Archive of BBC Food Recipes

Cherry trifle

Prep time less than 30 mins
Cook time less than 30 mins
Serves 12-14
Dietary Vegetarian
From James Martin's Food Map of Britain
Trifle's not just for Christmas - James Martin's cherry-topped version is perfect for a summer gathering.


  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.


  • 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

Shopping List

Cherry trifle

Fruit and vegetables

Cooking ingredients

Biscuits, snacks and sweets

Dairy, eggs and chilled


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