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Cook the cover: Red velvet trifle with cream cheese, icing, meringue and brandy snaps

This showstopper trifle oozes decadence: it’s got snap, sparkle and even some kisses.

Red velvet trifle with cream cheese, icing, meringue and brandy snaps

Serves 8–10

Total time 2 hours 45 minutes


For the red velvet sponge cake

2⅔ cups cake flour

¼ cup cocoa powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

½ tsp salt

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

1⅔ cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs

½ cup canola oil

2 tbsp red food colouring

2 tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp white vinegar

1 ⅓ cup buttermilk

For the meringue kisses

2 egg whites

½ cup castor sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

For the brandy snaps

1¼ cup melted butter

1 cup light brown sugar

1¼ cup maple syrup

2 tbsp brandy

1¼ cup bread flour

½ tsp ground ginger

For the cream cheese icing

2 tubs plain cream cheese

1 cup icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

½ cup cream, whipped

2 tbsp berry jam or preserve


For the red velvet cake

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Line a large, deep rectangular baking dish with baking paper, and grease with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar for about 3–4 minutes until light and fluffy.
  5. Whisk in the eggs, oil, vanilla, vinegar and buttermilk.
  6. Combine the wet and dry ingredients using a wooden spoon until smooth. Be careful not to overmix.
  7. Fold in the food colouring until the mixture turns the desired shade of red.
  8. Pour the batter into the greased baking dish and level using the back of a spoon or spatula. Set aside for 10–15 minutes.
  9. Bake for about 30–35 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  10. Allow the cake to cool completely before cutting it into squares. Set aside.

For the meringue kisses

  1. Preheat the oven to 120°C.
  2. Use a standing mixer to whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form.
  3. Gradually add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Repeat with the remaining sugar until the meringue is glossy and thick.
  4. Fold in the vanilla essence.
  5. Use a pastry brush to paint the inside of a piping bag, fitted with a star nozzle, with the red food colouring.
  6. Fill the bag with the meringue mix.
  7. Pipe meringue kisses onto a greased and lined baking tray making sure to leave space between each meringue.
  8. Bake at 120°C for about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Switch the oven off with the door slightly ajar and allow it to cool completely.

For the cream cheese icing

  1. Whisk together the cream cheese until smooth and lump-free.
  2. Stir through the icing sugar and vanilla essence. Lastly, gently fold in the cream.
  3. Fold the berry jam or preserve into the icing to create a marbled effect.

For the brandy snaps

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Combine the butter, sugar, maple syrup and brandy in a large bowl.
  3. Fold in the flour and ginger and mix until smooth.
  4. Place teaspoonfuls of cookie batter onto a baking tray, making sure to leave enough space between each cookie as they spread quite a bit when baking.
  5. Bake for about 4–5 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Remove from the oven immediately and shape over a greased rolling pin to create different curvy shapes. This must be done while the cookies are still warm.
  7. Repeat the process with the remaining cookie batter.

To assemble

In a large trifle dish, create layers by alternating between red velvet sponge, berries, meringue, icing and brandy snaps.

Top tip

Elevate your trifle by topping it with dollops of meringue. Use a blowtorch to lightly toast the meringue and sprinkle it with gold dust.


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