Trifles are delicious and easy to make. They are gorgeous and the variations are as endless as your imagination! I have always considered trifles to be the “salvation” dessert because they can extend one measly cake to feed a crowd or turn a cake disaster into a triumphant dessert. I never plan to make a trifle, but I always have it in mind as my Plan B when a cake goes in the oven.
To make a trifle you need one cake, preferably a ruined cake, because rescuing a cake disaster and turning it into a trifle adds the sweet taste of victory to your dessert. If you don’t have a cake disaster to work with, ruined muffins, burnt brownies, or even an epic cookie failure will work. Trifles are also perfect for stretching leftover cake into dessert for company. If you are short on time and need a lovely dessert, you can make a trifle with a store bought angel food cake or pound cake.
Trifles require Pudding or Custard. I usually have the ingredients on hand to make pudding or custard. You can rapidly cool the pudding or custard in the freezer, if you need to. Although I prefer homemade puddings, it never hurts to keep a box of instant pudding mix on hand for emergencies.
Trifles need Sauce or Jam. I base my sauce or jam selection on the flavor of the cake and the other ingredients I have available to me.
- Chocolate Fudge Sauce
- Caramel Sauce
- Any Variety of Jam
Optional Trifle Ingredients. Get creative with what you have on hand!
- fresh fruits
- dried fruit
- chocolate chips
And you should top a trifle off with Whipped Cream. I keep shelf stable whipped cream in my cupboard so I can make Vanilla Whipped Cream any time I need to.
You can make one large trifle or you can make individual trifles in dessert cups. If I am serving a large crowd, I make one large trifle. If there are just a few of us having dessert, I make individual trifles and store the leftover ingredients separately so they do not become soggy.
- cake, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 3 cups pudding
- 1 - 1½ cups sauce or jam
- 3 - 6 cups fruit, nuts, chocolate chips
- 2 cups whipped cream
- Cut cake into 1 inch pieces.
- Spread ⅓ third of the cake pieces across the bottom of the trifle bowl.
- Spoon half of the pudding over the cake pieces.
- Sprinkle 1 - 2 cups of optional ingredients over the pudding.
- Drizzle ½ cup sauce/jam over the optional ingredients.
- Repeat steps 2 - 5.
- Spread the remaining cake pieces over the sauce/jam layer.
- Sprinkle 1 - 2 cups optional ingredients over the cake layer.
- Top with the whipped cream.
- Drizzle remaining sauce/jam over the whipped cream.
- Keep chilled until it can be served. Serve it as soon as possible.
Triple Chocolate Raspberry Trifle
Individual Apple Eggnog Trifles
What is your favorite combination of ingredients to use in a trifle?
JS Weyek says
You have inspired me! What do you think about eggnog custard with ginger cookies instead of cake, and maybe strawberry or mixed berry jam?
Alea Milham says
That sounds like a delicious way to use up eggnog!
Carrie @ Season It Already! says
Love this basic recipe to create variations! You can also use yogurt instead of pudding or custard, like in this lemon – berry trifle: http://seasonitalready.com/2013/02/06/dessert-wines/
Alea Milham says
I love the idea of using yogurt! Brilliant!
I love how you turn ‘fails’ around to the tastiest treats!