I love to mix almonds with tart raspberries and tangy, juicy blueberries in the layers of this trifle. It's a dessert you can make and assemble completely in advance. The almonds in the cake and in each layer really make the flavors of the lemon, the fruit and the toasty richness of the nuts come together. If you want to make it easier, use a cake mix or two store-bought 9-inch cakes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread all of the
almonds (1½ cups) onto a cookie sheet and bake for 4 to 5 minutes or until the
nuts just begin to brown and become aromatic. Remove from oven and let cool.
Line the bottoms of two 9-inch
cake pans with parchment or waxed paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Prepare the cake batter: Combine the flour, baking
powder and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Beat the butter and sugar in the
bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 5 to 8 minutes or
until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping between additions. Stir in
the flour mix, almond extract and ½ cup of the toasted almonds until just
blended. Do not over mix.
the cake: Fill each of
the prepared pans with half of the batter. Place the pans in the center of the
oven. Bake until the center is firm or when the tip of a small knife emerges
clean when it pierces the center of each cake, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from
the oven and cool.
the lemon curd: While
the cake is baking, whisk the sugar, eggs, lemon juice and zest together in a
microwave-safe bowl. Add the butter. Microwave for 4 to 6 minutes, stirring
every minute until the mixture thickens. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and
poke a few holes into the wrap with the tip of a knife to allow steam to
escape. Refrigerate until completely cooled.
Prepare the cakes, fruit and almonds: Slice the rounded tops of
the cakes to flatten them. Carefully slice the cakes in half, horizontally, through
the middle to create 4 layers. Stir the raspberry jam with 1 tablespoon of
water to loosen the texture and toss gently with the raspberries. Whip the
cream to medium peaks.
Assemble the trifle: Place one cake round in the bottom of the trifle bowl, trimming
the edges if necessary to fit. Spread about 1/3 of the lemon curd over the
cake. Cover with about ½ cup of whipped cream and sprinkle with ¼ cup of the
toasted almonds, ¼ of the raspberry mixture and 1 cup of blueberries. Repeat
the same process for two more layers. For the last layer, spread the cake with
the remaining whipped cream, berries and nuts.