Make Traditional English Trifle The Proper Way

Traditional English Trifle

Today, we’re going to make a traditional English Trifle the Victorian way. It’s the perfect treat for any meal and you can make this all year round. This recipe will make about 10 servings with very generous portions, enough for any dinner party.


I first saw this amazing dessert at my local bakery and it was in a cup. My curiosity got the better of me and it was absolutely the right decision. I went into research mode when I got home and came up with this recipe and how to make it the traditional way.


This amazing dessert it already so rich and flavorful on its own, but don’t be afraid to add something to it. A drizzle of maple syrup comes to mind, or maybe some chopped almonds or walnuts.


Ingredients for Traditional English Trifle


3 1/2 oz leftover sponge cake

3 1/2 oz ratafia biscuits or macaroons

1/5 cup brandy

½ cup port or sherry

1 teacup of jam

3 1/2 oz crystallized fruit, such as ginger and cherries

2 1/5 cups custard (add 2x sheets of gelatin or 2 tablespoons of cornflour to it so that it will set)

3 1/2 oz ground almonds

1 ¼ pint whipping cream

1 tablespoon caster sugar



slivered blanched almonds

small cubes of crystallized fruit

anything else you like


How to Make Traditional English Trifle


First, cut your sponge cake into slices. If you prefer, you can use a fatless sponge as it is slightly lighter. Layer these into a deep glass dish, and pour over the brandy then spread your jam on top. Chop up your fruit and add them on top evenly. Add your macaroons or ratafia biscuits, and pour your port or sherry over it. Leave to soak for 10-15 minutes.


The custard needs to set, so if it doesn’t have got gelatin in it, reheat and add 2 soaked sheets or in a bit of milk, whisk up the cornflourand add it to the hot custard. Add your ground almonds, allow to cool to room temperature thenevenly spread over your trifle. Into soft peaks, whip the cream for piping and add some sugar. Pipe onto your custard, building up layers of cream. Finally, decorate using almonds, crystallized fruit and/oranything you like.


To see the original recipe that inspired this one, check out the recipe for Traditional English Trifle found at English Heritage.