A layered dessert like this strawberry and chocolate brownie trifle is perfect for entertaining or even for a fancy date night. With a fudgy chocolate brownie base, topped with a silky chocolate mousse and macerated strawberries, and finished off with a mascarpone whipped cream this chocolate trifle is nothing short of decadent.
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Trifles have to be one of my favorite desserts! They’re like parfaits but better for the soul. They can be complete masterpieces if each layer is done just right. The combination of strawberries and chocolate is a classic but really shows off in this perfect Strawberry and Chocolate Brownie Trifle.
While I take my liberties from the classic British trifle, this dessert is perfect in its mini version for dinner parties or for a fancy date night. I wanted this trifle to be as gourmet as possible and let me just say that it doesn’t disappoint!
What is a Trifle Anyway
When you see a trifle, you can’t help but be in complete awe of one. They can be very artfully done especially with the beautiful contrasting colors and textures. Originally, trifles came from England, it’s very much a staple over there.
A traditional trifle consists of a
- Sponge cake or ladyfingers (flavored with a liqueur of some sort)
- Whipped cream
The classic trifle is usually left to sit in the fridge for a few hours so that all of the flavors start to marry with one another.
But we all know that I love putting my own twist on things. My version is very much Americanized, but it still has the essence of a trifle. My chocolate brownie trifle contains
- Fudgy Brownies
- Macerated strawberries
- Chocolate mousse
- Mascarpone whipped cream
Any way that you look at it, it’s still a nice homage to the classic British layered dessert
How to Make Mini Strawberry Chocolate Brownie Trifles
Since my version of a chocolate trifle is Americanized and super gourmet, the steps are the same, but each step needs to be given special care so that each component turns out well and plays nice with the others.
From making sure that the brownies were the perfect texture, to handling my mousse with extreme care, this layered desserts takes technical skills but it very much still easy to execute.
Making the Trifle Sponge Layer (The Brownies)
My husband and I once had a conversation about what our ideal brownie is. We both think that fudgey brownies make the best brownies. They’re dense and they have such an intense chocolate flavor.
With classic trifles, you want an airy and light sponge base so that it can soak up the liqueur that it’d soak in. However, I’m not soaking my brownies into anything, with the time that the finished chocolate brownie trifles will be sitting in the fridge, the brownies will start to soften.
If you’ve made any type of brownies before, these are just like your standard run-of-the-mill brownies. But uber delicious!
Chocolate Mousse for Strawberry Chocolate Brownie Trifle
When I first was attempting to make this trifle, I was set on doing a traditional chocolate custard. However, my trusted chocolate custard recipe (which makes up this awesome Chocolate Cream Pie) was not setting no matter what I did to it.
So I took it as a sign from the universe to do something a bit different and unconventional. I decided to make a chocolate mousse for my “custard” layer. A decision that my husband was super supportive of.
Don’t get scared when you hear the words “chocolate mousse.” It sounds super complicated but it’s rather simple once you know how to “fold” in the whipped cream.
The base of the chocolate mousse starts out very much like custard (like ice cream for example). There’s just one more step.
Once the custard base has been made, I added melted chocolate to make sure that there weren’t any non-melted chunks of chocolate. You want the chocolate custard to be smooth and silky.
The tricky part about making chocolate mousse in incorporating the whipped cream into the custard base. You don’t want to over mix the mixture otherwise you smoosh all of the air out of the mousse and it’s dense and gross.
To properly “fold” in the whipped cream, think about working the bowl in quarter sections in a clockwise direction. Simply fold the mix on the bottom of the bowl up and over the top. Repeating this process repeatedly allows the whipped cream to become fully mixed in with the custard.
Macerating Strawberries For Strawberry Chocolate Brownie Trifle
I have fond memories of strawberries from my childhood. I remember my mom filling up our kitchen sink with cold water and dumping clamshells full of strawberries into the water to clean them. She would them hull and slice the strawberries for them to be devoured by her family within a few days.
Deliciously macerated strawberries start off with super clean berries. I do what my mom did and throw all the berries into the kitchen sink full of water. Hulled and then sliced, the strawberries are ready to be tossed with sugar to leach their juices.
Honestly, nothing tastes better to me than some macerated strawberries on some pound cake.
Mascarpone Whipped Cream for Strawberry Chocolate Brownie Trifle
When I was conceptualizing this dessert, I was thinking about what would make this dessert take the extra step into the gourmet realm. Besides the chocolate mousse, that’s pretty gourmet!
Incorporating mascarpone into whipped cream takes whipped cream up a whole new level. There’s a richer and deeper flavor, as well as mouthfeel, to the whipped cream. Since mascarpone is an Italian dessert cheese, it’s perfectly paired with so many foods because it is super mild in taste but still has a great umami effect on your tongue.
I made my whipped cream the same way that you normally would stopping at soft peaks. Then I added the mascarpone to the whipped cream and whisked for a little longer until the right consistency was achieved. It was perfection.
How to Assemble a Strawberry Chocolate Brownie Trifle
Nothing breaks a trifle worse than layers mushing together and not being separate. Working to make the layers clean is crucial for the presentation of this dessert. For these mini chocolate brownie trifles, I used 4 12.25 ounce trifle bowls. (affiliate)
However, if you would like to make a giant trifle for, say, Sunday dinner, a typical trifle bowl would work!
I liked to break up my brownies before placing them in the bottom of the trifle bowl so that there was more surface area that contacted the mousse.
If you want to be uber fancy, you could use a cutter to cut a brownie in the perfect circle to fit into the trifle bowl and that would be perfectly fine.
To add the mousse without making a huge mess, I used a plastic baggy with a hole cut in the bottom. I was able to squeeze the mousse into the bowl without it going everywhere. Not to worry though, the mousse does still maintain its airy texture because of the big hole that I cut at the bottom of the bag.
Just make sure to spread the mousse around evenly with a spoon.
Next came the strawberries and I just used a spoon to get berries and juice into the bowl. Don’t skimp on the juice!
Finally, I spooned a nice glob of the mascarpone whipped cream onto the top and spread around to even it out.
Top the trifle with some brownie bits and slice strawberry and you have a gorgeous dessert that is just begging to be eaten.
How Long Will Trifle Keep
The beauty of this layered dessert is that it just gets better with time. It’s perfect being made a few hours ahead of time and still looks perfect a day later. However, since the berries are macerated and whipped cream does separate after some time, I would say that you would need to eat this chocolate brownie trifle within 3 days or so of being made.
Otherwise, the strawberries are going to start losing their color and the whipped cream will start to get watery. I don’t think that this strawberry chocolate brownie trifle will last three days in your fridge though because it looks too good to not eat!
I hope that you have enjoyed this recipe and that you make it the next time an occasion calls for one! If you especially loved it, be sure to tell me all about it down below with a comment (and a rating!)
A layered dessert like this strawberry and chocolate brownie trifle is perfect for entertaining or even for a fancy date night. With a fudgy chocolate brownie base, topped with a silky chocolate mousse and macerated strawberries, and finished of with a mascarpone whipped cream this chocolate trifle is nothing short of decadent.
- 9 ounces butter room temperature
- 20 ounces sugar
- 8 ounces eggs
- .5 ounce vanilla extract
- 8 ounces chocolate powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces all-purpose flour
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate melted
- 8 ounces heavy cream
- 2 ounces granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 pound strawberries cleaned, hulled, and sliced
- 2 tablespoons table sugar
- 4 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 4 ounces heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixer, beat on medium speed together butter and sugar until white and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Gradually beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping the edge of the bowl after each addition to make sure everything is well mixed. Add the vanilla extract as well.
- In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. Add to the butter and eggs and beat until moist.
- Prepare an 8×8” pan with greasing the sides and lining with the parchment paper. Spread brownie batter in the pan to make sure it’s even. Place pan in the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 50 minutes. Once brownies are done baking, cool on a wire rack.
- In a medium mixing bowl, melt semi-sweet chocolate until smooth.
- In a small sauce pan, bring cream and sugar to a boil.
- In a small mixing bowl, mix eggs and cornstarch together until the yellow becomes light in color. Slowly temper eggs with boiled cream and whisk. Add creamy eggs back to the sauce pan and stir with spatula until the custard becomes thick. Pour into mixing bowl with chocolate and stir until well mixed.
- Using a mixer, beat heavy cream until whipped to soft peaks. Gently fold in whipped cream into the chocolate custard, working in quarters clockwise. Bring the bottom custard up and over the whipped cream. Continue this until whipped cream is completely incorporated.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir strawberries and sugar together and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes for juices to leach.
- In a mixing bowl using a whip attachment whip heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract together until soft peaks form. Add mascarpone cheese and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
- Break up brownie into pieces and place on the bottom of the trifle bowl.
- Place chocolate mousse in a plastic bag and snip a large hole in the bottom of the bag. Pipe mousse on top of the brownies and smooth evenly with the back of a spoon.
- Spoon macerated berries on top of the chocolate mousse in an even layer.
- Top trifle with a heap of mascarpone whipped cream. Garnish with broken brownie pieces and fanned strawberries.