Quick Sherry Trifle

Quick Sherry Trifle

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 4 servings

Trifle is one of the quintessential puddings that have graced British tables for centuries. Dating back to the 16th century, this dessert is always made out of a cake, fruit, and custard, with other ingredients and variations added depending on the cook. No matter your choices, this beautifully presented dessert in a glass bowl showing off the layers, is always a delight. Alternatively, use dessert glasses to make individual trifles.

Our version is a quick sherry trifle, and unlike traditional trifle, it's made using ready-made custard or custard made with custard powder. You can, of course, make your own custard but then it wouldn't be too quick to make! Likewise, we use ready sponge cake, so the assemblage process takes less than 10 minutes.

If you use the optional sherry in this recipe, it becomes an adults-only dessert.


  • 10 ounces sponge cake (halved and cut into thick slices)
  • 10 ounces fresh strawberries (or raspberries)
  • Optional: 6 tablespoons sweet sherry
  • 2 cups custard (ready-made or made with a mix of custard powder)
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream (softly whipped)
  • Garnish: 1/4 to 1/2 cup almonds (toasted, flaked)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Quick Sherry Trifle ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Line the bottom of a trifle dish or individual glasses with the cake slices.

    trifle dish with cake slices

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Slice the strawberries, setting aside some for decoration, and layer them evenly over the cake. Press the berries lightly with a fork to release their juices. Sprinkle with the optional sherry.

    layer of strawberries in a trifle

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Spoon over the custard in a thick, even layer.

    layer of cream in a trifle

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Finish with a good thick layer of whipped cream, either spooned over or piped using a piping bag.

    whipped cream layer in a trifle

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Decorate with strawberry slices and a few toasted sliced almonds. Enjoy!

    Quick Sherry Trifle with strawberries and almonds on top

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


  • Omit the alcohol altogether if you're serving the trifle to children.
  • Although you can eat the trifle right away, the more time you allow to chill and set the better it will be.

Recipe Variations

Make delicious variations on this classic dessert:

  • Chocolate Trifle: Layer the sponge cake, custard, top with chocolate chips followed by whipped cream. Dust with sweet cocoa powder and decorate with walnuts and fresh berries.
  • Biscotti Trifle: Instead of using sponge cake, layer ladyfingers or almond biscotti and cover with custard, berries, whipped cream.
  • Dulce de Leche Trifle: Layer the sponge cake with custard, add 1 cup of dulce de leche, top with crushed vanilla wafers, and finish up with whipped cream. Decorate with piped dulce de leche.
  • Vanilla-Chocolate Trifle: Layer the sponge cake and pour 1 cup of sweetened dark coffee. Add a layer of vanilla custard, cover with more sponge cake, coffee, and add a layer of chocolate custard. Finish with whipped cream and dust with sweet cocoa powder.
  • Tropical Trifle: Mix 1/2 cup of condensed milk with 1/2 cup of mango juice concentrate. Layer the sponge cake and pour the sweet mango mixture on top of the cake. Add custard, chopped pieces of sweet mango, and the whipped cream. Decorate with thinly sliced pieces of canned pineapple.
  • Coffee Trifle: Mix 2 teaspoons of instant coffee with 1 tablespoon of milk. Add the coffee mixture to the custard. Layer the sponge cake and cover with coffee custard, chopped almonds, and whipped cream. Decorate with chocolate-covered coffee beans.
  • Pumpkin trifle: Mix 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree with the custard. Add 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin spice mix. Layer the sponge cake with pumpkin custard and whipped cream. Decorate with pumpkin-flavored cookies.