I just had an awesome visit with my friends Sarah, Rosa, and Felicia today. Needless to say, I left Baby E at home with daddy. That's the only way I get a chance to actually engage in any degree of conversation these days. Sarah was kind enough to host, so I offered to bring some goodies to share. I wanted to bring something savoury and (of course) something sweet. I knew right away that I wanted to bring a quiche...

gluten-free quiche

gluten-free quiche

But more on that later. First, let's talk about dessert.

It took me a while to decide on what to make for a sweet. I knew I wanted to use the massive zucchini that my mom had re-gifted to me from her friend's garden, and I knew I wanted something chocolate. I also knew that I didn't want to stand in front of a stand mixer for long. So off to the internet I went, in search of some inspiration.

What I found was a great starting point for me at Our Fresh Kitchen. The original was very respectful of any dietary restrictions, but since I didn't have any of those limitations at this party, I decided to play a little.

chocolate zucchini cake trifle

My original plan was to make a couple cake layers and dress them up with a cream cheese frosting and some macerated berries.

Side note: I haven't had much luck with cream cheese frostings in terms of not ending up with a thin, runny glaze instead of a pipe-able, swirl-able icing before this baking adventure... So I experimented with the icing before I made the cake, just in case it didn't work out and I had to shift gears.

Let me tell you. This cream cheese filling/ frosting is a keeper! While it won't necessarily pipe as well as a buttercream (still on a quest for a cream cheese frosting that will do that for me) it fills and will frost like a dream. It is almost mousse-like in texture with that touch of tanginess from the cream cheese that just hits the spot.

Now you're probably wondering, "Hey! This sounds like you've got things under control. What's with the whole 'accidental' bit?" Well, here's the thing. The original recipe for the cake didn't specify how many pans the batter would fill... And I had greased two pans, thinking that's what I would use. I don't know if anyone has ever told you, but trying to squeeze in some solo baking time (even with a wonderfully accommodating husband who takes your monster to the park for the morning) in the end of summer heat, on a time crunch, and carrying an extra sack of potatoes around your middle can make the experience somewhat harried, hairy, and cause some of your baking judgement to waver.

So as I was looking at the bowl of batter, I thought to myself... Well, I don't know if this will fill two cake pans... Let's just do one and split it after it's baked. As I was pouring the batter into the first pan, my silly, indecisive brain said, "You know, maybe we can make both pans work... Okay, let's try that." Never mind that most of the batter was already in the first pan. I can even it out. Eyeball it, I say to myself. So long story short, the cakes came out slightly pretty uneven. Oh, and did I mention that my pregnant mommy brain also forgot to turn the cakes out of the pans in time so I had to pry them out with an offset spatula? Yeah. That's right. Big bummer.

So what do we do with less than even layers that wouldn't look so hot as part of a naked cake? Why, you make trifle! A trifle composed of layers of chocolate zucchini cake cubes, whipped cream cheese filling, chocolate pudding, and toffee bits. Oh yes, my friends. It happened.

Double Chocolate Trifle with Whipped Cream Cheese and Zucchini Cake

For the cream cheese filling

1 package cream cheese, softened
2 cups heavy cream, cold
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla

In a stand mixer, whip the cream cheese with the sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Pour in all of the heavy whipping cream at once ad whip on medium high speed until soft peaks form.

Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl to ensure all the cream cheese has been loosened and incorporated.

Whip for another few minutes. Taste for sweetness and add more sugar if desired.

Set aside in the fridge until ready for assembly or place in airtight containers in the fridge if not using in the same day.

For the cake (recipe adapted from Our Fresh Kitchen)
Makes two thin 8-inch round layers

3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 heaped tsp baking soda
1/2 heaped tsp baking powder
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups finely grated zucchini, drained
3/4 cup milk
1 tbs vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.

Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and cocoa together. Whisk in the salt. Set aside.

Mix the milk and the vanilla together. Set aside.

Whisk the olive oil, eggs, and sugar together. Until well incorporated. Stir in the finely grated zucchini.

Add one third of the flour mixture to the batter and mix gently. Then add half the milk and vanilla mixture.

Follow this with half the remaining flour mixture, mixing to combine. Add the rest of the milk and stir gently. Add the remaining flour and mix until there are no lumps. Try not to over mix.

Divide between the two pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a cake tester comes clean. Let cool on wire racks for 10 minutes before removing from the pans. Allow to cool completely before using.

For the pudding adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

1 and 1/2 cups whole milk
2 handfuls of semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup cocoa powder
A pinch of salt
1/2 cup whole milk
3 tbs cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla

In a small saucepan, combine 1 and 1/2 cups milk, chocolate chips, and salt. Whisk over medium heat until until the chocolate has melted.

Stir the cornstarch into the remaining 1/2 cup milk and add the to saucepan. Whisk the mixture until it thickens and comes to a boil.

Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Pour into a heat proof bowl and press and piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface and allow the pudding to cool. Allow to come to room temperature before using. Or store in the fridge until ready to use.

To assemble the trifle
Chocolate Zucchini Cake Cubes
Whipped Cream Cheese Filling
Chocolate Pudding
1 cup or so of chopped toffee candies (I used See's Toffee-ettes. Almond Roca would also work well.)

Choose a glass bowl that will display the layers of the trifle.

Begin with a layer of cake cubes. Spread a layer of the chocolate pudding on top of the cake, about 3/4 of an inch thick. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of toffee bits on top of the pudding. Follow with a layer of the cream cheese filling. Repeat in this manner until you reach the top of the bowl, ending with a cream cheese layer. Sprinkle the top with toffee bits and some cake crumbs. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

spoonful of whipped cream cheese and chocolate pudding

My apologies. I didn't get a photo of the giant trifle. Next time!