Trifle Recipe | Trifle Pudding | Fruit Trifle

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Sweet, vibrant, and delicious. This easy and tasty trifle recipe (a.k.a trifle pudding or fruit trifle) is the perfect dessert to brighten up your dinner table. It is made with mixed fruits, an eggless sponge, and whipped cream. Make this mouth-watering fruit trifle recipe in 30 minutes and serve it chilled.

top shot of trifle with top cream layer garnished with wheel like design with pomegranate seeds.

About This Trifle Recipe

Trifle pudding is a stunning dessert choice as it is bright, colorful, and delicious. It is also very easy to make and is perfect if you have leftover sponge cake. Plus you only need 5 ingredients to make it!

This fun layered dessert is English and it is traditionally made with fruit, alcohol-soaked sponge cake, and custard. The great thing about trifle pudding it can be made in so many different ways to suit your taste. My recipe is alcohol-free and includes custard, whipped cream, and fruits such as pomegranates, bananas, apples, and fresh figs.

Trifle was the first dessert I learned how to make in my cooking school. Before then, I never knew that this pudding existed. The flavors and textures were superb so it soon became a favorite.

The first time I made a trifle for my parents at home, I bought the sponge cake from a bakery but now I make the Sponge Cake from scratch at home and it tastes so much better. To this day this famous English dessert is still a favorite with my family and it has also been requested by some of our readers.

What are the layers of a trifle?

A trifle is a layered colorful dessert that is pleasing to the eye as well as the palate. It consists of various layers and they are:

  1. Vanilla cake or Sponge Cake cubes
  2. Custard
  3. Jelly
  4. Whipped cream
  5. Mixed fruits

In my recipe, except for the fruit jelly all the layers are there. I did not add jelly as the ready-made jelly packs contain gelatin. And if I have to make any fruit jelly at home with agar agar, it will take a lot of time. So I skipped the jelly.

If you can get the ready vegetarian jelly pack, then you can make the jelly a day before and then use it. You can also set the jelly liquid in the pudding itself. Though this way, making the pudding will take time as you will need to refrigerate it for the jelly to set.

Trifle pudding makes for an excellent dessert at parties. It is quite easy to assemble, chill and then serve. You can also make individual portions of the layers in dessert glasses and bowls. This is a kid-friendly recipe as I have not used sherry or any other alcohol.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to Make Trifle

This fruit trifle recipe has the following four steps:

  • Step 1 – Make custard
  • Step 2 – Whip cream 
  • Step 3 – Prep fruits and cake
  • Step 4 – Assemble trifle

So lets begin. Shall we?

Make Custard

1. Warm 3 tablespoons of milk in a microwave or in a small steel bowl on a stovetop. Then add 3 tablespoons of custard powder to the warm milk and set aside.

warm milk and custard powder

2. Stir the mixture and make sure the custard powder is fully dissolved in the milk. There should not be any lumps. Set the custard powder slurry or milk aside.

custard and milk mixture

3. Add 1.5 cups of whole milk to another pan or saucepan. Then add 4 tablespoons of sugar or as needed.

Tip: Feel free to add more or less sugar to suit your taste.

milk and sugar for trifle

4. Heat and stir the mixture on low heat. Bring to a boil then stir consistently and make sure that the sugar is dissolved.

milk and sugar mixture

5. Bring the flame to low heat. Then add the custard powder paste and stir quickly using a wired whisk. The mixture should be smooth and lump-free.

Continue to stir the mixture until it thickens. The custard sauce should coat the backside of a spoon. Turn off the heat when the custard sauce has thickened well enough.

I prefer to make the custard thick for trifles but if you want a slight medium consistency, you can use that too.

Leave the custard to cool at room temperature and bear in mind that the custard will thicken more as it cools.

custard mixture for trifle

Whip the Cream

6. In another bowl, pour in ½ a cup of chilled or cold cream. I have used here light cream with 25% milk fat. But you can use whipping or heavy cream with 36% to 50% fat. Then add ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract.

chilled cream and vanilla

7. Use an electric beater or stand mixer to whip the cream until you get soft peaks.

whipped cream with soft peaks

8. The image below shows soft peaks. Store the whipped cream in the refrigerator. Then slice and chop the fruits. You can use any seasonal fruits. Just avoid citrus fruits and melons.

whipped cream for trifle

Prep Fruits and Cake

9. Slice 250 grams of Vanilla Cake or sponge cake into cubes. For this recipe, I used homemade and spongy Applesauce Cake.

Then rinse, peel and chop the fruits. I have used a mix of apples, banana, fresh figs and pomegranate. Feel free to include fruits that you prefer.

You can also make a berry trifle with a berry jam or preserve and a layer of one type of berry or a mix of various berries.

cake for trifle recipe

10. Line half a portion of the sponge cubes in a serving bowl.

Tip: You can make individual portions of the trifles in bowls or dessert glasses.

cake for trifle in a bowl

Assemble Trifle

11. Opt to spread 2 to 3 tablespoons of a thick mango pulp or puree on the cake. If you are using mangoes, as a layer of fruit, then there is no need to add the mango pulp.

Alternatively, you can brush some fruit juice or sherry wine on the sponge layer but be careful not to pour too much as you don’t want the sponge to become soggy.

Tip: I prefer to add a layer of fresh mangoes instead when they are in season.

cake with a layer of mango puree

12. Next add a layer of chopped mixed fruits. I decided to add apples, bananas and fresh figs but you can use berries too.

A layer if fruits in trifle

13. Add pomegranate arils.

layer of pomegranate for trifle

14. Next, spread a layer of half of the custard over the pomegranate arils.

a layer of custard in a bowl for trifle recipe

15. Remove the whipped cream from the fridge and spread the third layer with the cream.

layer of whipped cream for trifle recipe

16. You need to repeat all of the layers again. So start by adding the second batch of the eggless sponge cubes.

second layer of sponge cubes for trifle

17. Add mango puree and another layer of mixed fruits.

fruits in a bowl for trifle recipe

18. Add the custard layer again. Then lastly add the remaining whipped cream.

custard layer for trifle recipe

19. Smooth and even out the final layer of cream using a spatula. Then decorate the top as you desire. You can add fruits, berries or even chocolate shavings to decorate or you can leave the whipped cream plain.

trifle in a bowl

20. I decorated with pomegranate arils.

trifle decorated with pomegranate arils

21. Cover the finished trifle with a foil or a lid and leave it to set in the fridge for 4 to 5 hours. Serve trifle pudding cold as a dessert.

trifle pudding assembled in a transparent glass bowl

Expert Tips

  • Cake: You can use lots of different cakes to make trifle recipe. My Applesauce CakeEggless Vanilla Cake and Eggless Chocolate Cake are some great options. You can also use day old cake or buy cake from the supermarket or bakery.
  • Custard sauce: There are various ways to make custard. Use custard powder or cornstarch (known as corn flour in India). If you are adding corn starch then add vanilla extract or essence to flavor the custard and use the same amount of corn starch as that of custard powder mentioned in this recipe. If you decide to use custard powder then there is no need to add vanilla extract or essence.
  • Mixed fruits: Add your favorite fruits to the trifle pudding! Fruits like apples, mangoes, papaya, chikoo (sapota), figs, pomegranate are my go-to options. I sometimes add berries too to give the trifle more flavor and texture. According to Ayurveda you should avoid combining citrus fruits and melons with milk. It is also believed that the combination of bananas and milk cause lethargy, but I still added bananas as they taste delicious in this recipe.
  • Whipped cream: Feel free to use light cream or whipping cream for this trifle. I only have access to light cream here, so I have used that instead. Alternatively, you can use clotted cream (cream floating on top of milk). Whip ½ a cup of cold clotted cream until it becomes smooth and has soft peaks.
  • Additions: You can add dry fruits and nuts to the trifle. Plus any fruit purees, berry coulis and jam of your choice.

FAQs

What are the layers of trifle?

The layers in trifle are cake, custard, jelly, fruit and cream from top to bottom. Most trifles include at least three layers of these ingredients in that order. The sponge cake and fruits can be varied depending on the type of trifle being made.

Can a trifle be made the day before?

Yes, a trifle can be made the day before. After the trifle is assembled in a bowl it should be chilled in the fridge for at least 4 hours so preparing it the day before is fine too.

Can I freeze trifle instead?

No, avoid freezing trifle as it may ruin the texture of the ingredients. It is always best to refrigerate the trifle.

What do I do if my custard is too runny?

If the custard mixture is too runny then add cornstarch, arrowroot or tapioca to thicken it. Avoid using watery custard as it will run through the other layers in the trifle making the layers soggy and watery.

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top shot of trifle with top cream layer garnished with wheel like design with pomegranate seeds.

Trifle Recipe | Trifle Pudding | Fruit Trifle

This easy and delicious homemade trifle recipe made with sponge cake, mixed fruits, custard and whipped cream is the perfect dessert to brighten up your dinner table.
4.85 from 19 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Cuisine British, World
Course Desserts
Diet Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Easy
Servings 7
Units

Ingredients

For Custard Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons custard powder – swap 3 tablespoon cornstarch + ½ teaspoon vanilla extract/essence for custard powder
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk – warm
  • 1.5 cups whole milk – at room temperature or cold
  • 4 tablespoons sugar or add as required

For Whipping Cream

  • ½ cup light cream – 25% to 35% or whipping or heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract – optional

More Trifle Ingredients

  • 250 grams Eggless Sponge Cake or 1 small eggless sponge cake
  • 2 to 2.5 cups chopped mix fruits – apple, banana, figs, pomegranate or your preferred fruits or berries
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons mango pulp or any thick fruit puree or pulp or a fruit or berry jam or preserve

Instructions
 

Making custard sauce

  • Warm 3 tablespoons of the milk in a microwave or in a small steel bowl on the stove top. Then add the custard powder to the warm milk.
  • Stir and dissolve the custard powder very well in the milk. There should be no lumps. Keep this slurry or paste aside.
  • In another pan, take 1.5 cups milk. Then add sugar.
  • Stir and heat this milk and sugar solution on a low to medium flame. Just bring to a gentle heat and stir so that the sugar dissolves.
  • Reduce the heat to its lowest. Then add the custard powder slurry or paste and stir quickly with a wired whisk, so that no lumps are formed.
  • Keep on stirring till the custard thickens and the raw taste of the custard powder is not there. The custard sauce should coat and form a layer on the back of a spoon. Switch off the heat.
  • Allow the custard to cool at room temperature.

Whipping cream

  • In another bowl, take cold or chilled cream. Add vanilla extract.
  • With an electric beater or in a stand mixer, whip the cream till you get soft peaks.
  • Keep this whipped cream in the refrigerator.

Prepping fruits and cake

  • Now slice 250 grams or a small block of plain eggless vanilla cake or eggless sponge cake into even sized cubes.
  • Also rinse, peel and chop fruits that you plan to include in the trifle.
  • You can use any seasonal fruits. But avoid citrus fruits and melons.

Making fruit trifle

  • Line half a portion of the sponge cubes in a serving bowl. You can also make individual portions of the trifles in bowls or dessert glasses.
  • Now spread 2 to 3 tablespoons of thick mango pulp or puree on the cake. This is optional. You can also brush a bit of fruit juice or sherry wine on the sponge layer. But just make sure the sponge does not become soggy.
    If without fruit juice, spread a thin layer of a fruit jam or berry jam on the cake pieces.
  • Note that if you are using mangoes, in the fruit layer, then no need to add the mango pulp.
  • Now layer half of the chopped mixed fruits. Here I used apples, bananas and fresh figs. You can use berries too.
  • Also added some pomegranate arils.
  • Spread half of the prepared custard in a layer.
  • Remove the whipped cream from the fridge and make a layer of the cream.
  • Again repeat all the layers, starting with some more eggless sponge cubes.
  • Then add the mango puree and another layer of mix fruits.
  • Make the custard layer again. Then lastly make whipped cream layer again.
  • Make the top cream layer even with a spatula and start to decorate the top layer. You can use fruits, berries or even chocolate shavings to decorate the top layer.
  • Cover with a foil or lid and keep the trifle pudding in the fridge to set for 4 to 5 hours or overnight.
  • Serve the chilled trifle pudding as a dessert.

Notes

  • Skip the mango pulp or puree completely due to unavailability. Instead you can top the sponge cake cubes with any fruit jam or preserve.
  • Use your preferred choice of fruits, but do not add melons or citrus fruits as they are not compatible with dairy products.
  • Make a berry trifle by just one type of berry or a mix of various fresh berries. Do not forget to layer the cake with a berry jam or preserve if using berries. 
  • The mango pulp or puree has to be thick. Do not add mango juice or puree with a runny consistency as this can make the cake pieces go soggy.
  • This trifle pudding recipe can be easily halved or doubled.

Nutrition Info (Approximate values)

Nutrition Facts
Trifle Recipe | Trifle Pudding | Fruit Trifle
Amount Per Serving
Calories 261 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 68mg23%
Sodium 241mg10%
Potassium 232mg7%
Carbohydrates 48g16%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 32g36%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 547IU11%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin B12 1µg17%
Vitamin C 5mg6%
Vitamin D 1µg7%
Vitamin E 1mg7%
Vitamin K 4µg4%
Calcium 117mg12%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 27µg7%
Iron 1mg6%
Magnesium 18mg5%
Phosphorus 134mg13%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Trifle recipe from the archives first published in April 2015 has been republished and updated on 6 May 2022.

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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