August 27, 2013

Chocolate & Strawberry Trifle

Today, I & my soulmate are entering into the 8th year of marriage bliss!

7 years ago, I entered into wedlock with VJ, the love of my life. I have known VJ for more than 12 years as a colleague, friend, pal & partner! One fine day in the year 2000, I casually struck up an acquaintance with VJ at my workplace through one of our common friends. We took time to know each other before we moved on to the next level. Then, we were friends, good friends and best friends for about 2 years is when we realized that there is something beyond friendship, and decided to move it to next step! And from there on, no looking back!

I didn't think that I would ever have a love marriage! I didn't think falling in love and all those dreamy, mystic, fairytales were for real!! I didn't think that I will be truly-madly-deeply in love with the best friend I 've ever had and eventually, get married & have a beautiful family with him!!! I have walked a full circle with him, from horizon to horizon, holding hands together. The journey has been enjoyable so far and we have been together through thick & thin, highs & lows, sick & health, good & bad as we learn the lessons of "love & life".

"Marriage is an institution" - more the time you spend, you can only get better & worldly!! Just as somebody rightly said, "Though love has been interpreted in many beautiful ways, the reality is that love not only feels great, but also hurts like hell. Love not only is the most beautiful thing in the world but also the ugliest (at times). If you accept it, you have to accept it all, truthfully and honestly". Over the years, we have learnt to accept each other, respect our strengths & weaknesses, fill in each other's gaps and be there for each other.

So here you go VJ, my friend, my love, my sweet-heart, my darling, my soulmate, my better-half, my everything... I am sure this post will be a big surprise for you, but is there a better way to express my love for you and celebrate our 7 years of togetherness, really?!

I love you! I adore you!! I learn from you!!! I'm better because of you!!!! I am more than happy to spend the rest of my life with you!!!!

Basic Info
Complexity - Medium
Prep time - 45 mins to 1 hr
Cook time - 5 mins (for assembling)
Serves - 4 servings

Coming to the recipe, this trifle has four components (slices of freshly baked strawberry-buttermilk cake, whipped cream, chocolate sauce and fresh strawberry pieces), all home-made & delicious, layered one on top of another. Feel free to experiment this recipe with other berries too!

Strawberry-Buttermilk cake
All purpose flour - 1/2 cup
Baking powder - 1/4 tsp
Baking soda - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 1/8 tsp
Butter (Softened) - 1/4 cup 
Sugar - 1/3 cup
Vanilla extract - 1/4 tsp
Buttermilk - 1/4 cup
Strawberry puree - 1.5 tbsp (blend 4 fresh strawberries in a mixer)

- Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Grease a cake pan with butter.
- In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes, then beat in vanilla. Add strawberry puree and beat well.
- At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.
- Spoon batter into a greased cake pan, smoothing top.
- Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. Let it cool for 15 mins and then, invert onto a plate.
- Slice the cake into small rounds (or) cut them into small bite size cubes.

Whipped Cream
Heavy Cream - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1 tbsp

- Place the mixing bowl and metal whisk in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Take sugar & heavy cream into the mixing bowl. Whisk until the cream reaches stiff peaks.
- Refrigerate until use.

Chocolate Sauce
Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Instant Coffee Powder - 1/2 tsp 
Milk - 1/5 cup (little less than 1/4 cup)
Vanilla Extract - 1/8 tsp

- Combine chocolate chips, sugar, and milk in saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until the mixture boils.
- Remove from heat, add vanilla and allow to cool without stirring.
- Refrigerate until use.
- Add more milk, if the choco sauce is too thick.

The Trifle
Strawberry Buttermilk Cake - 2 rounds
Whipped Cream - 4 tbsp
Choco Sauce - 4 tbsp
Fresh strawberries - 4-6 nos (chopped into small cubes)

- Layer fresh cake rounds at the bottom of a trifle cup. 
- Drizzle 2 tbsp of choco sauce over the cake 
- Layer fresh strawberries on top of it. 
- Add 2 tbsp of whipped cream.
- Repeat these 4 steps again and what else, just dig in & enjoy!!