Pistachio Rose Trifle


Hello dear friends!

It’s been an oh-dear-time-to-clean-out-the-freezer kind of week. Well, that and a take-advantage-of-the-last-of-the-reasonably-priced-raspberries sort of week.

And my copious freezer bounty happened to yield, among other things, leftover rose cake and rose creme diplomat, so pistachio rose trifle it was!

Trifles are a pretty fantastic make-with-whatever-you-have sort of dessert for the avid baker, especially the poor college student baker who loathes to throw anything away.  Incidentally, they also make a pretty awesome way to upcycle leftovers from any other baking projects – just call them the bubble and squeak or fried rice of the baking world. Leftover cake scraps or broken brownie pieces? Throw them in for a base. Anything vaguely pudding-y, mousse-y, or made too much whipped cream cream cheese frosting? There’s your filler. Just top it off with some fresh (or frozen-and-thawed) fruit and whipped cream, and you’ve got yourself a nearly effortless treat on the table in well under 20 minutes.



Either way, even if you happen to be lacking in one or all of the base ingredients, they’re pretty easy to pull together or substitute out. Just bake up a batch of your favorite cake (or use this recipe below!) and whip together some creme diplomat (which does take a while to cool, but is so worth it). After all, it’s equinox, meaning that autumn has come and the days are shortening once again, and we need something to celebrate in light (or is it dark?) of the waning sunshine hours. At least it’s soup season? Hope you enjoy!

Happy Fall Equinox!


Pistachio Rose Trifle

Makes 4 trifles
Cake recipe from my champagne and roses cake
Creme diplomat recipe from my ispahan choux


Rose Cake:
110 g (about 1 cups) all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, preferably room temperature
1/2 tbs vanilla extract
5 tbs sour cream (or full fat Greek yogurt)
1/3 cup milk
1 tbs rose water (sounds like a lot, I know, but it isn’t!)

Rose Creme Diplomat:
1/2 cup whole milk (by the way, whole milk ≈ 1 part heavy cream + 9 parts skim milk)
1 egg yolk
2 tbs sugar
20 g (3 tbs) all purpose flour
1 pinch tsp salt
6 tbs heavy cream
2 tsp rose water

Whipped Cream:
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tbs granulated sugar

To serve:
Pistachios, whole and chopped
Dried rosebuds, shredded (optional)


Rose Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 320 ºF. Butter and lightly flour either one 2″ deep, 6″ cake pans or 2 layers of a layer cake baking set. (I used Wilton’s 6″ Easy Layers set!)
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda, then set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer or with an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
  4. Beat in the eggs, vanilla extract, sour cream, milk, and rose water until fully incorporated.
  5. Dump in the flour mixture all at once and whisk until just combined.
  6. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cake pans and bake for 20-24 minutes (for the baking set) or longer (I haven’t tested for the normal cake pan, but I would check at 32-35 minutes, then keep checking back), or until the top of the cake gently springs back when you depress the center.
  7. Set aside to cool, then cut into cubes!

Rose Creme Diplomat:

  1. Heat milk in a small pot on medium-high heat until the liquid comes to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low.
  2. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, flour, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Pour in about 1/2 of the boiling milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking quickly as you pour.
  4. Pour the egg mixture back into the pot through a sieve, whisking quickly as you pour. Continue whisking until the pastry cream thickens to the consistency of thick pudding, then remove from heat.
    Tip: Always make sure to mix your eggs into the milk by tempering them with hot milk, then pouring through the sieve rather than dumping them all in at once. No matter how many times and how quickly I’ve tried to whisk while pouring in untempered eggs, I always ended up with unpleasantly eggy pastry cream because some of the egg inevitably scrambles as it hits the hot milk. After lots of sadness, disappointment, and wasted pastry cream, I finally started to use this tempering method as a virtually fool-proof strategy for keeping pastry cream (or any other type of custard) scrambled eggs-free!
  5. Pour the mixture into another bowl, cover the surface with saran wrap, and set aside to cool.
    Tip: Make sure the saran wrap touches the surface of the creme patissiere when you cover the bowl to prevent a skin from forming at the top of your pastry cream if the surface dries out.
  6. In the bowl of a stand mixer or with an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until it reaches the firm peaks stage. At this point, when you lift out the whisk, you should see distinct peaks with tips that curl over slightly.
  7. Fold the cream and rose water into the cooled creme patissiere, adding the rose water all at once and the whipped cream in 3 additions. Set aside for decorating!

Whipped Cream:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, whip together the cream and sugar until the mixture holds stiff peaks. At this point, when you lift out the beaters, sharp peaks that do not curl over should form.
  2. Load the whipped cream into a piping bag with a closed star tip (I used the Wilton 2D)


  1. Place a layer of cake cubes in the bottom of your serving glass.
  2. Add on a generous layer of creme diplomat.
  3. Arrange a ring of raspberries around the perimeter of the glass, then add a raspberry in the center. Fill in the gaps with whole pistachios.
  4. Pipe on a swirl of whipped cream, layer on more cake cubes, then top with another swirl of whipped cream.
  5. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios and dried rose petals. Top with a single raspberry. Enjoy!



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