I have made this recipe twice for holidays to rave reviews. I made it the first time and followed the cake recipe. The cake was disappointing but I still served it and everyone in my family still liked it. The cake recipe made a flat, chewey cake...resembling fluffy leather more than cake. So the next year I replaced that cake with angel food cake and I swapped out plain greek yogurt for honey vanilla greek yogurt in the whipped topping and shaved a little white chocolate over the top. Let me tell ya...OMG! Amazing, spot on! No complaints, I will make this again. One person said she could not get enough of it & it reminded her of the beach. Since I served this at Thanksgiving & Christmas it is great for serving a crowd at holidays. Coconut and Cranberry are an nontraditional combination at holidays, but you will find that everyone is pleasantly surprised and will come back for seconds!
Cranberry Coconut Trifle
From EatingWell: November/December 2011
No other dessert turns heads like a trifle. Festive in every way, this trifle recipe glows from within with scarlet layers of juicy cranberries. The filling is made from an astounding 6 cups of antioxidant-packed cranberries! We made the custard “skinny” with a combination of low-fat milk and light coconut milk. From-scratch brown-butter sponge cake, made with whole-wheat pastry flour, stands in for store-bought ladyfingers.
4 Reviews for Cranberry Coconut Trifle
This recipe sounded really good to me, but made so many servings that I waited an entire year to make it. NOT worth the wait. Given the poor reviews for the cake portion of the recipe, I made a cream cheese pound cake for the cake portion. The cranberry compote, I omitted the honey and found 1 c. of sugar made it sweet enough. The custard was a disaster! I followed that portion of the recipe as written and it was the consistency of a custard you would churn in an ice cream maker (before churning). It never set up after cooling it, so I put it back on the stove and stirring constantly, brought it back up to 180 and then it thickened like a pastry cream should. After tempering the egg mixture, make sure you put the mixture back into the sauce pan and cook it otherwise it won't set up right. What a dud of a recipe!! The taste was good once the pastry cream was fixed and was all said and done, but there are better trifle recipes out there for sure.
I diligently followed the cake recipe and as I was spreading it in the pan I had my doubts. There didn't seem to be enough dough for the half-sheet pan. And indeed when it baked I was right. It made a pancake instead of a cake. I don't think it rose at all and came out very chewy. I don't bake that much, but I've never had this much of a failure. Very disappointed. And now I have to come up with an alternative cake to go in the trifle for a party tomorrow. Guess I might end up with store bought pound cake.
I love the concept for this dessert and the idea works just not with the full recipe provided here. I rated this poor because if you would follow the recipe as it is it would be horrible. If you change out the cake to a different cake recipe it is wonderful. Its a waste and terrile to put a recipe in a magazine and have people waste their time and money for something that end up in the garbage...My cake did! To say I cook alot is an understatement, Its my hobby. I have professional experience and I am certain I was not mistaken in my execution. Pros...The recipe for the cake part is horrible. I can't imagine it was truly tested but it was chewy in texture. On the up side, the custard section worked very well and was delicious! In regards to the cranberry...I think the use of the unsweetned cranberry juice is an unneccessary expense. Its pricey and unless you really like the taste of that to drink (extreme tartness) I would pass because to buy a whole jar and only need a small amount for the recipe is extravagent in my opinion. I substuited 3/4 cup fresh meyer lemon juice since I had it on hand and added a 1/4 cup water to the full cup called for of the cranberry juice and it was great!
As a solution to the poor cake recipe I found an amazing coconut pound cake to stand in and paired with the dessert wine Jana Angel Eis by Scott Harvey. It was a true holiday dessert that everyone was so blown away it was worth the work! I served it in antique wine classes as single servings for a wine pairing event.