Show-stopping trifle

Bring a touch of colour to your dinner table this autumn with this show-stopping trifle by Lilly Vanilli.

Show Stopping Trifle

Serves 10-15


  • 1 x 415g can Del Monte Fruit Cocktail in Juice (well drained)
  • 1 x 415g can Del Monte  Peach Slices in Juice (well drained)
  • Elderflower liqueur
  • Handful of fresh cherries (stalks on)
  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped
  • Edible gold dust or desiccated coconut or hundreds and thousands
  • Pink food colouring or 2tsp crushed, freeze dried raspberries (optional)
  • Madeira Cake (shop bought 2-3 loaves or homemade)
  • Custard (shop bought 1 x 400g can or homemade)
  • 50g unsalted butter softened
  • 150g icing sugar sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 35ml double cream
  • Berries and edible flowers for decoration

For the Madeira cake

  • 4 x 6” round cake tins (or you can bake 2 batches if you only have 2), greased and lined.
  • 270g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 270g caster sugar
  • 5 small eggs
  • 375g self-raising flour sifted
  • 4 and a half tbsp milk

For the custard

  • 45g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 5 small egg yolks
  • 390ml double cream
  • Quarter vanilla pod or half tsp vanilla extract
  • To colour: pinch of pink food colouring, or crushed, freeze-dried raspberry (optional)


For the cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C /gas mark 6.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, and beat until just incorporated.
  4. Fold in the flour, then add the milk slowly – you need just enough to ensure that the mixture falls slowly from the spoon.
  5. Divide the mixture between the prepared cake tins and level out to the edges.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a sharp knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  7. Leave aside to cool.

For the custard

  1. In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornflour and egg yolks by hand until white and fluffy.

Note: This works best if you whisk for 3 minutes, leave it to stand for a few minutes, then whisk again for 3 minutes.

  1. Heat the cream with the vanilla in a heavy-bottomed pan, until it reaches a simmer. Pour the heated cream over the egg yolks, and whisk thoroughly until combined.
  2. Add pink colouring or freeze-dried raspberries.
  3. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water to make a double boiler and whilst on a medium heat, stir continuously with a spatula, until thick and creamy – approximately 7–8 minutes.
  4. Leave to cool completely.

For the trifle

  1. Soak the Madeira cake (once totally cooled) by pricking the surface with a fork and gently drizzling with liqueur.
  2. Prepare cherries for decoration by melting the chocolate in a bain-marie (gently melt 2/3 of the chocolate in a metal or glass bowl, set over an inch of simmering water in a saucepan. When almost completely melted, remove from the heat and add the remaining chocolate, stirring until completely melted.) Remove from heat and gently dip your cherries in the chocolate to coat completely.
  3. Once set, brush the cherries with your edible gold dust until they shine. If using coconut or hundreds & thousands instead of gold dust, dip into your chosen decoration whilst the chocolate is still wet.
  4. Add colouring or freeze-dried raspberries to shop bought or homemade custard (see below for recipe).
  5. Make your buttercream by beating together butter, sugar, vanilla, food colouring/freeze-dried raspberries and cream.

Assembling the trifle

  1. Gently place the first layer of soaked Madeira cake into the base of a 30cm x 30cm trifle bowl.
  2. Top the cake with a layer of Del Monte Peach Slices making sure they are placed up to the edge of the sponge.
  3. Then add a layer of pink custard and another layer of cake.
  4. Top this with a layer of Del Monte Fruit Cocktail making sure the fruits are placed up to the edge of the sponge.
  5. Then add a layer of pink custard and another layer of cake.
  6. Repeat this pattern as many times as your bowl allows, ensuring you finish with a final layer of Madeira cake.
  7. Using a piping bag, pipe the top layer with the buttercream with extra dabs piped in a circle around the edge of the trifle.
  8. Place your decorated cherries where you have piped your dabs.
  9. Now decorate with fresh berries and edible flowers, arranged in a suitably celebratory design.

Recipe created by Lily Vanilli for Del Monte fruits

Last modified: December 16, 2020

Written by 9:30 am Recipes