserves. Finish with a spread of the remaining whipped cream and a sprinkle of chopped peanuts. Note that the assembly of this trifle is not particularly scientific and can be altered slightly if you so choose. Just be sure that the cake pieces are always followed by the soak.
YIELD: approximately 14-15 servings