This boozy vegan trifle is so easy to make and a showstopping dessert for friends and family. Vegan sponge soaked in sherry, berries, vegan custard and cream topped with toasted almonds.
🍴 Why you will love this recipe
Be prepared for 'ooohs' and 'aaahs' as you bring your boozy trifle to the table - it makes a showstopping vegan dessert, (but is so very easy to make!).
A trifle is a traditional British dessert served all year round but particularly at Christmas. It is made of layers of fruit, sponge cake, custard and cream, and served chilled.
This vegan version has a simple one-bowl vegan sponge which is layered with jam and soaked in sherry (or fruit juice for a non-alcoholic alternative). This is piled with frozen berries, ready-made vegan custard and whipped vegan cream, topped with toasted flaked almonds.
You can make the sponge layer well ahead of time and freeze it, then prepare most of the trifle a day in advance. The cream layer is best whipped just before serving, so there is minimal preparation when your guests are waiting!
📝 What you need
Vegan Custard I've used a ready-made custard as they are really excellent (especially cold) and a great time-saving hack, but of course you can by all means make your own - hop over to my vegan custard recipe.
Frozen Berries are ideal here so you can make this berry trifle at any time of year. I like this summer fruits mix, but any similar mix of berries will do. Or use fresh berries instead if you prefer, (and you can omit the sprinkle of caster sugar if you do, as fresh berries are a little sweeter already).
Vegan Double Cream You must use a whippable double cream that will form soft peaks - my go-to choice is this Elmlea Plant Double that whips really well, but if you're in a rush you can buy cans of squirty vegan cream in most supermarkets. Another great alternative is to put a tin of coconut milk in the fridge overnight, pour away the clear liquid and whip the solid white section with the icing sugar - really lovely. You might need two tins depending on the size of your trifle dish.
Sherry A good cream sherry is perfect for this trifle. Do check it is vegan as not all are. If in doubt, the excellent app Barnivore is very handy for checking which alcohol is vegan.
A glass trifle dish make this a really showstopping dessert, so that you can see all the individual layers before you tuck in, (though of course it will taste just as good made in any large bowl!).
Mine is this lovely deep 20cm trifle bowl by Ravenhead which is ideal. I often see lovely big glass dishes in charity shops too, so it is worth having a browse or looking on local re-use sites.
👩🏽🍳 How to make your Vegan Trifle
For a full, printable recipe with ingredients and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this page 👇🏼 .
Beat together all sponge ingredients in a food mixer or large bowl. Tip into a square baking tin and bake for 15-20 minutes. Turn out and leave to cool.
When completely cool, cut the sponge in half and spread one half with jam. Slice the sponge into thin slices, and each slice in half again.
Arrange the sponge pieces in the bottom of your trifle dish. Pour over the sherry and leave it to soak in. Tip in the thawed berries with all their juices and spread evenly. Sprinkle the caster sugar over the top.
Spread over the vegan custard (you may not need all of it, depending on how shallow or deep your bowl is). Whip the vegan double cream with the icing sugar and spoon gently in dollops over the custard. Sprinkle over the toasted flaked almonds and serve immediately.
There are lots of ways you can tweak this vegan trifle recipe to make all sorts of flavour variations. How about:
- Black Forest Trifle Make chocolate sponge - just swap 20g of flour with 20g cocoa powder. Sandwich with cherry jam. Use frozen forest fruits or dark sweet cherries. Stir 75g melted dark chocolate into the custard.
- Very Quick Trifle Instead of making your own sponge, use ready-made vegan sponge cakes (like these from Oggs). Your trifle is then a no-cook assembly job, ready in minutes!
- Blackberry & Apple Trifle Sandwich the sponge layers with blackberry jam. Soak sponges in apple juice instead of sherry. Use fresh or frozen blackberries in place of summer fruits.
- Mini Individual Trifles Simply follow the steps but layer individual trifles in large wine glasses or sundae dishes. So pretty!
🔪 Top Tips & FAQs
Start early, if you can! The longer you can leave the sherry to soak into the sponges and the custard layer to chill in the fridge, the better your trifle will be.
Judge the size of each layer by eye You don't have to use all the custard. Aim for roughly equal layers - this will depend on the size and depth of your dish.
No, sorry! The cream and custard layers don't freeze successfully and you will end up with a soggy mess.
However, you can freeze the sponge layers so you can make those well ahead of time, or batch-cook two or three at a time and keep a stock in the freezer for trifle emergencies!
If you want a non-alcoholic trifle you can use fruit juice - orange or apple - instead of the sherry.
🍽 If you liked that...
.... you might also enjoy these vegan recipes from The Veg Space:
For the sponge cake:
- 100 g dairy-free block margarine
- 150 g caster sugar
- 100 g dairy-free yoghurt unsweetened
- 100 ml dairy-free milk unsweetened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 200 g self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
For the trifle:
- strawberry jam
- 250 ml sherry check it is vegan
- 500 g frozen berries I used summer fruits mix
- 2 teaspoon caster sugar
- 1 litre dairy-free ready made custard soya or oat
- 250 ml dairy-free double cream I recommend Elmlea Plant Double for whipping
- 2 teaspoon icing sugar
- flaked almonds
To make the sponge:
- Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Grease a square baking tin roughly 23 x 23cm and line with baking paper.
- Put all the ingredients for the sponge cake into a food mixer or large bowl, and beat well until smooth and fluffy.
- Pour into the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 15-20 minutes. (If you press the top of the cake gently it should spring back. If an indentation remains, cook for a further few minutes).
- Turn out and leave to cool on a cooling rack. At this point, get the frozen berries out of the freezer and leave to thaw.
- Whilst you oven is hot, lay out the toasted almonds on a baking tray and toast for a minute or two until just turning golden - watch them carefully as they can turn from pale to burned in seconds!
To layer the trifle:
- When the sponge is completely cool, slice in half and spread jam over one of the rectangles. Place the other rectangle on top then slice into small pieces and arrange in the bottom of your trifle bowl. (I like to put a neat layer around the edge of the bowl first so you can see the sponge and jam layers - see photos in post above).
- Pour the sherry over the sponge layer and leave it to soak in.
- Tip the berries and their juice over the sponge layer and spread out into an even layer. Sprinkle the caster sugar over the berries.
- Pour the custard over the berries and gently spread out. You may not need all the custard - it depends on how shallow or deep your trifle dish is. Just pour in what feels like a good layer leaving room for the cream. Cover and chill until just before serving.
- When you want to serve your trifle, whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks, then add the icing sugar, (you can add a splash of sherry too, if you like!). Spoon it onto top of the custard - I like to leave it in dollops but you can smooth off if you prefer.
- Sprinkle the toasted almonds over the cream layer and serve.
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