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english sherry trifle served in a trifle dish on a floral linen

English Trifle

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4.8 from 4 reviews

This delicious English trifle is the perfect party dessert. Loved by all this trifle is made up of a layer of cake soaked in Sherry or orange juice, a delicious, juicy berry compote, thick vanilla custard, and fresh whipped cream. Easily made ahead of time this trifle is fantastic! 

  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 1x



Whipped Cream

  • 2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 4 Tablespoons Confectioner's Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons of Dry Milk Powder


  • Pound Cake or Yellow Cake, baked and cooled ahead of time ( I used 6 thinnish slices of pound cake)
  • 1/4 Cup Berry Jam, strawberry, boysenberry or raspberry 
  • Orange Juice, Sherry, Triple Sec, Brandy or Maderia
  • 1 Batch of Berry Compote, cooked and cooled ahead of time **
  • 1 1/2 Cups Diced Strawberries
  • 2 Batches of Homemade Custard or 2 Batches Bird's Custard prepared and cooled ahead of time 
  • Chocolate or Berries for Topping


Whipped Cream

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment add the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and dry milk powder. Whisk on medium to low speed until hard peaks form, a few minutes. Store in the fridge while you prepare the trifle. 


  1. Slice your cake into thin-ish slices and spread the jam on top. Then cut the cake into smallish cubes, bite-size. Layer the cake into the trifle dish in an even layer, I like to add about 1 1/2 layers not a quite full two layers of cake. Then use a pastry brush to add the liquid to the cake or just drizzle with a spoon; the orange juice or sherry. I use a few tablespoons of liquid- you don't want to soak it completely. 
  2. In a large bowl mix your diced strawberries with the berry compote. Then pour the mixture all over the cake making sure it goes into an even layer. 
  3. Next, you'll add the custard, make sure you've whisked it so it's nice and smooth.
  4. If you are going to serve the trifle within a few hours then add the whipped cream now, I add most of it then save the last 1/3 of the whipped cream to pipe on top for a pretty design. If you are not going to serve the trifle until later then take a piece of plastic wrap and press it directly onto the custard to keep it from forming a skin. 
  5. When ready pipe the whipped cream on top and use a zester to grate the chocolate on top and add berries. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days, keep in mind the longer it sits the more the cake will break down and the layers combine,


* This recipe is for a standard trifle dish about 8-9 inches in diameter and 8-9 inches tall. Adjust accordingly for your dish

** If you like a really soaked berry layer then you could use 1.25-1.5X the Berry Compote Recipe

  • Author: Elizabeth Waterson I Confessions of a Baking Queen
  • Prep Time: 30 Minutes
  • Chill Time: 1 Hour
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Assemble
  • Cuisine: English
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