Chocolate Trifle

Chocolate Trifle

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Chill: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 50 mins
Servings: 16 servings

A trifle makes an impressive dessert for a dinner party or potluck. Pretty layers of diced cake are layered with pudding, mousse, fruit, and/or whipped cream in a glass bowl. The flavors and combinations are endless. In fact, a trifle can be a lifesaver should a baking project ever go south. Make some sort of mistake when baking a cake or a batch of brownies? No one has to know. Cut it up into little bits and pretend you were planning on a trifle all along.

This chocolate trifle recipe is perfect for anyone who wants to use a few shortcuts and convenient ingredients when it comes to a big dessert. Simply prepare your favorite cake from a mix and drizzle it with your favorite spirit or liqueur. Cut it into squares and layer with your favorite flavor of pie filling as well as a couple of packages of cook and serve pudding. Top with dollops of whipped cream and garnish with your nuts and voilà! A picture-perfect dessert.


  • 1 (15.25-ounce) box devil's food cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup white rum
  • 2 (3.4-ounce) boxes cook and serve chocolate pudding mix
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 (21-ounce) can cherry pie filling
  • 2 cups whipped cream
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9 x 13-inch pan.

    Ingredients for Chocolate Trifle
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  2. In a large bowl, blend the cake mix, water, oil, and eggs at low speed until moistened. Increase to medium speed and beat for 2 more minutes. 

    Mix the chocolate cake
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  3. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 26 to 31 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

    Bake the chocolate cake
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  4. Cool the cake in the pan for 5 minutes. Use a skewer to poke the cake all over. Drizzle with the rum. Cool completely. 

    Drizzle the cake with rum and let cool
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate pudding. In a large saucepan, stir both packages of the pudding mix into the milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat. The pudding will thicken as it cools.

    Make the pudding
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  6. Cover and refrigerate the cake and the pudding until ready to assemble the trifle, or at least 2 hours. For a creamier pudding, place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding as it chills in the refrigerator. Stir before assembling trifle. 

    Chill the cake and pudding
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  7. Cut the cake into 1-inch cubes. Layer half of the cake in the bottom of a large trifle bowl.

    Cut the chocolate cake into cubes
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  8. Top with half of the cherry pie filling.

    Layer with cherry pie filling
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  9. Top with half of the chocolate pudding.

    Add a layer of chocolate pudding
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  10. Repeat with remaining cake, cherry pie filling, and chocolate pudding.

    Add more layers to the trifle
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  11. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with sliced almonds. 

    Top with whipped cream
    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni
  12. Scoop and enjoy!


  • This recipe calls for rum to be drizzled over the baked cake, but Kahlua, cherry liqueur, or anything else you prefer or have on hand will add flavor and interest to the trifle.
  • If you prefer not to use alcohol, stir 2 teaspoons of rum extract into the chocolate pudding as it cools. This will impart a similar flavor without any alcohol.