Gluten Free and Eggless Neapolitan Trifle

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So you may remember my old version of the neapolitan trifle (found here), but this recipe is the new and improved rendition of this spectacular trifle. Like your better looking, more talented cousin for instance. This new version is more sophisticated, and encapsulates the essence of the neapolitan flavor combination much better. Though the neapolitan flavor used to be reserved for ice creams, it now refers to any dessert containing the classic combination of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. And this trifle takes this iconic  combination to the next level by incorporating these three flavors in many different components – vanilla cake and whipped cream, chocolate pudding and chocolate milk, and strawberry mousse and fresh chopped strawberries. And the fusion of these different components, flavors and textures really does bring to the spotlight this wonderful classic neapolitan combo. Serves 6-8.

Vanilla cake recipe adapted from: http://www.joyofbaking.com/VanillaCake.html
Chocolate pudding recipe from: https://www.hersheys.com/recipes/en_US/recipes/2804/quick-creamy-chocolate-pudding.html
Strawberry mousse recipe from: http://www.yummytummyaarthi.com/2014/12/eggless-strawberry-mousse-recipe.html

Ingredients:
For the vanilla cake:
1-1/2 cup gluten free all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
Egg replacer equivalent of 2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk, at room temperature (microwave for 30s if your milk is straight from the fridge)

For the chocolate pudding:
2/3 cup white granulated sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the strawberry mousse:
1-1/2 tablespoons custard powder
3/4 cup milk
5 tablespoons sugar
1 cup whipping cream
250 grams strawberries, roughly chopped
Few drops of pink food colouring (optional).

For assembly:
1/2 cup chocolate milk
1-1/2 cup whipped cream
Chopped strawberries, about 10

Procedure: (I suggest making the cake first, followed by the chocolate pudding and then the strawberry mousse)

For the vanilla cake:
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a square 9″ pan with parchment paper (you could use a round pan also). In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter until its soft and creamy. Add the sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add the egg replacer and the vanilla extract, and beat until well combined.

Add half of the dry flour mixture into the large mixing bowl, and beat until just combined. Add the milk, and mix further. Then, add the remaining flour mixture, and fold by hand using a wooden spoon (to prevent overmixing).

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean with just a few crumbs attached. Let the cake cool before cutting into 1″ cubes.

For the chocolate pudding:
In a large saucepan, whisk the cocoa powder, sugar, cornstarch and salt together. Add 1/2 cup of the milk, and whisk well until a thick, homogenous paste with no lumps forms. Add the rest of the milk and mix well.

Place the saucepan on medium-high heat, and stir well. Heat until the mixture starts boiling, and then lower the heat. Continue stirring, and remove from the heat when the mixture thickens (enough to coat the back of a spoon).

Stir in the butter and vanilla extract. Allow to cool before proceeding to assemble the trifle.

For the strawberry mousse:
In a small/medium saucepan, stir the custard powder and 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar together. Gradually add the milk, stirring well to ensure no lumps form.
Place the saucepan on medium heat, and stir until the mixture starts to thicken (until its thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon). Then, remove from heat, pour into a medium bowl and allow to cool.

In a blender, blend the strawberries and the remaining 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar together until a homogenous puree forms. Pour the puree into the medium bowl containing the custard through a strainer to get rid of the seeds (you could omit this step if you don’t mind having strawberry seeds in your mousse). Mix the custard and the strawberry puree together.

In a chilled mixing bowl, using an electric mixer to whip the cream until soft peaks form. If using, add the pink food colouring and fold into the cream.
Fold the cream into the cooled strawberry mixture, to get the strawberry mousse.

For assembly:
Once all the trifle components have cooled, prepare the trifle. You could use individual glasses (like I did), or a large trifle bowl.

In a cake pan or a wide container, place the cake cubes, and pour the chocolate milk evenly over the cubes. This is to soften and moisten the cake cubes (as gluten free cakes often turn out quite dry). Allow to sit for 5 minutes, to let the cake absorb the milk.

In the bottom of your serving dish(s), place a half of the soaked cake cubes. Then, spoon the strawberry mousse on top of the cake cubes. Top with the chopped strawberries, and a layer of whipped cream.

On top of the whipped cream, place the remaining cake cubes (use a spoon as at this point the cake cubes would be very soft). Top with the chocolate pudding, and then another layer of whipped cream. Top with halved strawberries, or drizzled melted chocolate for the top.

Allow the trifle to sit in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving (to allow all these delicious flavors to mingle beautifully), and then enjoy!

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