Pattern your approach.Gather Journal Marbled Loaf and Halva Trifle
From its Old French origins (the word trufe) to its modern-day usage (see Destiny’s Child “Bills, Bills, Bills”), a trifle has always meant something of little importance. When it comes to the dessert of layered sponge cake and cream of the same name, that definition is not so apropos. Our fantasy version marries three of our favorite sweets— halva, marbled poundcake, and mandarin slices—and arranges them in a variegated, mosaic-like pattern.
Marbled Loaf: Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter an 8½ x 4½-inch loaf pan, line with parchment paper, and butter again. Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Beat together sugar and butter in a medium bowl until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in ¼ cup marmalade and vanilla. Stir in flour in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk.
In a medium bowl, stir cocoa with 3 Tbsp warm water until smooth. Stir in 1 cup of batter and set aside. Spread a thin layer of vanilla batter on bottom of pan. Alternately drop spoonfuls of both batters into pan. Run a butter knife through the batter, zigzagging from one short end to the other to create marbled swirls.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45-50 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then remove from pan and cool on a rack completely.
Trifle: Whip cream until thick and billowy. Gently fold in remaining orange marmalade. Spoon a thick layer of whipped cream into bottom of 1½-quart trifle bowl or other large clear glass bowl. Layer cake, cream, drained mandarin slices, and crumbled halva into bowl. If you like, arrange thin slices or halva, mandarins, and cake decoratively against sides of bowl. Top with a final layer of cream. Chill until ready to serve.