Classic trifle

It doesn't need to be Christmas to enjoy this classic dessert.
Classic trifle in a glass trifle bowl
3H 35M

Individual layers of cake, custard and jelly make up this easy trifle recipe. Refrigerate for at least three hours before serving, to allow all the elements to set.

Trifle is a bit of a love-it-or-hate it Christmas dessert, but as far as we’re concerned, it deserves to be the hero of this year’s Christmas dinner. And whether you like it the traditional way as Grandma used to make it, or you fancy making it sparkle just a tiny bit more with the addition of figs, pears and quince, you’ll be sure to find something that satisfies every guest’s taste.

Looking for our Christmas trifle collection or even more trifle recipes?




Make jelly according to directions on packet; pour into shallow container. Refrigerate 20 minutes or until jelly is almost set.


Arrange cake in 3-litre (12-cup) bowl; sprinkle over sherry.


Blend custard powder, sugar and extract with a little of the milk in small saucepan; stir in remaining milk. Stir over heat until mixture boils and thickens. Cover surface of custard with plastic wrap; cool.


Pour jelly over cake; refrigerate 15 minutes. Top with peaches. Stir 1/3 cup of the cream into custard; pour over peaches.


Whip remaining cream; spread half over custard. Spoon remaining whipped cream into piping bag fitted with large fluted tube; pipe over top of trifle. Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.


Serve trifle topped with maraschino cherries, if you like.

For a non-alcoholic version you can use fruit juice in place of the sherry. We recommend peach nectar or orange juice to complement the flavours of the trifle.  

Test Kitchen tip

This recipe was updated in December, 2023.

Related stories