Zuppa Inglese is not a soup at all
Rather, it is an affectionate take on what Italians see as a favorite British dessert, closely related to trifle.
The traditional Zuppa Inglese uses cream and eggs.
As always with desserts known as containing too many eggs and too much cream, I cheat and tinker endlessly, as I did here, using only natural ingredients, and expect the world. And, as you will see when you make it, my Zuppa Inglese succeeds with flying colors, if I say so myself! This is so fabulous, with the great added advantage of being vegan. Just wait till you try it! It doesn’t hurt that my Zuppa Inglese is so easy to make, and no cooking!
It is perfectly OK to use store-bought sponge cake, only please buy it unflavored (no orange or other extract except for vanilla) so it does not compete with the flavors you select. If you would rather have an all-vegan dessert, use good quality commercial vegan sugar cookies or graham crackers instead of the sponge cake, and bingo: an all vegan Zuppa Inglese!
You might want to make the cream with nuts, or coffee, or rum, etc…. But in my version of Zuppa Inglese here, I wanted to star lavender: Cheap, available everywhere and easy to use, and delicious, and a great match for chocolate.
I can’t say it enough: Only very good chocolate please!
Who needs the junky kind? I have a whole blurb on chocolate products which might find very helpful when shopping for chocolate.
- 1/4 cup lavender leaves
- 2 green tea bags, decaf OK
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1/2 cup brandy or rum
- ½ cup agave syrup
- 1 pound silken tofu, thoroughly drained
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 cup dairy-free cream cheese
- 2 cups very good quality semi-sweet chocolate, melted (on very low flame, or 2 minutes in a microwave)
- 1 ½ pounds sponge cake, store bought OK, Gluten-Free OK
- Grated chocolate for garnish
Bring the syrup ingredients to boil in a small sauce pan, then lower the flame and cook 5 minutes, until syrupy. Strain the mixture and set aside.
Process the cream mixture in a food processor until perfectly smooth.
Cut the sponge cake into ½-inch slices. Line the bottom of a trifle bowl (or individual serving cups) with slices of the cake, pressing them tight so as to leave no gaps. Pour a third of the syrup mixture slowly and evenly over the cake (pace yourself: use a measuring cup with a pout). Pour a third of the cream mixture evenly over the cake. Repeat twice: Cake, syrup, cream. Cake, syrup, cream. Garnish the top with grated chocolate. If time allows, refrigerate a few hours to set.
Serve at room temperature.