Orange-Buttermilk Trifle

Active Time: 1 Hour Total Time1 Hour 40 MinsChill Time8 Hours Cool Time1 Hour
Yield: Serves 12 to 16

A layered trifle dessert may look difficult and involved, but this one is actually quite easy, especially when you consider the make-ahead components. The custard needs to chill at least hours, so make that up to a day in advance; stir in the buttermilk right before using. You can also make the White Chocolate-Buttermilk Cake a day or two in advance and keep covered until you are ready to assemble the trifle. Use a clear glass trifle dish to show off all the delicious components of this recipe. The striking color combination of navel oranges and the bright red blood oranges give this dish extra visual appeal.



  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4large eggs
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole buttermilk

White Chocolate-Buttermilk Cake

  • 2 cups bleached cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 ounces white chocolate
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 4large eggs, separated
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole buttermilk

Additional Ingredients

  • 2 cups orange marmalade
  • 4blood oranges, zested, then peeled and cut into wedges, divided
  • 4navel oranges, peeled and cut into wedges
  • Whipped cream for topping

How to Make It

Step 1

Prepare the custard: Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt, and eggs in a medium bowl until smooth, and set aside. Bring milk to a low boil in a medium-size heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium; remove from heat.

Step 2

Temper eggs by slowly whisking one-third of the hot milk into sugar mixture until combined. Slowly add tempered egg mixture back to saucepan with hot milk, and whisk to combine. Cook over medium-low, whisking constantly, until mixture is thickened and just begins to bubble, 12 to 15 minutes.

Step 3

Remove from heat; whisk in butter and vanilla. Transfer to a large bowl; place plastic wrap directly on warm custard to keep a film from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 8 hours.

Step 4

Whisk together chilled custard and buttermilk until smooth. Set aside.

Step 5

Prepare the cake: Preheat oven to 325°F. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Step 6

Place white chocolate in a microwavable bowl, and microwave on 50% power until melted, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds; set aside.

Step 7

Beat together butter and 1 1/2 cups of the sugar in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Add melted white chocolate to butter mixture; beat on medium speed until incorporated.

Step 8

With mixer on low speed, add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating just until incorporated after each addition; add vanilla extract. Add flour mixture to egg yolk mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Step 9

Whisk egg whites in a separate bowl until frothy. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, whisking until meringue is stiff but glossy. Gently fold meringue mixture into batter until incorporated. Transfer cake batter to a heavily greased and floured 13- x 9-inch cake pan. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool cake completely on a wire rack before removing from pan, about 1 hour.

Step 10

Prepare the trifle: Cut White Chocolate-Buttermilk Cake into 1 1/2-inch pieces, and arrange half of the cake pieces in bottom of an 18- to 20-cup serving dish. Spread half of the marmalade over cake pieces. Spoon half of the custard (about 3 cups) over marmalade. Layer sliced oranges in alternating colors tightly across top of custard. Repeat layers twice. Top with whipped cream; sprinkle with blood orange zest.

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