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6 Ways to Decorate a Trifle

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by Rayna (subscribe)
Law graduate with a passion for travel, photography and writing. Browse through some of my photography on:
Published December 13th 2012
Itís all about the top layer
Trifles are one of those desserts that can be enjoyed throughout the year, whether it's a summer trifle or a Christmas trifle. Traditionally a trifle will take the following formation; a layer of jelly with sponge and fruit, then a layer of custard and a top layer of whipped cream. More than often there will be some type of finale on top, maybe some fruit or chocolate. Personally I believe no 2 trifles will ever look the same. If you are stuck for ideas on how to decorate your trifle then here is some inspiration for you.

Classic Bird's Strawberry Trifle
An example of a classic trifle, made using the Bird's trifle mix

1) The Classic Look

This trifle embraces the classic look and was made using the Bird's strawberry trifle box. The box has everything you need to make a trifle including mixtures for jelly, custard and a cream topping, sponge fingers and chocolate sprinkles. The only alteration made to the recipe was the fresh strawberries added to the jelly base.

Fruit Trifle With Orange and Pomegranate
Orange, pineapple and pomegranate seeds

2) The Fruit ComboNowadays we can get so many different flavoured jellies and custards, so why not use fruits that match their colour or flavour. A product brand to look out for is Rafhan, it is available from most Asian stores as it is a very popular brand. In fact my trifle decorating obsession started during a trip to Pakistan, trifle isn't just a dessert out there it's a form of 'food art'. Take a look at this Rafhan Facebook page to help put things in to context (they even have a whole album full of recipes).

For this trifle pomegranate seeds and pineapple chunks were used, there is no cream on this trifle. The pineapple chunks were quickly dipped in to the red jelly liquid before it set, this gave them a pink glaze to match the pink strawberry custard.

Pomegranate and Pineapple Fruit Trifle
Decorated with pomegranate seeds and pineapple

3) Berries and Chocolate

The perfect combination; take away the guilt of eating chocolate by adding some fruit to it. On this trifle strawberry halves have been arranged with chocolate buttons. Cherries, blackberries and raspberries also work very well with chocolate. You could even experiment by making a trifle version of a black forest cake with dark chocolate (this is going to be my next endeavour).

Chocolate and Strawberry Trifle
Decorated with strawberries and chocolate buttons

Individual Trifle Desserts
Individual trifle desserts
4) Individual Portions

For this style a mould is required, dessert cups or disposable cups can do the trick. Handy tip; when pouring in the jelly and custard make sure it is not piping hot as it may crack the glass or melt the plastic cups. This option is great if you want to personalise your trifles for each individual. You may also have friends/family who are allergic to certain fruits or nuts, separate portions mean no one misses out on dessert. To help you differentiate the desserts add a small label or elastic band to the cups. These desserts were made in disposable wine glasses and they have 2 layers of jelly instead of one and also a layer of crushed biscuit. They have been finished off with wafer biscuit cigarellos* and a bit of melted chocolate.

Cream Free Trifle Dessert
Decorated without cream or fruit
5) 'I do not like fruit or fresh cream!'

There is always going to be someone who is not a fan of fruit or fresh cream (fair enough), keep it simple with a 2 layer trifle. Only add sponge fingers to the base and exclude the fruit. Then add some coloured sugar sprinkles to the custard, do this once it has cooled otherwise they will melt.

A lot of products used for cake decorating can be used for trifles. Have a look at this Silver Spoon range for further inspiration. You will find Silver Spoon or a similar brand in the home baking section of a supermarket.

6) The Reverse Trifle

This is a quirky little idea I picked up in Pakistan, perfect for the experimental chefs amongst us. The idea is to make the custard in the main serving dish and jelly in a separate mould. Ice cube trays work really well for the jelly or you can use a bigger mould then cut it up when it has set. These can then be carefully positioned on to the set custard, fresh cream is optional.

The presentation in this picture is a little clumsy but this actual technique has great potential. I promise I have seen prettier versions of this method.

Trifle With Jelly on Top
Jelly and grapes on custard

Good luck and have fun decorating your trifles!

*also known as cigarillos and are available in chocolate varieties
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Why? Great dessert decorating ideas
When: All year round
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Your Comment
The chocolate and berries one looks really good. I like to just add chocolate.
by Ms. Samantha (score: 2|362) 2526 days ago
It's got to be the berries and chocolate, looks delicious.
by Susan Jackson (score: 2|763) 2531 days ago
Where do you get Birds Custard in Melbourne?
by 37big (score: 0|7) 2529 days ago
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