Black forest trifle recipe

Retro desserts are cool, and you can't get much more retro than a good old trifle

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Allergy Information

Wheat-Free no
Gluten-Free no
Nut-Free no
Dairy-Free no
Sugar-Free no
Vegetarian no
Vegan no
  • Yield: serves 8

Traditional trifles have sponge in their jelly bases, I've omitted this to keep the trifle light, however you could add gluten free cake or muffins into the jelly if you really wanted to be authentic. Personally I hate soggy foods, so leaving the sponge or cake out of the jelly works well for me, and it keeps the calories down.


1 pkt [1 pkt] black cherry jelly or jelly crystals (if black cherry is not available then substitute raspberry or blackcurrant)
300ml [300ml] boiling water
250ml [250ml] cold water
20-30 [20-30] fresh cherries, halved & stoned
2 12 tbsp [2 12 tbsp] custard powder
2 tbsp [2 tbsp] cocoa powder
1 12 tbsp [1 12 tbsp] sugar
550ml [550ml] milk (substitute: any non-dairy alternative)
200ml [200ml] whipping cream
chocolate, crushed or grated for decoration
fresh whole cherries with stalks for decoration


  1. Dissolve the jelly into the boiling water and mix until completely dissolved. Then add the cold water and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Pour the still liquid jelly into a large glass bowl and drop the halved cherries into the jelly. Refrigerate until the jelly is set solid.
  3. Make up the custard in your usual way, using the custard powder, sugar, cocoa powder and milk. Leave to cool. If you cover the top of the container with cling film then a skin should not form as easily, or sprinkle a little sugar over the top and do not stir.
  4. When the custard is barely warm, remove any skin that has formed on top then gently pour onto the set jelly. Refrigerate until it is set solid.
  5. Whip the cream until it is soft but able to stand up in peaks. Spread the cream onto the top of the custard and form peaks using the back of a spoon.
  6. Pile the whole cherries with their stalks into the very centre of the trifle, and sprinkle liberally with the chocolate.
With this trifle there is no sponge, so the trifle is a very light dessert after a rich main course. It is also perfect for birthday teas, dessert at a dinner party, or any time.