Skip to Content

Just the perfect easy English trifle recipe

Sharing is caring!

Throw together a super easy trifle in no time with our retro trifle recipe. Totally yummy dessert that’s ideal for serving at parties, celebrations or after Sunday lunch. 

Sometimes you just need a bowlful of proper retro style trifle, the kind you used to get in the 80s…

Layers of jelly, thick creamy custard and topped with a mountain of messy whipped cream and chocolate flake. 

English trifle is so making a come back in my house!

It’s perfect for dessert after a big family dinner, great as part of a buffet for parties or even just because you fancy a bowlful.

It reminds me of happy days so that’s enough of a reason to throw it together more often! 

homemade trifle topped with lots of cream and chocolate flakes - stood on dark grey table with glass bowls and dessert spoons.

How do you make trifle?

Well…. there’s all kinds of trifles and everyone has their own little twist on making one.

You get the purists who make everything from scratch, you get booze soaked trifles… and then you get my really easy recipe.

My recipe is made entirely with cheat ingredients so it’s ridiculously easy to make but I promise you it tastes just SO GOOD!

Trifle Ingredients

These ingredients are enough to fill an 8 inch bowl – if your trifle bowl is a different size just adjust your ingredients to suit.

Ingredients for easy trifle - trifle sponges, mandarins, jelly, custard, cream and chocolate flake all on a white table ready to made into trifle
  • 4-5 trifle sponges
  • 300g tin mandarins
  • 1 pack strawberry jelly
  • 500g carton of ready made custard
  • 300ml double cream
  • 2 chocolate flakes

How to make easy trifle

homemade trifle topped with lots of whipped cream and chocolate flakes stood on a dark grey table with glass bowls and dessert spoons

Firstly get yourself a nice decorative bowl – I kind of love the retro cut glass ones.

The one I use was actually my grandmas so it feels good to still be able to use it now all these years later.

If you really want a retro glass trifle bowl the best place to find them is charity shops – go for a rummage and see what you can pick up.

  • Put the sponges into the bottom of the trifle bowl
trifle sponges in a cut glass trifle bowl
  • Tip the juice from the mandarins over the trifle sponges to moisten them.
trifle sponges soaked in juice in a cut glass trifle bowl
  • Add in the mandarins and mingle them up a little with the moistened sponges.
trifle sponges and mandarin segments in a cut glass trifle bowl
  • Mix up the jelly as per the packet instructions
  • Pour the jelly over the top of the trifle sponges and mandarin segments.
  • Cover the bowl with cling film or reusable food wrap and place in the fridge for a few hours until the jelly sets.
trifle sponges, mandarins and strawberry jelly layer in a cut glass trifle bowl
  • Once the jelly has set – remove the trifle from the fridge and pour on the layer of custard. I completely cheat with the custard and use a pack of ready made because I want my dessert to be lazy and low fuss!
  • Once the custard layer is on, you can then add the cream. Firstly whip the cream – I usually do this in the food processor as it takes literally minutes to whip.
  • You can either pipe the whipped cream onto the trifle or just smooth it on with a spatular whichever you prefer.
  • Then simply scatter chocolate flake or hundreds and thousand cake sprinkles over the top of the cream to finish.
English trifle in a cut class bowl with layers of jelly, custard, cream and topped with a chocolate flake. Text overlay "super easy English trifle recipe"

How to make trifle your way

  • Switch the mandarins for fresh strawberries or raspberries 
  • Switch the strawberry jelly for whatever flavour you like
  • Skip the jelly altogether and use chocolate mousse
  • Swap the trifle sponge for Swiss Roll
  • Top with sprinkles or edible glitter instead of chocolate flake

What fruit stops jelly setting?

When switching the fruit in the trifles be careful not to add pineapple, mango, papaya or kiwi.

These fruits contain an enzyme which stops the jelly setting.

Can I make trifle without sponges?

Of course you can – you can switch the sponges for leftover cake or slices of swiss roll.

Can I make trifle without jelly?

Yes – just switch the jelly layer for chocolate or toffee mousse.

How to serve trifle

  • Perfect for serving up after the roast dinner on a Sunday
  • Great for birthday parties or celebration buffets.

Love easy desserts? Try these…

  • Oreo Cheesecakes – delicious Oreo biscuit base topped with creamy cheesecake frosting and chocolate sprinkles.
Yield: Serves 5-6

Easy Trifle Recipe

cut glass trifle bowl filled with english trifle - strawberry jelly with mandarins and trifle sponge, topped with custard and whipped cream

Super easy trifle recipe - classic retro dessert

Prep Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 5 hours 4 seconds
Total Time 5 hours 20 minutes 4 seconds

Ingredients

  • 4-5 trifle sponges 
  • 300g tin of mandarins
  • 1 pack of strawberry jelly 
  • 500g carton of ready made custard 
  • 300ml double cream 
  • 2 chocolate flakes 

Instructions

  1. Put the trifle sponges into the bottom of the bowl.
  2. Pour over some of the mandarin juice to moisten the sponges.
  3. Add the mandarins amongst the trifle sponges.
  4. Make up the jelly as per the packet instructions and pour over the sponges and mandarins.
  5. Leave to set in the fridge for a few hours.
  6. Pour over the layer of custard.
  7. Whip the cream and pipe onto the top of the trifle.
  8. Scatter over the chocolate flake.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 623Total Fat: 45gSaturated Fat: 27gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 235mgSodium: 222mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 3gSugar: 27gProtein: 9g

Nutritional content will vary depending on the exact ingredients you use and how careful you are with measuring - this nutritional information is given as a general guide only and may not be accurate - you should always calculate your own nutritional information especially if you have specific dietary requirements.

Love to Instagram your food?

Follow me on Instagram for more delicious recipe inspiration daily!

Save our easy trifle recipe on Pinterest for later

retro trifle in a cut class bowl with layers of jelly, custard, cream and topped with a chocolate flake. Text overlay "extra tasty retro trifle recipe"

Get all our easy dessert recipes here

If you make it don’t forget to tag us your creations on Twitter @daisiesandpieUK or Instagram @daisiesandpie

Love sweet stuff? – get our most delicious recipes here

Skip to Recipe