Cherry trifle

Cherry trifle

Trifle’s not just for Christmas – James Martin’s cherry-topped version is perfect for a summer gathering.


  • 100g/3½oz caster sugar
  • 1.5kg/3lb 5oz cherries, stoned
  • 100ml/3½fl oz cherry brandy
  • 2 litres/3½ pints double cream, whipped
  • 600ml/20fl oz fresh vanilla custard, cooled
  • 2 Madeira cakes, sliced
  • 50g/1¾oz white chocolate, grated
To decorate
  • 100g/3½oz caster sugar
  • 12-20 cherries on stalks, to decorate

Preparation method

  1. Make a sugar syrup by heating the caster sugar with 100ml/3½fl oz water until the sugar has completely dissolved. Set aside to cool slightly.

  2. Put the cherries in a large pan with 50ml/2fl oz of the sugar syrup and half the cherry brandy. Cook for 5-10 minutes, then set aside to cool.

  3. Whisk together half the cream and all the custard.

  4. Soak the cake slices in the remaining brandy and 50ml/2fl oz sugar syrup.

  5. In a large serving bowl, create the layers. First add the cherries, then the soaked cake and top with the cream and custard mixture.

  6. Put the remaining whipped cream in a piping bag and pipe swirls onto the top of the trifle. Cover with the grated chocolate.

  7. To decorate, melt the sugar into a non-stick pan set over a medium heat. Keep heating until a dark-brown caramel forms (CAUTION: Do not leave unattended), then immediately dunk the pan in cold water to prevent the caramel burning.

  8. Carefully dip the cherries into the caramel and place on a silicone mat or non-stick baking parchment to cool completely. When cool decorate the trifle with them.

Top recipe tip

If you don’t have a piping bag you can use a clean plastic food bag instead. Simply spoon the cream into a corner, twist the open end to seal and snip off the tip.

James Martin recipes from James Martin’s Food Map of Britain

Less than 30 mins preparation time

10 to 30 mins cooking time

Serves 12-14

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