Indulge in the simplicity of our Easy English Trifle—a delightful, sweet treat that’s effortlessly delicious with layers of custard, sponge cake, and fruit A timeless dessert, reimagined for pure delight.

Our Easy English Trifle is a delightful treat that brings together all the good stuff – lightness, sweetness, and a touch of magic. It’s the kind of dessert that turns an ordinary day into a little celebration, and the best part? It’s a breeze to make.

Picture this: layers of dreamy custard, fluffy sponge cake, and bursts of fruity goodness – all mingling together for a taste that’s like a hug for your taste buds. We believe that good food doesn’t have to be complicated, and our Easy English Trifle is living proof. Whether you’re a kitchen pro or just starting out, this dessert is your ticket to a stress-free, delicious experience.

Now, when it comes to showing off this masterpiece, all you need is a clear bowl – let the world see the beauty of those layers! Our Easy English Trifle is here to make your sweet moments a little extra special, one simple spoonful at a time.

This was one of my favorite desserts growing up. My grandma used to make hers with jellies, fruit or jam, and pudding or custard. It was always something I looked forward to on Sunday night dinners.

It is one of those no fuss desserts. There really are no rules to making a trifle. You can put whatever you would like in it, and it is almost guaranteed to be delicious. It is supposed to be messy, but it tastes so great.

Reasons to Love English Trifle

  • Layers of Bliss: English Trifle is a symphony of textures and flavors, with its layers of velvety custard, moist sponge cake, and bursts of fresh fruit. Each spoonful is a delightful journey through a harmonious blend of sweetness and lightness.
  • Versatility Personified: Whether you prefer the traditional recipe or decide to add your unique twist, English Trifle is incredibly versatile. Experiment with different fruit combinations, try various types of sponge cakes, or even introduce a hint of your favorite liqueur for a personalized touch.
  • Effortless Elegance: Despite its luxurious taste, making English Trifle is surprisingly easy. With simple ingredients and straightforward assembly, this dessert effortlessly exudes elegance, making it the perfect choice for both casual gatherings and special occasions.
  • Visual Appeal: A feast for the eyes as much as the palate, English Trifle is a stunning dessert when presented in a clear bowl. The layers showcase a spectrum of colors, creating a visual masterpiece that adds a touch of sophistication to any table.
  • Nostalgic Comfort: English Trifle carries a timeless charm, often associated with fond memories of family gatherings and celebrations. Its comforting and familiar taste can transport you to cherished moments, making it not just a dessert but a nostalgic journey through time.
  • Crowd-Pleaser: Suitable for all ages and tastes, English Trifle is a true crowd-pleaser. Its wide appeal makes it a reliable choice for potlucks, parties, or whenever you want to share a delicious treat that everyone can enjoy.
  • Make-Ahead Marvel: Perfect for busy schedules, English Trifle is a make-ahead marvel. Prepare it in advance, allowing the flavors to meld and intensify, so you can focus on enjoying the moment when the time comes to serve it.

Ingredients for English Trifle

  • Cake: For this recipe, you will want to use a cake like pound cake or lady fingers. If you have left-over cake, you can use that as well. You want a cake that will be able to absorb the liquid, and day-old or pound cake works great for that.
  • Cream cheese: You can use low-fat here or regular cream cheese.
  • Heavy cream: creamy goodness for the topping of the trifle.
  • Sugar: The sugar adds a touch of sweetness.
  • Vanilla Pudding: Boxed pudding mix works great for this, or make pudding or custard from scratch using pure vanilla.
  • Milk: You will need this to make either your boxed pudding mix or scratch-made pudding.
  • Strawberries: For this recipe, I’m using strawberries, but you can use any fruit you want to use or have on hand.

How to make Trifle

Custard Layer:

Heat the milk over low-medium heat, stirring frequently, until it just begins to simmer and steam rises from the surface.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch until light and smooth.

Take out a 1-1/2 cups of the hot milk mixture and slowly mix it into the egg yolk mixture you want to slowly add it into this mixture to temper it so that you don’t end up with scrambled eggs. Just slowly add it into it and once it’s combined you can add it to the rest of the hot milk mixture.

Heat over medium, whisking constantly, until the mixture just comes to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, keep whisking, ensuring that the milk mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pan, until thickened, about 1–2 minutes.

Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in butter. The custard will be thick and smooth. Pour into a shallow bowl and cover the top with plastic wrap so that the plastic is touching the surface of the custard. This will prevent a skin from forming on top. Cool in the refrigerator until chilled.

Cake Layer Cut the cake halves into small squares (about 1-2-inches) and spread jam over the squares.

The fruit In a medium bowl, combine the strawberries, raspberries, and sugar. Stir to coat and allow to macerate. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to assemble the trifle.

Whipped Cream the cream cheese and combine the heavy whipping cream and the sugar or powdered sugar in a larger mixer bowl. Beat on high for 2 minutes, or until stiff peaks form. Keep chilled in the refrigerator until ready to assemble.

Assemble Place 1/3 of the cake cubes in the bottom of the trifle dish, jam side up. Top the cake cubes with 1/3 of the fruit, followed by 1/3 of the custard and finally with 1/3 of the whipped cream. Repeat layers two more times. Decorate the top with fresh fruit. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

trifle intruction steps

Variations

Chocolate Lover’s Trifle:

  • Replace the vanilla pudding with chocolate pudding for a rich and indulgent twist.
  • Use chocolate sponge cake or brownies instead of traditional sponge cake.
  • Garnish with chocolate shavings or drizzle chocolate sauce over the layers.

Tropical Paradise Trifle:

  • Add a tropical flair by using coconut or pineapple-flavored pudding.
  • Include layers of fresh tropical fruits such as mango, pineapple, and kiwi.
  • Consider using coconut or rum-flavored cake and finish with a sprinkle of toasted coconut.

Berry Explosion Trifle:

  • Use a mix of different berries like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries for a burst of color and flavor.
  • Consider using a lemon-flavored pound cake or add a layer of lemon curd for a citrusy kick.

Coffee and Toffee Trifle:

  • Infuse the custard with a hint of coffee flavor by dissolving instant coffee in the milk before mixing with the pudding mix.
  • Use a coffee-flavored sponge cake or ladyfingers.
  • Add toffee bits between the layers for a delightful crunch.

Caramel Apple Trifle:

  • Incorporate caramel-flavored pudding or caramel sauce into the layers.
  • Use spiced apple cake or cinnamon-flavored sponge cake.
  • Add layers of thinly sliced caramelized apples for a fall-inspired twist.

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle:

  • Replace the traditional sponge cake with pieces of classic shortcake.
  • Layer with fresh strawberries and a drizzle of strawberry sauce.
  • Consider adding a dollop of whipped cream with a touch of vanilla for extra indulgence.
trifle chocolate

Tips and Suggestions

  • Fresh Ingredients: Opt for fresh and high-quality ingredients, especially when it comes to the fruits. Fresh berries and ripe fruits will add vibrant flavors to your trifle.
  • Moisture Balance: Ensure a good moisture balance. If you’re using sponge cake, don’t oversaturate it with sherry or juice. A light drizzle or brushing is often sufficient to add flavor without making the trifle too soggy.
  • Uniform Layering: Aim for uniform layers to create an even distribution of flavors. This ensures that every spoonful captures all the delicious components.
  • Whipped Cream Texture: Whip the cream to stiff peaks. This will provide stability to the trifle layers and create a light and airy texture when combined with the other ingredients.
  • Chill Time: Allow the trifle to chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2-4 hours, or even overnight if possible. This helps the flavors meld and the dessert set, resulting in a more cohesive and delightful dish.
  • Customize for Dietary Needs: Adjust the recipe to accommodate dietary preferences or restrictions. Explore gluten-free cake options, lactose-free custard, or alternative sweeteners to make the trifle inclusive for all guests.
  • Experiment with Flavors: Don’t hesitate to experiment with different flavor combinations. Consider using flavored custards, alternative fruits, or even incorporating a layer of jam or curd for added complexity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make the English Trifle in advance?

Absolutely! English Trifle is a great make-ahead dessert. In fact, it often tastes even better when allowed to chill and let the flavors meld. Prepare it a day in advance and refrigerate until ready to serve.

How long can I store leftovers?

Leftover trifle can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. However, keep in mind that the texture may change slightly, and the cake could become softer over time.

Can I freeze English Trifle?

It’s not recommended to freeze a fully assembled trifle as the texture of the custard and whipped cream may be compromised upon thawing. However, you can freeze individual components like the cake or pudding separately and assemble later.

What can I use if I don’t have a trifle dish?

If you don’t have a trifle dish, you can use a clear glass bowl or even individual glasses or jars for a more personalized presentation. The key is to showcase the layers for visual appeal.

How do I prevent a skin from forming on the custard?

To prevent a skin from forming on the custard, place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard before refrigerating. This creates a barrier and helps maintain a smooth texture.

english trifle

How to Make English Trifle

A classic trifle is made with fresh berries, sponge cake, and custard. This is a delicious no-bake dessert and only takes a few minutes to prepare.
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine english
Servings 12 servings
Calories 328 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Trifle dish

Ingredients
  

Custard layer

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 8 egg yolks large to medium eggs
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 tbsp corn starch
  • 1-1/2 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup butter cut into small pieces

Cake layer

  • 8 oz pound cake or 9 x 13 yellow cake
  • 3 tbsp raspberry jelly see note if using jello

Fruit layer

  • 2 cups strawberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Whipping Cream

  • 1-1/2 cups whipping cream or heavy cream
  • 8 oz cream cheese room temperature
  • ¼ cup sugar or icing sugar

Instructions
 

  • Heat the milk over low-medium heat, stirring frequently, until it just begins to simmer and steam rises from the surface.
  • Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch until light and smooth.
  • take out a 1-1/2 cups of the hot milk mixture and slowly mix it into the egg yolk mixture you want to slowly add it into this mixture to temper it so that you don't end up with scrambled eggs. Just slowly add it into it and once its combined you can add it too the rest of the hot milk mixture.
  • Heat over medium, whisking constantly, until the mixture just comes to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, keep whisking, ensuring that the milk mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pan, until thickened, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in butter. Custard will be thick and smooth. Pour into a shallow bowl and cover the top with plastic wrap so that the plastic is touching the surface of the custard. This will prevent a skin from forming on top. Cool in the refrigerator until chilled.

Cake Layer

  • Cut the cake halves into small squares (about 1-2-inches) and spread jam over the squares.

The fruit

  • In a medium bowl, combine the strawberries, raspberries, and sugar. Stir to coat and allow to macerate. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to assemble the trifle.

Whipped Cream

  • Cream the cream cheese and Combine the heavy whipping cream and the sugar or powdered sugar in a larger mixer bowl. Beat on high for 2 minutes, or until stiff peaks form. Keep chilled in the refrigerator until ready to assemble.

Assemble

  • Place 1/3 of the cake cubes in the bottom of the trifle dish, jam side up. Top the cake cubes with 1/3 of the fruit, followed by 1/3 of the custard and finally with 1/3 of the whipped cream. Repeat layers two more times. Decorate the top with fresh fruit. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

Notes

* Custard pudding follow directions above or follow pudding box directions
 
Keyword Custard, dessert, Easy Recipe, English Trifle
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