Black Forest trifle recipe

(279 ratings)

This deep, decadent Black Forest trifle is a perfect dessert for weekend lunches, or even as an alternative to Christmas pudding.

Black Forest trifle
Preparation Time30 mins (plus chilling time)

This Black Forest trifle looks so rich and decadent, but it's really easy to put together and always popular. 

With layers of soft whipped cream, rich chocolatey mousse and kirsch soaked sponge, it's a real crowd-pleasing pudding that the whole family will love. But it's made with shop-bought custard, which makes it so simple to make. This is a great dish for getting your kids to help out with making, too - they will love layering up the cream and mousse - and licking any mixing spoons afterwards. If you want to leave out the kirsch, you can just use the syrup for the tinned cherries for flavour instead. This big sharer dessert will serve up to 10 people. Top with curls of chocolate for a really professional-looking finish.


  • 425g can black cherries in syrup
  • 250g chocolate finger cakes or marble cake
  • 4 tbsp kirsch
  • 100g bar plain chocolate
  • 500g pot vanilla custard
  • 284ml pot double cream
  • 142ml pot single cream 
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract




  1. Drain the cherries in a sieve over a bowl and reserve the syrup. Set the cherries aside.
  2. Arrange half the finger cakes in the base of a large trifle bowl, breaking them in half as you put them in. Spoon over 6 tablespoons of kirsch. Scatter half the cherries over.
  3. Grate about 2 tablespoons of chocolate from the bar. Set aside for decoration.
  4. Melt the rest of the chocolate in a bowl, in the microwave or over a pan of simmering water. Then warm the custard through for a minute until just warmed, stirring half way through.
  5. Mix the melted chocolate into the warm custard and beat well. Chill for 10 mins or longer.
  6. Whip the double cream and single cream together with the sugar and vanilla, until just thickened. Spoon about a third of the mixture over the cherries. Add the rest of the cake, broken in halves, spoon over 2 more tablespoons of the cherry syrup and 1 tablespoon of kirsch, then add the rest of the cherries.
  7. Spoon the chocolate custard over, then add spoonfuls of cream on top. Sprinkle with grated chocolate. Chill until ready to serve

Top tip for making our Black Forest trifle

There's no need to thicken the custard for this trifle, as you might with a classic trifle, as the chocolate mousse should be a fluffier texture.

What other layers can I put in this Black Forest trifle?

To up the chocolate levels even more, you can use slices of chocolate log for the sponge layer instead of fingers or marble cake. 

Can I make this Black Forest trifle in advance?

Yes, but not too far ahead. Trifles are best made the same day you intend to eat them, so the layers stay nicely distinct. However, if you are having a dinner party, you can get away with making it the evening before and leaving it to set and chill in the fridge overnight. 

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Food & Recipes writer

Sue McMahon is a former Food and Recipes Writer at GoodTo and Cooking Editor at Woman's Weekly. Her primary passion is cakes and Sue regularly travels the world teaching cake decorating. Her biggest achievement to date was winning the Prix d’honneur at La Salon Culinaire International de Londres beating over 1,200 other entries.