Easy Classic Trifle Recipe!

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Ah, the classic trifle. I feel as though this is somewhat of a British institution!

And it’s definitely a Christmas favourite in this household.

It’s also a really quick recipe that can be changed in so many easy but different ways to suit your personal taste.

Whether you want to add fruit to or on the trifle, alcohol, or go all out on the number of layers; you can make it as sophisticated or as child friendly as you like.

But sometimes we can all be a little unsure of how to start even the simplest of recipes, it can seem so obvious but you still want some reassurance, so I thought that I would show you my easy classic trifle recipe to help you on your way!

We like to keep it simple on this blog, simple but delicious because let’s face it, theres enough going on with cooking the rest of the dinner!



Makes: 1 Trifle (approx 12 portions)
Prep time: 20 mins
Chill time: 4 hours
Total time: 4 hours 20 mins


  • 385g Large Swiss roll
  • 1kg Carton custard
  • 135g Strawberry jelly
  • 400-5500ml Double cream
  • 3-4tbsp Icing sugarOptional
    • Decoration
    • Fruit


  • Scales
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Measuring jug

Trifle Base


For this recipe I am using a 2L Pyrex bowl which is around 21cm in size.

There were only 3 of us to feed and it still created approximately 12 portions but bear your quantities in mind for the size of bowl that you are using!

We would normally be feeding a lot more and using a lovely decorated bowl but sadly, as we all know, this year has been a little different but I also think you can see the layers a little better in this bowl!

  1. Cut your Swiss roll into slices around 1″ thick.I buy a jumbo size Swiss roll at around 385g and tend to use 2/3 for a bowl of this size.Personally, I like the strawberry jam and vanilla sponge kind but you can obviously change this for a chocolate sponge or whatever your preference.My only recommendation would be to buy one without the sugar dusting on the outside  of the sponge as I find this becomes quite grainy in the trifle once set.
  2. When it comes to a simple classic British trifle, imagine your bowl in thirds.On the bottom we will have the sponge and jelly, in the middle will be the custard and on top will be the cream and decoration.With that in mind, we want to lay the Swiss roll slices around the bottom third of the bowl.

    Try not to leave any spaces.

    I create one layer of full slices and then cut some further slices in half to fill any large gaps that there may be.

  3. Next, I use one packet of 135g Hartleys Strawberry Jelly.You can choose a different flavour if you prefer.Cut the jelly block into cubes and add to a bowl.
  4. Add 1/2 pint (285ml) boiling water to the bowl and dissolve the jelly cubes.
  5. Once dissolved, add 1/2 pint (285ml) of cold water to the bowl and stir.
  6. Pour your jelly mix over the layer of Swiss roll and make sure to cover all of the sponge with some of the liquid.Any remainder will pool on top of the Swiss roll creating your jelly layer.
  7. Cover your bowl with some cling film and leave in a cold room or add to the refrigerator to set for 2-4 hours.
  8. Once your jelly has set, you want to add your custard.Of course, you can make your own custard but I buy a carton.It may seem a cop-out but this is an easy recipe, right?!


    So, simply pour a layer of custard over your jelly and smooth out with a spoon.

    If you prefer to use a custard pack mix, just follow the instructions provided!

  9. I like quite a thick layer of custard and remember, we’re working in thirds.You want to cover any remaining sponge not in the jelly and have a significant portion of custard itself.
  10. Then, we want a thick layer of cream!I would recommend using around 400-550ml of double cream depending on your bowl size.For mine, I use closer to 400ml.
  11. Add 3-4 heaped tbsp of icing sugar to your cream and whisk together until they create soft peaks which can hold their own.
  12. When it comes to putting the cream on top of the custard, I would recommend working from the outside in.Using the back of a spoon to manoeuvre the cream around the bowl, keep adding more slowly.If you tip it all into the middle and try to work your way out, you’ll find that it often sinks and mixes with the custard and honestly, it’s too much stress to get right!
  13. If you want to decorate your trifle with sprinkles, fruit or any other kind of decoration, then do so now!
  14. Cover and set back in the refrigerator to chill until serving.Continue to chill between servings.Enjoy!



Keep chilled in the refrigerator and eat within 3-4 days for best taste.

It may not look as appealing after the first few servings but it still tastes absolutely delicious!

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Trifle Recipe
Trifle Recipe
Trifle Recipe

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