Quick Sherry Trifle

Quick sherry trifle in a trifle bowl

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
789 Calories
51g Fat
73g Carbs
13g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 789
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 51g 65%
Saturated Fat 31g 154%
Cholesterol 279mg 93%
Sodium 592mg 26%
Total Carbohydrate 73g 27%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 37g
Protein 13g
Vitamin C 14mg 70%
Calcium 328mg 25%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 510mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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 with a cake, fruit, and custard, with other ingredients and variations added depending on the cook. No matter your choices, this dessert, which is beautifully presented in a glass bowl that shows off the layers, is always a delight.

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-made sponge cake, so the assembly 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, cut into thick slices

  • 10 ounces strawberries, or raspberries

  • 6 tablespoons sherry, optional

  • 2 cups custard

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds, for garnish

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 custard over the strawberry layer 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, if you allow it to chill and set a few hours ahead of serving, it will be even more delicious and refreshing.
  • If you don't have a trifle bowl, use dessert glasses to make individual trifles.

Recipe Variations

There are so many variations on trifle. Here are a few:

  • Chocolate Trifle: Layer the sponge cake with custard and then 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, and 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. Pipe dulce de leche to decorate.
  • 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.

How to Store and Freeze Trifle

This dessert is best eaten the day it's prepared, but it can be made the night before and then stored in the refrigerator, covered in plastic wrap, for up to three days. Keep in mind, however, that the longer it sits, the soggier the cake part of the trifle will become.

Trifle doesn't tend to freeze well because it is comprised of several different textures that don't defrost without becoming soggy.