So when it was announced that Joe's work would be having their yearly field day event on July 3rd, and that his section was tasked with bringing desserts for the potluck lunch, I knew exactly what I would make.
The trifle consists of one box mix worth of white cake (or enough for (2) 9" cakes), two small boxes of strawberries, two pints of blueberries and one small tub of cool whip. I cut (or tear) the cake into 1"-2" pieces (they definitely don't need to be perfect) and then layer everything: a layer of cake, followed by fruit (either strawberries or blueberries, but not both at the same time) and top with a generous layer of whipped cream (be sure to defrost before you start the assembly). Repeat for as many layers as you have supplies and room in your bowl for. You can prettily arrange the rest of your fruit on the top or just toss it all on - I've done it both ways and it doesn't make too much of a difference, appearance-wise.
Unfortunately, when I suggested to Joe that I would be making trifle for the BBQ, he was a little upset. He had volunteered me to make a cake, so that he could show off my cake skills to his coworkers and try to get me a few commissions (bless his heart).
So here is what I came up with instead:
Basically the same thing, only in cake form. I also used buttercream in lieu of whipped cream, because of the increased stability needed for a naked cake. I added strawberry filling on top of the buttercream before placing the strawberries, hoping to have some of the strawberry filling drool out the side. After squishing out the jam on the first layer, however, I decided it looked messy rather than appetizing and toned down my application of jam on the subsequent layers.
I have admit - beautiful as the cake turned out, I was a little worried about serving a dry cake. Naked cakes are notorious for being dry by the time they're served, so I doused it with an extra large helping of moistening syrup. The syrup is basically just a simple sugar syrup, but can also add flavor to the cake in addition to moisture (I incorporated vanilla into the syrup, but you can also do lemon, coconut, rum...pretty much any flavor you can have an extract of). Needless to say, this cake was definitely not lacking in sweetness.
I also finally found a use for the my mandolin slicer: I was worried that having even slightly different width strawberries would result in a tilted cake, and I think the most essential thing about a naked cake is that it be straight - after all, you don't have any buttercream to hide errors like you do with a normally frosted cake. Besides being in fear of slicing off my fingers the entire time, the mandolin slicer worked perfectly, I think - the cake turned out pretty straight, and look at those beautiful strawberry slices! Win and win.