A Trifle Issue

I was born in the late 70s so I am essentially an 80s child. This means that trifle was as much part of my upbringing as Karate Kid, Wham and hair scrunchies. There was a phase where every dinner party my parents hosted my mum made a trifle, and every dinner party we went to they had made a trifle. I think I was all trifled out by the time I was 13. Then the trifle vanished and in our house it was replaced by Sara Lee Double Chocolate Gateau. That cake was so good I didn’t have a chance to miss its predecessor. But trifles made a comeback, or at least in my life they did. You see N and his brother T are still obsessed with trifle, I guess they never did quite grow out of the 80s! The problem is now they have taken the form of shop-bought trifles and these trifles never seem to be quite right. Either the balance of ingredients is wrong or there’s a key element missing – those little individual trifle pots often have the sponge missed out. Hello! That’s not a trifle!

So last Boxing Day I decided to go into my time machine and travel back to the 80s to make my own trifle, from scratch. Or perhaps assemble is a better description as some of the ingredients were shop-bought. There’s no way I’m making my own whipped cream and putting it in an aerosol can! I took inspiration from Lorraine Pascal’s Big Fat Tipsy Trifle but I didn’t want any modern twists in it. I’m a purist at heart; I just wanted a traditional English Trifle.

So here it is, My Big Fat 1980s Trifle. To me making it felt more like creating a work of art than making a desert. Thanks goes to T for helping scrape the jelly bowl and for guiding me on the correct order of the trifle layers. He really is a trifle connoisseur.

The Big Fat 1980s Trifle

(serves 8 | time to make – depends how quick you are but trust me it’s worth the effort)


1 Madeira sponge loaf cake or similar – sliced

Small bottle of apple juice

1 large punnet of fresh strawberries – sliced (reserve 6-8 strawberries for decoration)

1 slab of strawberry jelly – made in advance according to packet instructions

Aerosol can of whipped cream

1 carton of custard

·         Line the base of a clear flat bottomed trifle bowl with half the slices of cake

·         Drizzle the sponge with apple juice making sure it is soaked through but there is no excess liquid in the bowl

·         Arrange the slices of strawberries against the side of the bowl so there are neatly visible from the outside (see photo)

·         Flake the jelly and evenly distribute it over the cake

·         Spray over an even layer of cream

·         Add another layer of cake slices and drizzle with apple juice

·         Arrange another layer of strawberry slices against the bowl

·         Pour over a layer of custard – remember some of it will sink down so be quite generous

·         Top with a generous layer of whipped cream

·         Decorate with the reserved whole strawberries

One Comment Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm trifle! Yep good old days come to mind! I remember packet mix trifles which when we were younger just seemed like they took forever ( waiting for jelly to set has got to b the worst thing as a child!!!) haven't made one in ages
    My dad has taken to those shop bought variations n hubby has an aversion to custard – something to do with force feeding as a child?! Maybe it was in the form of trifles!!!
    I watched Lorraine pascal n thought I can do that… Now I c urs n think I need to do that … Even if in a small portion just for myself … Or mayb it should b the basis of a dinner party?!
    Sk MK


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