Traditional English trifle made winter style – mulled wine & winter fruit trifle…not to be trifled with ;)

A big glass of creamy, fruity, juicy booziness πŸ™‚

Well we all love a trifle, & it’s up there with the best of british iconic cakes and puds ! For example the classic victoria sandwich, spotted dick, jam roly poly etc. And for most of us it was our introduction to the world of desserts as kids at various parties and during christmas when the christmas pudding was considered a little to heavy for young tums ( though the kids version didn’t include alcohol of course)

These layered desserts have been around for centuries in the uk, there are records showing them as far back as the late 1500’s which involved fruit covered in ginger flavoured cream…it then progressed a few decades later with alcohol soaked bread and custard added.

Proper traditional English trifle should be sponge soaked with alcohol, either sherry or a marsala wine, or even port. The jelly came about when gelatin was added to the fruit juices and set & then custard and cream added on top.

I prefer the traditional way with sponge, fruit with custard on top, finished with cream…a dream in a bowl πŸ™‚

Now trifles appear all over the planet, known by different names… “Tipsy laird” in scotland with whisky or Drambuie. In the US you can find “tipsy cake” even Italians have a version called Β zuppa inglese, meaning ” English soup” …a nod to its origins.

So heres my last recipe of 2011, a lovely trifle made with mulled wine, cranberries, mandarin oranges, sponge fingers, custard & cream. lovely to spice up a winter dinner party…marvelous if you are planning a new years day Lunch or dinner.

I have used all shop bought ingredients, (A) because I LOVE tinned custard..its an ingredient in its own right with a taste of its own ( the same reasons for the tinned mandarins) Β And (B) because its flippin quick innit ! πŸ˜‰

I have topped them with crushed Cadbury’s flake and gold sugar balls, you can use what ever you fancy though πŸ™‚

So have a go, & remember, trifles are not just for christmas !!

At the end of the day though…how ever good my trifles seem, they will never match up to my partner Terry’s aunt Rose’s it seems πŸ˜‰

TIpsy trifles for tipsy friends… marvelous πŸ™‚


4-6 clear dessert bowls or glasses

A pan for mulling the fruit

An excuse for a party to serve them at

INGREDIENTS : Β  Serves 4-6 depending on size of glasses.

1 packet of sponge fingers

1 tin or tub of Mandarin oranges in juice

200g frozen cranberries

(I use frozen cranberries as the freezing breaks down the tough skin)

200ml of red wine or port

1 fresh clementine

200g caster sugar

4 cloves

Great for canape i made them in espresso cups, garnished with physalis & figs

2 star anise

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp of ground mixed spice

1/2 tsp of whole allspice

1.5 tins of custard ( Ambrosia is my fave…but any will do )

200g thick double cream

200g full fat creme fraiche

1 tablespoon icing sugar

orange essence or vanilla essence to add to cream (optional)

1 Cadbury’s flake & some gold sugar balls ( optional )


follow the method gallery below click on any picture to enlarge.

When made chill for a couple of hours before serving.

Aternatives – try with frozen mixed berries instead, you can leave out the mandarins if you want to.

Or use frozen cherries, then fold in warm melted chocolate into the custard, giving you a sort of black forest trifle.

Β© The cake-shaker 2011


5 thoughts on “Traditional English trifle made winter style – mulled wine & winter fruit trifle…not to be trifled with ;)

  1. This looks wonderful; never thought of using cranberries! I lurve trifle. My English mother, while living in the States, used to use pound cake (like madeira) for the sponge. She also had a thing about using sliced bananas. They did go well with the custard!

    • Thank you Catherine, glad you liked the recipes. I love bananas with custard ! Made a trifle once with Bananas & chocolate sponge soaked with rum,covered in custard ( have made it with chocolate custard too)

      • Oh, the chocolate centric trifles sound amazing. If you ever need a trifle taster then I’m your woman!

        Would be good to have some ginger cake or bread as the basis for a trifle as well. I am addicted to American style gingerbread which you don’t often find here. Key ingredient is molasses. It’s sublime with lemon sauce or whipped cream.

      • A gingerbread one sounds fab ! Looks like I need to research the American recipe …sounds delicious ! & if a post comes up for trifle taster you’ll be first to know πŸ˜‰

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