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Vegan Tiramisu Trifle

by Lauren Toyota from Vegan Comfort Classics

The perfect make-ahead vegan dessert for any celebration, especially Christmas, this rich and luxurious vegan trifle is packed with tiramisu-inspired flavours.

From the book


Using a cake recipe, you can make a tasty layered trifle with any kind of fillings you like, but I thought transforming tiramisu into a giant messy pot of chocolate mousse, whipped cream and coffee liqueur–soaked vanilla cake seemed right up your (well, my) alley. If you want to eat trifle right, ask you’re your grandma or auntie for an old-fashioned trifle dish. It’s usually 15 – 17 cm (6 – 7 inches) wide and 18 cm (7 inches) deep. Then dig into these luscious layers with a big ol’ spoon and throw your manners right out the window!

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For the vanilla cake:
225ml (8 fl oz) soya milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
260g (9 oz) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp sea salt
¾ cup granulated sugar
150 g/5½ oz vegetable oil, or 70 g (2¼ oz) coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
Seeds of 1 vanilla pods or ¼ teaspoon vanilla powder
For the chocolate mousse:
240g (8½ oz) soft tofu (from one 350g / 12oz block)
25g (1oz) raw cacao powder
100g (3½ oz) granulated sugar
2 tsp cornflour
¼ tsp sea salt
For the whipped cream:
3 (400ml / 14 fl oz) cans of full-fat coconut milk, chilled overnight
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g (3½ oz) icing sugar
To finish the vanilla sponge:
125ml (4 fl oz) hot water
2 tbsp instant espresso powder
125ml (4 fl oz) cold water
4 tbsp coffee liqueur
40g (1½ oz) raw cacao nibs or finely chopped dark chocolate
2 tsp raw cacao powder

Essential kit

You will need: two 7cm or 8 inch cake tins, a hand-held electric whisk or stand mixer, and an old fashioned trifle dish 15 – 17 cm (6 – 7 inches) wide and 18 cm (7 inches) deep.


Start by making the vanilla sponge.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.

Generously oil or butter two 7cm or 8 inch cake tins and then dust with an even coating of flour to help easily remove cake from the tins.

In a bowl, combine the soya milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, and vanilla powder. Stir to combine well.

Once the soya milk mixture has thickened, combine it with the sugar, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Add the vanilla seeds. Stir to combine well.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold with a spatula, scraping the edges a few times as you go until the batter is just combined. Do not overmix. Small lumps in the batter are fine, but you shouldn’t see pockets of dry ingredients that aren’t incorporated.

Divide the batter between the prepared tins and spread out evenly with a spatula. Slightly shake the tin back and forth to even out the batter. Bake the cakes on the same rack for 14 minutes and check if a cocktail stick inserted in the centre comes out clean at this point. They may be done at 14 minutes or depending on the thickness of the cakes it could take 15 – 18 minutes.

Remove the cake tins on to wire racks and let cool for 10 minutes. To remove the cakes, place the wire rack on top of the cake tin and flip it upside down. Leave the cakes to cool completely before using as part of the trifle. 

Next, to make the chocolate mousse, combine the ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Pour into a saucepan and heat over a medium heat, whisking constantly for about 5 minutes until the mixture is thick like pudding. Place in a bowl and chill for at least 6 hours, or overnight.

To make the whipped cream, scoop the thick cream from the cans of coconut milk into a large glass bowl, making sure not to get any liquid in the mix. Beat with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer for 4 – 5 minutes until fluffy and smooth. Add the vanilla extract and then add the icing sugar a bit at a time while beating. Once all the sugar is added, beat for a further 1 – 2 minutes until fluffy and smooth.

To assemble the cake, trim the edges of the vanilla cake layers so they fit inside the trifle dish. In a wide dish that can fit the diameter of the cake, combine the hot water with the instant espresso. Add the cold water and coffee liqueur. Stir to combine well. Using a fork or cocktail stick, prick holes about 5mm/ ¼ inch deep into both sides of each cake. Soak one cake at a time in the espresso mixture for 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side. Use your hands or a spoon to pour some of the espresso mixture over the edges of the cake.

Place one soaked cake in the trifle dish. Top with half of the chilled chocolate mousse and spread out in an even layer. Sprinkle half of the cacao nibs on the mousse. Top with a layer of whipped cream, spread it out to the edges of the dish. Repeat the layers with the remaining soaked cake, mousse, cacao nibs and whipped cream. Dust the top with cacao powder through a fine-mesh sieve or sifter. Chill for 4 hours.

Before serving, allow the trifle to stand at room temperature for at least 20 minutes to take the chill off.

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From the book: Vegan Comfort Classics

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