Frozen Fudgy Caramel Extreme Trifle


For the cake:

One 9x13 inch chocolate cake, prepared and cooled

3/4 cup Frangelico liqueur (or Bailey's/Amaretto, whatever you have on-hand)

For the salted caramel pudding:
3 cups whole milk, divided
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup water
5 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons dark rum
1 teaspoon fleur de sel

For the Dark Chocolate Ganache:
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (I used half semi sweet, half dark chocolate)
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon Frangelico liqueur

For the Salted Caramel Sauce:
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 teaspoon fleur de sel

One bag Hershey's HEATH English Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits. Set aside 1/4 cup for garnish. Divide the remaining toffee bits into two equal portions.
After the chocolate cake has cooled to room temperature, take a fork and gently poke holes all over the cake.  Using a pastry brush, cover the entire cake evenly with the 3/4 cup Frangelico. Cover cake with plastic wrap and leave to marinate over-night, or at least 6-8 hours prior to assembling.
To prepare the salted caramel pudding, whisk 1/2 cup milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside.  In a small saucepan, heat the remaining 2 1/2 cups of milk until simmering. Remove from heat and set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk egg yolks on medium speed for about 3 minutes.  To make the caramel, stir the brown sugar and water in medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat, and cook without stirring until an instant read thermometer reads
210 – 220 degrees. Remove from heat.  With stand mixer at low speed, gradually whisk in the hot milk and cornstarch mixture into the eggs.  Slowly add the caramel and whisk to combine.   Return the mixture to the saucepan and whisk constantly over medium heat, until it thickens (coats back of a spoon) and a thermometer registers 175 degrees Fahrenheit, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in the butter, rum, and salt.  Pour through a sieve if necessary.  To avoid a film/skin from forming on top of the pudding, cover the top with a piece of plastic wrap, then again cover bowl with lid or another tight layer of plastic wrap.  Allow pudding to cool slightly, cover and chill for 4 to 5 hours.
To prepare the salted caramel sauce, Add water to a 2-qt saucepan. Gently add the sugar to the center of the pot, give it a swirl to level it out.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Once boiling, uncover the pot and insert a candy thermometer. Continue cooking until the mixture registers 300 F and is just starting to develop some color, about 15 minutes.  Reduce heat under the pot to medium and cook until the syrup is amber and registers 350 F on the thermometer, about another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour the cream into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. If it simmers before the syrup is ready, just take it off the heat and set aside. 
Remove the caramel from the heat and add about 1/4 of the warm cream to the pot. It will bubble furiously so be careful. Once the bubbling subsides, add the remaining cream. When it stops bubbling, whisk gently to incorporate fully.  Add the butter and the salt and whisk to combine.  Set aside and let cool to room temperature.  If you are making the caramel sauce ahead of time, it can be refrigerated for up to one month.

Before getting started, be sure the salted caramel sauce is at room temperature.  Reserve 1/8 cup of the sauce for garnish.  Divide the remaining sauce into two equal portions.

Place a layer of cake in the bottom of your trifle dish. You can use the bottom of a measuring cup to help ensure it's even and smooth. 
Next sprinkle a layer of the HEATH English Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits.
Transfer the room temperature salted caramel sauce to a measuring cup with a spout. Gently pour an even layer of caramel sauce over the toffee bits. Be sure to pour close to the edge of your dish so the caramel sauce layer will be prominent.
Place trifle dish in the fridge for about an hour until the caramel sauce firms. If you try to pour the salted caramel pudding over the salted caramel sauce it will sink and you won't get pretty little layers.

Once the caramel sauce has firmed, take HALF of the salted caramel pudding and spread over the caramel sauce layer. Use the back of a large spoon to ensure it's smooth and even.
Repeat with another layer or cake, Toffee bits, and salted caramel sauce. Place the dish back in the fridge to firm up the second layer of salted caramel sauce. Once the sauce is firm, remove from the fridge and cover with the remaining salted caramel pudding.

Place dish back in the fridge while you prepare the ganache.

For the ganache, place chocolate chips in a heat-safe bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream and butter to a simmering boil. Remove from heat and immediately pour over the chocolate. Let the chocolate and cream mixture sit for about 5 minutes, without stirring.
Stir gently to combine. It will take a few minutes to come together, just keep stirring.  Once smooth, add the Frangelico and stir to combine.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

Remove trifle dish from refrigerator. Transfer room temperature ganche. to a measuring cup with a spout. Pour evenly over the salted caramel pudding. Place back in the fridge until firm, about 1 hour.  Depending on the size of your trifle dish you can pour the entire batch of ganache (I used about 3/4 of the portion). 
Remove trifle dish from refrigerator.  Drizzle the remaining room temperature 1/8 cup caramel sauce over the ganache and HEATH Toffee Bits.
Place in the freezer for 1 hour to firm up and serve.  I kept the remaining trifle in the freezer as well. The layers hold together much better while frozen. To re-serve, remove from the freezer about 30 minutes prior to serving (so it's easier to spoon out).
salted caramel pudding recipe courtesy of Portuguese Girl Cooks
ganache recipe courtesy of Joy of Baking
caramel sauce courtesy of Erin's Food Files