December 24, 2013


We had visitors a few days ago and I wanted to make a dessert that would look and taste great without having to spend hours in the kitchen.

black forest trifle

I had stumbled upon a recipe for Black Forest Trifle some time ago and decided that now would be a good time to try it.  I adapted it to make my own quick and easy version.  It is loosely based on this one on the Good Food website.

black forest trifle3

Black Forest means chocolate cake, cherries and cream.  I loved black forest gateau when it was the height of sophistication in the 70’s and 80’s.  During the 90’s it was usurped by the tiramisu, which is also one of my favourite desserts, although that too seems to be disappearing from menus and being replaced by things like salted chocolate tart and anything with pistachios.

black forest trifle2

This was a doddle to make and in fact I made it the day before it was needed, which is often the best way with something like a trifle.

Our guests loved it.  When I make it again I will either use a smaller trifle bowl or make twice as much.  But even though the quantity didn’t have the wow factor, the flavour most definitely did.

In order to complete the full set of my favourite baking challenges this month I am entering this into this month’s We Should Cocoa challenge, a monthly event to encourage us to bake with chocolate, if any encouragement is actually necessary.  This month the idea is to use alcohol and it’s organised by Choclette of Chocolate Log Blog.  You can read all about it here.


Some chocolate cake, any kind will do, such as muffins, brownies, loaf cake, the amount needed will depend on the size of your trifle bowl

Cherry jam

a tin of dark cherries in syrup or juice, or a jar of cherries in Kirsch, drained.  Reserve the liquid as you will need some of it.

Kirsch or rum to taste

a 500ml tub of ready-made custard

100g good quality dark chocolate

500ml double cream

1tblsp icing sugar

Chocolate sprinkles to decorate


Slice the cake or break it into chunks, enough to make a good thick layer in the bottom of your trifle bowl.  Spread one side of each chunk with cherry jam and arrange the cake the bottom of the bowl.

Pour some Kirsch or rum over the cake to moisten it.  How much to use depends on how boozy you like your trifle but I find that too much can be unpleasantly overpowering.  You can use the liquid from the jar if your cherries are in Kirsch.  Add syrup or juice from the tin to make sure all the cake is moist, but not too soggy.  Put the drained cherries on top.

To make the chocolate custard, break the chocolate into pieces and put it in a small pan with the custard.  Heat gently, stirring all the time, until the chocolate is completely melted.  Allow to cool slightly then pour on top of the cherries.

Chill the trifle while you whip the cream.  Chilling it overnight at this stage improves the texture I think.  Whip the cream with the icing sugar, splodge on top of the trifle and decorate with chocolate sprinkles or other decoration of your choice.  The addition of fresh cherries adds a degree of sophistication.

Serves 6-8.


  1. Black forest gateau or trifle.... wonderful. For me it tops tiramisu

  2. I can remember thinking the BFG was the ultimate classy dessert way back in the 70's, although, if I remember correctly, the quality of the shop-bought variety could be a little variable to say the least. It's a great combination of tastes, though, and as far as I'm concerned, the trifle should never be out of fashion. Lovely stuff. Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy new year.

  3. Ooh how lovely Jean. I know because we had one on Christmas day, made by my aunt who was down for the festivities. Thanks for entering it into WSC. Hope you've had a lovely Christmas so far and wishing you all the best for 2014.