I had a great Christmas, did you? My family has never been huge on gifts. I mean we give them, but we aren’t that family who has truck loads of presents under the tree. I learned that this all changes when the first grandchild is about to enter the world. Holy cow, I have more pink flowery onsies, knit beanies and hand stitched quilts then I know what to do with (thanks to grandma being an INSANE knitter/quilter). Want one? No seriously, I think we have like 4 million of all of the above. Along with all the great baby stuff, Christmas also consisted of some fun family time.

My brother got married the week before Christmas in Hawaii (where his wife is from). I wasn’t able to make it to the wedding for obvious reasons, like being almost 9 months pregnant. So I was excited to see them to fly into town and to meet his new wife. Preparing for Christmas and his arrival meant cleaning, cooking, baking, and resting. Christmas was at my house with 12 of us. I live in an apartment so there isn’t TONS of room. The logistics of where to seat everyone was interesting. And the logistics of how to maneuver myself around the people, Christmas tree, and dining chairs without constantly bumping my belly into things was also interesting. In the end, we got it all worked out and it was perfect!

I prepped for days trying to budget my energy accordingly so I wouldn’t overwork myself. We had spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, also a bunch of other random things that my family brought over to contribute. But dessert was what I was REALLY excited about!!!!!

I decided on a red velvet trifle because the red and white seemed so festive and fun. And I know my family goes ga-ga over red velvet cake too. My dilemma was deciding how far in advance I could make the trifle. If I made it the day before, would it get soggy? That was my main concern. So I decided to make it Christmas morning. I made the cake the day before, but made the ganache and frosting the morning of, and assembled the trifle once the ganache cooled. PERFECTION! For the future, I know I can make this up to 2 days in advance because Monday night we polished off the last of the trifle and it was still DANG good! Oh, and trifles are a total show stopper. When I pulled the trifle out of the fridge my family immediately started talking about a trifle I made YEARS ago for Easter…Apparently I make memorable trifles.

My family was THOROUGHLY impressed with the presentation. I mean who wouldn’t be, look at those bright oozing layers…

Red Velvet Cake
Recipe adapted from Pinch my Salt
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2 oz. red food coloring
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans or three 8-inch round cake pans.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, mix food coloring and cocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps; set aside.

In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the red cocoa paste, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.

In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. Yes, it will fizz! Add it to the cake batter and stir well to combine. Divide batter evenly between the cake pans and place them in a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Finish cooling on a wire rack. All the cakes to cool completely before assembling the trifle.

Chocolate Ganache
1/2 cup half and half
1 cups dark chocolate, chopped

Warm the half and half in a saucepan over medium heat. Allow it to almost boil, but don’t let it boil. As soon as is it really hot, remove it form the heat and stir in the chocolate. Stir until melted and allow it to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Once it has cooled (at room temperature), it is ready to be used in the trifle.

Mascarpone Whipped Frosting
Recipe inspired from Recipe Girl. Who wouldn’t be inspired by her amazing trifle pictures, gorgeous!

8 ounce mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
*If you don’t have mascarpone, sub all cream cheese, so a total of 12 ounces.

In a large bowl with a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat cream cheese, mascarpone and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium and slowly pour in whipping cream. Continue whipping until mixture resembles soft whipped cream. This took about 10 minutes.

Trifle Assembly
Arrange a single layer of red velvet cake chunks on the bottom of the trifle dish. Spoon about 1/3 of the ganache on top of the cake cubes, then spoon about 1/3 of the mascarpone frosting onto the ganache. Sprinkle the frosting with mini chocolate chips. Repeat layers until you run out of room in your dish (which took 3 layers for me).

I garnished with some crumbled red velvet cake and a little sprinkling of mini chocolate chips. It was super pretty and even more tasty!