Traditional English Trifle

"This is the absolutely traditional version of the delicious and easy-to-make dessert which graces the Sunday lunch-table of many a British family across the country. You could call it an "adult" trifle, as it is made without jello, but with lots of sherry, which makes it totally irresistable and more-ish - a can't go wrong recipe. For people outside the UK, the trifle sponges can probably be bought from a specialist store selling British food, but the custard powder is available in regular supermarkets."
photo by forsaleinwaltham photo by forsaleinwaltham
photo by forsaleinwaltham
photo by forsaleinwaltham photo by forsaleinwaltham
Ready In:


  • 1 packet single trifle sponge cakes (or a ready-made pound cake or similar)
  • 1 pint english custard, made from bird custard powder
  • 12 pint whipping cream (heavy)
  • 1 (400 g) package frozen raspberries (better than fresh)
  • 100 g jars strawberry jam
  • 1 (400 g) can peach slices or 2 very ripe fresh peaches, skinned and sliced
  • 14 - 12 pint cooking sherry
  • 50 g sliced almonds, toasted


  • Slice the cake into slices measuring about 3 x 2 x 1/2 inches, or whatever is convenient, and spread each slice with a little strawberry jam.
  • Layer in a glass dish, leaving no significant gaps.
  • Pour sherry over to soak sponge.
  • Spread frozen raspberries over sponge, followed by sliced peaches.
  • Make up custard, cool slightly and pour over all.
  • Allow to cool in fridge.
  • When set, whip cream and layer on top of custard.
  • Chill for at least half an hour.
  • Toast the almonds and scatter over.
  • That's it, you're done, serve and enjoy!

Questions & Replies

Got a question? Share it with the community!


  1. Yes, this is the traditional recipe. I prefer to make my own custard or creme anglaise with real vanilla, as Bird's is a bit too sweet for me. You can use any suitable fruit too: tinned mandarin oranges is nice (try swapping the sherry for a mix of the juice and some orange liqueur).
  2. The only thing I do differently is use cream sherry. This is THE sublime English trifle! Rich beyond belief and absolute perfection!


I'm originally English, but now Anglo-Canadian and have recently moved from the UK to the Bahamas where my husband is presently working. I'm not allowed to work here, so my hobbies are taking first place - and with more time to play with, cooking has become a pleasure, not a burden - hoorah! Cooking style-wise I'm a product of Delia Smith and Good Housekeeping, but more recently I have adopted a simpler approach to food, in line with my need to keep fat and calories to a reasonable level. I lost about 40lb on a low-fat, calorie controlled diet two years ago and have managed to keep the weight off since then - for the first time in my life I feel I am in control of my weight! One of the advantages - I feel - of living in the Bahamas is that there is a limited range of pre-prepared food on sale in the stores. It's much harder to cheat and buy something quick to eat that tastes good, compared to in the UK where you are totally bombarded in all the foodstores with delicious ready-made meals at LOW prices - but HIGH fat and calorie counts. This is one of the reasons the country is getting obese ... I could go on at length at how the food industry is destroying the health of the nation, but hey, that's my pet peeve. That's what pets are for...
View Full Profile

Find More Recipes