Trifle – Berry Trifle | GF | DF

December 22, 2020Janine
Berry Trifle | Gluten free and dairy free

Prep time: 6 hours 30 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Serves: 6-8 people

Trifle – Berry Trifle | GF | DF

What a wonderful dessert for celebrations. Without a doubt, it’s a big favourite for Christmas and end of year parties. In England it comes close behind the fruit pudding in popularity, and in Australia, it’s definitely one of two favourite desserts, the first one being the incredible Pavlova. I love that the trifle is glorious in its stature – it’s such a centrepiece for a celebration. You can keep it really simple by using store-bought cake, custard and jello. Or you can take your time and prepare each layer yourself, giving it your own individual flair, It’s super pretty and tastes as amazing as each of those special layers.

I’m not partial to the added alcohol on the sponge layer myself, so tend to omit that. We’ve also kept the recipe dairy-free, so opted for vegan coconut custard and coconut cream. In fact, you can make the whole thing vegan by making an egg-free vanilla cake layer to suit all dietary preferences.

The jelly layer

I don’t mind ready mix jello, but I do have to admit that it has a very artificial taste due to the artificial flavouring. That’s why in this recipe we recommend you make your own using fresh juice. The taste difference is incredible and what it adds to the trifle is well worth the effort.

The history of the Trifle

I loved reading about the history of the Trifle. I knew the recipe was around a while but I had no idea just how far back it went. Vivienne  Mackie’s history of trile is fun to read:

“Research indicates it evolved from a similar dessert known as a “fool” or “foole”, and originally the two names were used interchangeably. A “fool” is an English dessert generally made by mixing pureed fruit, whipped cream, sugar, and possibly a flavoring like rose water. “Foole” was first mentioned as a dessert in 1598 (together with trifle), although the origins of the famous gooseberry fool may date back even earlier. Why the word “fool” is used as the name of this fruit dessert is not clear.

The first trifles were simply a mixture of boiled cream and a few other ingredients. It wasn’t until the mid-18th century that the trifle started to evolve into what we know today. Here is an example of a trifle recipe from 1852 by Frederick Bishop from “The Wife’s Own Book of Cookery” (quoted from Elizabeth David’s “An Omelette and a Glass of Wine”). “Cover the bottom of the dish with Naples biscuits, and macaroons broken in halves, wet with brandy and white wine poured over them, cover them with patches of raspberry jam, fill the dish with a good custard, then whip up a syllabub, drain the froth on a sieve, put it on the custard and strew comfits over all.”

(Naples biscuits was the name given to sponge fingers in England at the time; Syllabub was milk or cream whipped with sugar, spirits, spices, and sometimes egg whites; Comfits were sugar-coated coriander or caraway seeds.)

The history of the trifle is also linked to the history of those special sponge finger biscuits. They are also known around the world as Boudoir biscuits (our favorite), ladyfingers, sponge biscuits, Naples biscuits, and Savoy biscuits.”

Get ready to celebrate!

Print Recipe

Berry Trifle

  • Prep time: 6 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Total time: 7 hours
  • Serves: 6-8 people

An extravaganza of flavours. We start with a fluffy almond sponge, layer it with a homemade cherry jelly and fresh berries, add a layer of coconut custard, another layer of chantilly vegan cream, and a final layer to make it runway worth, fresh berries and cherries.


Vanilla Cake

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup xylitol
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder
  • 2 Tbs avocao oil
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder


  • 1 cup boiled water
  • 2 cups cherry (or pommegranate) juice
  • 1.5 Tbs gelatine powder , (fresh)

Dairy free custard

  • 1 packet dairy free custard powder
  • your choice of vegan milk, (eg. almond, soy, coconut)

Cream topping

  • 300 ml vegan cream, (eg. whipped coconut cream, cashew cream or soy whipped cream)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar


  • 400 g fresh strawberries
  • 250 g fresh raspberries
  • 200 g fresh cherries


Vanilla Cake

  • 1)
    • Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with oil or vegan butter and linen with baking (parchment) paper.
    • In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs with the sugar, oil, and vanilla until you combine the ingredients together.
    • Whisk in almond flour and baking powder and whisk until evenly combined.
    • Pour the vanilla cake batter into the prepared pan.
    • Bake for 25 minutes, in the centre of your oven. Your cake is cooked when a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean or with few to no crumbs on it.
    • Cool 5 minutes in the pan then release the cake on a cooling rack. Cool for 1 or 2 hours before starting to layer the trifle
    • Note that this is a gluten-free cake and so it won’t rise much.

Cherry jelly

  • 1)
    • To use gelatine powder, sprinkle the gelatine powder in 1/4 cup boiled water. Whisk with a fork and stand for 1 minute.
    • In a separate bowl, add the remaining water and juice.
    • Check to see that your gelatine is dissolved. If not, give it a vigorous mix until it is dissolved. Pour into the gelatine mix into the juice through a tea strainer to remove any undissolved lumps.
    • Mix thoroughly.
    • Pour jelly mix into a non-stick or glass bowl
    • Refrigerate to set – 4-5 hours


  • 1)

    Make the custard based on the product instructions to make a total of 750g custard. Put cling film on top and allow to cool in the refrigerator. The cling film will stop a skin from forming on it.

    Alternatively, you can use a store-bought pre-made dairy and gluten-free custard.

Chantilly cream

  • 1)
    • Depending on which cream base you use, you want to whip it until it’s creamy.
    • If using coconut cream, ensure you refrigerate the can overnight, and then when ready to make the cream, only use the solid part at the top, and drain the water out. ((
    • Whip your choice of cream in a mixer with the sugar and vanilla until it’s nice and thick.


  • 1)

    Clean your berries, and remove any greenery from the tops of the strawberries. Set aside for the assembly.

Assemble the trifle

  • 1)

    Watch us assemble the trile in our video 🙂

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