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Friday, November 8, 2013

Holiday Cheesecake Trifle with Spice Cake and Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Holiday Cheesecake Trifle with Spice Cake and Cranberry-Orange Sauce
A few years ago my trifle bowl had an unfortunate encounter with my kitchen counter and found itself with a giant crack through the middle. Goodbye future batches of banana pudding, my number one reason for needing a trifle bowl. Yes, I know a trifle bowl isn't necessarily for a trifle, but you can't deny the way the layers look standing tall in the proper container! Thankfully my sister Renatta replaced my trifle bowl last Christmas, although...shame on me...I had yet to break it in (not literally, of course!).
Pin Ittrifle
When Philadelphia Cream Cheese recruited me to create a cheesecake-inspired recipe in accordance with the other recipes and tips they were providing as part of their Cheesecake Cheer program, my mind immediately went to a trifle! I'm no stranger to cheesecake (remember the outrageous Cheesecake Extravaganza a few years ago?!). As I proved then, I kind of like to jazz up traditional forms of cheesecake, and I went for something a bit more decadent this time.
spice cake trifle
Decadent, yes, but not tooth-achingly sweet! In fact, friends commented that its subtle sweetness was what they liked about it! Others though I created the recipe a contest, and immediately declared me the winner. Still others (ahem, my sister and her roommates), threw aside all manners and attacked the plate of trifle I'd brought them with forks, no individual dishes needed!
By using layers of spice cake instead of pumpkin or gingerbread, this dessert works equally well for Thanksgiving OR Christmas. The warm notes of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg are contrasted by the tang of the cranberry orange sauce. The cheesecake mousse between the layers brings it all together with a decadent note. Besides tasting and looking pretty, it meets my other requirements for Holiday desserts for entertaining: it can be made ahead of time and it feeds a crowd.

I knew I couldn't go wrong with Philadelphia Cream Cheese. There are only a few products I'm brand loyal to, but when it comes to cream cheese I feel the need to "Bring Out the Silver". I really like that Philadelphia uses real milk and cream from local farmers, that the manufacturing process takes only six days, that you won't find preservatives in the original cream cheese, and that if you're looking for something special (like Pumpkin Pie cream cheese!), Philadelphia's making it...with real ingredients! In other words, they're all about the freshness of their product, which totally shines when used in recipes, as this trifle proved! It's no surprise it's considered America's favorite cream cheese since 1872!

While there are plenty of things to worry about this Holiday season when it comes to food and entertaining, dessert is no longer one of them! If trifles aren't your thing (or your trifle bowl has also had an unfortunate encounter with the kitchen counter), you can find several other holiday recipes on Philadelphia's cheesecake cheer site!

Holiday Cheesecake Trifle with Spice Cake and Cranberry-Orange Sauce
cake recipe adapted from here, total recipe a Sweets Life creation

for the spice cake-
-1 1/4 cup sifted cake flour
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
-1/4 tsp ginger
-1/8 tsp ground cloves
-1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
-1/4 cup butter, soft
-1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-1 egg
-1/2 tsp vanilla
-5/8 cup buttermilk

for the cheesecake mousse-
-2 cups heavy cream
-16 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
-2/3 cup granulated sugar

for the cranberry-orange sauce
-2 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
-1/3 - 1/2 cup granulated sugar
-1/2 cup orange marmalade
1. To make the cake, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and then add sugars, beating until well combined. Add eggs and vanilla extra, beating for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the dry ingredients in parts, alternating with the buttermilk, mixing just until combined. Pour into a greased and floured 8-inch cake pan and bake at 350F for 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing cake from pan and cooling completely.
2. To make the cranberry sauce, add the cranberries and sugar to a medium-sized saucepan with 1/4 cup water. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 20-30 minutes, until cranberries pop and a thick, chunky sauce forms. Remove from heat and stir in orange marmalade. Set aside.
3. To make the cream cheese mousse, beat cream cheese with sugar until smooth and combined. In a separate bowl, beat whipped cream until soft peaks form. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate if not assembling trifle immediately.
4. To assemble the trifle, cut cake into 1/2-inch cubes. Layer the bottom of the trifle bowl with half of the cake cubes. Top with half of the cheesecake mousse, spreading evenly over the cake cubes. Add half of the cranberry sauce on top of the cheesecake mousse, spreading evenly. Repeat layers with remaining ingredients, finishing with the cranberry sauce. Cover and chill at least 4 hours. 

Note: Philadelphia cheesecake provided me with compensation for the development of this recipe, but all thoughts and ideas are my own.