Strawberries and cream trifle, the ultimate comfort dessert

When Adam Cenaiko left his post as executive pastry chef at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier at the beginning of March, he might not have predicted how popular his nascent blog would become. Check out his special take on English trifle.

Pastry chef Adam Cenaiko shares his baking secrets in new 'Adam Bakes' blog

Not to be trifled with: Adam Cenaiko says the greatest trifle is a step-by-step endeavor from scratch, of course. (Submitted)

When Adam Cenaiko left his post as executive pastry chef at the Fairmont Château Laurier earlier this month, he had some free time on his hands. Good thing, too, because right around that time his nascent blog, Adam Bakes, started taking off.

Take one look at his recipes for thrifty almond roca, lemon squares and — hold on to your Bundt pans here — aerated chocolate bars, and it's not hard to see why so many foodies are talking about the blog these days.

Cenaiko is hoping to start his own venture in the near future — possibly a stall at the Ottawa Farmers' Market at Lansdowne Park — but in the meantime he's committed to demystifying baking and pastry techniques for his readers. 

Cenaiko dropped by CBC Ottawa this week with a bowl of his strawberries and cream trifle. Here's the recipe.

Adam Cenaiko reveals secrets of the pastry trade for the home chef on his Adam Bakes blog. (Adam Cenaiko)

Strawberries and cream trifle

White cake ingredients:

  • 298 g white granulated sugar
  • 283 g cake flour
  • 11 g baking powder
  • 7 g salt
  • 135 ml milk
  • 75 g eggs
  • 96 g egg whites
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 170 g soft unsalted butter


  1. Grease cake pans (such as the nine-inch round ones) and line with parchment.
  2. Put butter into mixer with a paddle attachment. Sift dry ingredients together and whisk wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
  3. Add dry ingredients to butter along with half of wet mixture. Mix for three minutes on medium speed. Add the remaining wet mixture in two batches, mixing for three minutes after each and scraping down sides of  bowl.
  4. Portion and bake at 350 degrees until toothpick test is passed, about 45 minutes. Cool cakes slightly before removing pans. Once cooled completely, wrap and keep in fridge.

Vanilla pastry cream ingredients 

(Make on day of assembly, keep warm.)

  • 500 ml 35% whipping cream
  • 500 ml milk
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 226 g white granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 56 g corn starch


  1. Combine cream, milk, vanilla bean (split and scraped) and half of the sugar in a pot and scald. Combine remaining sugar, salt and cornstarch and whisk. Add eggs to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.
  2. Temper in egg mixture with hot milk and put back onto heat. Whisk constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Continue mixing for one minute while bubbling before straining into a bowl.

Whipped cream ingredients

(Make this last, just before assembly.)

  • 1½ cups 35% whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar

Whip together until medium-stiff peaks form.


Cut cake into bite-size cubes
Vanilla pastry cream
Whipped cream
Strawberries (two pints fresh or frozen, cut into pieces)
1 cup homemade or store bought strawberry jam


Layering suggestion: Cake cubes, jam dollops, fresh cut strawberries, pastry cream. Repeat. Top with whipped cream. Chill overnight.