Easy Trifle

This is a really flexible recipe, perfect for using up leftover cake you may have in your kitchen after the Christmas festivities. A traditional British dish, it is often served at dinner parties.


Trifle is the perfect dessert to make if you have leftover cake. The world “trifle” comes from the French word “trufle”, meaning something trite or whimsical. It is an English dessert over 400 years old, traditionally layered with sponge, fruit, jelly, custard and cream. The term “trifle” was first used in Thomas Dawson’s 1585 cookery book The Good Huswifes Jewell in a recipe for a thick cream flavoured with sugar, ginger and rosewater. Hannah Glasse has a recipe for trifle that uses gelatine in her book The Art of Cookery (1747).

I do not particularly like jelly or cold custard so my trifle does not contain either. In fact, it is composed of only three components: cake, fruit and whipped cream. The fruit I have used is stewed plums, however you could use whatever fruit you like. You could stew some apple, use frozen mixed berries or even use tinned fruit!

Trifle looks particularly attractive if it is served in glass bowls or glasses. I have deliberately left the quantity of ingredients vague in my recipe. This is because the purpose of this recipe is to use up leftovers and it depends on how much cake, for example, you have to use up, and indeed on your personal taste. Each individual trifle consists of 1/3 cake, 1/3 fruit and 1/3 whipped cream.

Easy Trifle


  • leftover cake, the more stale the better
  • fruit, such as stewed plum or mixed berries
  • double cream, whipped


  • Break the cake into small pieces and place into glasses
  • Add the fruit on top of the cake. Use any juice from the fruit, letting it soak into the sponge
  • Finally, add the whipped cream. If using a large serving dish, you could keep repeating the steps, layering the three ingredients, making sure you end with the cream 
  • Storage: Store in the fridge for a day or two
  • Save



    10 thoughts on “Easy Trifle

    1. Firstly, I didn’t realize trifle, as a recipe, was that old.

      Secondly, leftover cake? Pffft! Not likely.

      Thirdly, I agree re: cold custard in trifle. It makes it heavy and a bit glommy. I really like your idea with whipped cream instead.

      I think I’ll have to bake a cake just to try this out! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hadn’t realised it was that old either, it’s interesting isn’t it?
        Haha, it’s true, leftover cake isn’t normally a problem in our household either!
        I’m glad you agree about the custard/cream. I mean, eating cold custard in general just shouldn’t be allowed.
        Let me know if you give it a go! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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