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This chocolate toffee fudge trifle is a crowd-pleasing dessert at its finest! Layers of chocolate cake are topped with homemade whipped cream, hot fudge topping, and chocolate toffee pieces, and decorated with easy chocolate curls and festive holiday sprinkles. The whipped cream is stabilized so leftover portions stay well in the fridge for days!
This, my friends, is one of my favorite desserts. Favorite! How could it not be with multiple forms of chocolate, homemade whipped cream, hot fudge, chocolate toffee candies, and fun and festive sprinkles? The only possible downside to it is that it yields a considerable number of servings, with “considerable” being way more than I’d trust myself with in the fridge if it was just us two indulging. Good thing we’re in the holiday season though, because this trifle dessert rocks a dessert table and feeds the crowd no problem!
With a reasonable amount of leftovers at that. 🙂
Now this chocolate toffee fudge trifle isn’t entirely my own brainchild. I was introduced to a version of it years ago, soon after Brian and I started dating, when I was going to his hometown to visit his family for the first time. After our dinner of steamed blue crabs (uhh, yum), this trifle was plunked on the table and I’m pretty sure my face morphed into the heart-eyed emoji. 😍
Later on I learned that their trifle is a special occasion dessert and typically reserved for the holidays, but my visit was deemed a special occasion worthy of a large-quantity, chocolate-filled treat. Clearly these are my kind of people. What a compliment!
Since then, we look forward to making a chocolate toffee fudge trifle every holiday season. I love that it’s a forgiving dessert. The chocolate cake layers don’t need to be perfectly level as you’re cutting them up in the end, and each layer of cake, whipped cream, and hot fudge doesn’t need to be precise either. Your guests will be scooping out portions, so the lines between all of the delicious ingredients get blurred anyway.
To keep things simple, I used a chocolate cake mix from a box. You can use your favorite store-bought or homemade variety, of course! One of my favorite cake hacks is to use brewed and cooled coffee in place of the quantity of water the box mix calls for (a 1:1 ratio). I find it enhances the chocolate flavor even more. More chocolate is always a good thing, right? I made the chocolate cake a day ahead of preparing the rest of the recipe/assembling the trifle with great results. It’s an easy way to space out the work!
One of my favorite parts of this trifle is the hot fudge. It helps bind the layers together so a big ‘ol scoop of trifle doesn’t fall apart and separate once it’s placed onto your plate. Plus there’s that whole “more chocolate is better” thing. 😉 I used Smucker’s Toppings Hot Fudge in this recipe and was so pleased with how it came out! The hot fudge is very thick right out of the jar, so I placed it in the microwave for several short intervals to slightly heat it so it reached a pourable consistency. Besides its rich, deep chocolate flavor, it was the perfect thickness to be spread over each whipped cream layer without running all over the place. It’ll cool as the rest of the trifle is assembled and certainly while it is refrigerated but it still maintains a creamy consistency and doesn’t harden up. Basically it’s perfect for this recipe! Smucker’s Toppings are most certainly not just for ice cream or frozen desserts.
And last but not least we gotta talk about this whipped cream! Because this trifle yields a ton of servings, there are usually a fair amount of leftovers. Maybe not so much if you have a large crowd, but our holiday gatherings usually range in the 8-10 person size. I wanted to use real whipped cream instead of a store-bought whipped topping, but was afraid that whipped cream prepared the usual way would become thin and watery long before the last morsel of this trifle was enjoyed.
So, I did a little research and learned about stabilized whipped cream that incorporates a small amount of gelatin into the mix. Let me just say….WOW. What a difference! The cream whipped up (and tasted) just as it should, reaching stiff peaks as per usual, but it did not separate at all. We kept leftover portions of this trifle in the fridge for four days after it was assembled and the whipped cream looked and tasted just like it did on the first day. Winner!
I picked up Smucker’s Toppings Hot Fudge at Target, which has just about become my second home this fall/winter. I so appreciate the selection in their grocery/dry goods departments, and love how convenient it is that they have a ton of other items I need/want. Such as these black and white buffalo plaid placemats you see in the pictures above. I couldn’t resist! Plus have you seen the rest of their holiday-themed housewares this year? It was another heart-eyed emoji moment for me.
To help you with your holiday shopping, Target is running a Cartwheel Deal now through December 12th – Smucker’s Toppings are 20% off! Click the link above to take advantage of this offer before it expires.
Chocolate Toffee Fudge Trifle
For the Cake:
- 1 15.25-oz. box chocolate cake mix
- 1 cup brewed and cooled coffee (or water)*
- 3 eggs*
- 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil*
For the Whipped Cream:
- 2 tsp unflavored gelatin
- 8 tsp cold water
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
For the Trifle:
- 1 11.75-oz jar Smucker's Toppings Hot Fudge
- 1 1/4 cup chopped chocolate toffee candies
- Chocolate curls for decoration
- Sprinkles for decoration
For the Cake:
- Prepare chocolate cake according to package directions. I used two 9"-round cake pans to bake mine. Once layers are cooled completely, slice each in half horizontally.
For the Whipped Cream:
- Stir together gelatin and water in a small saucepan and wait a few minutes until the mixture thickens. Place saucepan over low heat and stir frequently until the gelatin dissolves and the mixture is smooth.
- Remove saucepan from heat and let the gelatin mixture cool for a few minutes or so, but not long enough that it hardens completely.
- Add heavy whipping cream and confectioners' sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Whip on high speed until it begins to thicken. Reduce speed to medium-low and slowly drizzle in the gelatin mixture. Return speed to high and beat until it reaches stiff peaks and can hold its shape.
- Place one of the four chocolate cake layers onto bottom of trifle dish. You may need to cut it into pieces and reassemble to ensure it covers all of the bottom.
- Spread one-quarter of the whipped cream over top of the cake in an even layer. Sprinkle about one-third of the chopped chocolate toffee pieces over whipped cream.
- Remove cap from the Smucker's Toppings Hot Fudge jar and place in microwave. Heat for about 25-30 seconds and then stir. You want the hot fudge to be a spreadable consistency but not very hot, so you may need to let it sit for a few minutes after heating to cool slightly. Once it's at that point, spread about one-third of the jar on top of the whipped cream and chocolate toffee pieces, A little bit of the fudge may mix in with the whipped cream, but that's okay.
- Repeat the process two more times: cake, whipped cream, chocolate toffee pieces, hot fudge, cake, whipped cream, chocolate toffee pieces, hot fudge. As you assemble, you may need to reheat the hot fudge for a few seconds if it begins to cool and harden too much for your liking.
- Place the remaining cake layer on top and spread the remaining one-quarter of the whipped cream evenly over top.
- Decorate as you wish, but I sprinkled chocolate curls around the outside of the trifle (see note below) and added festive holiday sprinkles to the center. Refrigerate trifle until ready to eat, and then store leftovers in the refrigerator.