When I first read the Harry Potter series, I was a bit confused. What is this “trifle” dish was that everyone’s enjoying? To be fair, trifle sounds a bit like “tripe,” which is definitely not delicious (to me!) and should not be served at celebratory meals (in my opinion!).
English trifle dates back to the 16th century and takes many different forms. Traditionally, trifle is made with layers of fruit, sweet alcohol-soaked sponge biscuit, and custard, sometimes with jam or jelly and topped with whipped cream (or a similar whipped dairy topping depending on the region of Britain). My version is an easier, alcohol-free version you can make at home with pre-made ingredients – but which seems fancier than the effort it takes.
Sold on why trifle is decidedly delicious and want to see how magically easy it is to make? Read on for my easy trifle recipe, inspired by the Wizarding world.
Trifle in the Magical World
Trifle is mentioned several times in the Harry Potter series, including the very first Welcoming Feast in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone:
A moment later the desserts appeared. Blocks of ice cream in every flavor you could think of, apple pies, treacle tarts, chocolate eclairs, and jam doughnuts, trifle, strawberries, jelly, rice pudding…SS, ch. 7
As I mentioned, I recognized most of these other desserts – though I also had to look up treacle tart. That’s part of what made the Wizarding world so magical to me; it had elements of British culture that felt foreign when I was growing up.
Back to trifle though, it makes two other appearances in the main series: at the Christmas Feast in Chamber of Secrets (when Crabbe and Goyle enjoy multiple servings of trifle before the polyjuice potion incident) and at the Christmas lunch in Order of the Phoenix at No. 12 Grimmauld Place.
Since trifle seems to be great for celebrations and special events, I knew I needed to come up with a simple recipe I could share.
How to Make Trifle: A Simple Recipe
In an attempt to make this trifle recipe as easy as possible, I recommend buying as many of the ingredients pre-made as possible. You can, of course, make your own sponge or pound cake and strawberry jam if you’re a real wizard in the kitchen. I am not, so I wanted to make something easy enough for my future self to be able to make for any feast.
Here’s the recipe I recommend, if you’re nearly a Squib in the kitchen as I am.
- 2 C Vanilla sponge cake or pound cake, diced
- 2 C Heavy Whipping Cream
- 2 C Strawberries, Diced
- 1 C Strawberry Jam
- In a large bowl whip up the heavy whipping cream until light and fluffy.
- Fill a small glass with 2 tbsp diced strawberries and 1 tbsp strawberry jam.
- Layer around 2 tbsp diced cake and 2 tbsp whipped cream.
- Continue layering the trifle alternating between the strawberry jam, heavy cream, fresh strawberries, and cake.
- End with whipped cream and a fresh berry on top.
- Take to the refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Trifle Shopping List & Recipe
If you don’t have all of these ingredients at home, here’s what you’ll need to make this trifle recipe:
- Pound Cake or Sponge Cake: You can purchase this at your local store, bakery, or online. Here’s one option for sponge cake, and another for pound cake.
- Heavy Whipping Cream: You’ll need to whip this yourself in my trifle recipe, so grab a quart at your local grocery or online.
- Fresh Strawberries: You can definitely order strawberries online too for delivery by Whole Foods. If you’re like me, you might be picky and want to choose them yourself in your local grocery store or farmers market.
- Strawberry Jam: This isn’t your standard use of strawberry jam, so splurge on extra nice jam rather than a store brand. Opt for this English strawberry jam, or this keto-friendly strawberry jam if you’re trying to keep the sugar down despite enjoying dessert.
Step-by-Step Easy Trifle Recipe
Now that you have your ingredients, it’s time to make the dessert. First, you need to whip up your heavy whipping cream; you can do this by hand or with a food mixer if you have one.
Next start layering your ingredients into your serving dish. I made mine in individual glasses for each person, but you could use a larger dish and allow people to serve themselves from it.
First, put a layer of strawberries and jam on the bottom. Next, add a layer of cubed pound/sponge cake. Finally, add a layer of whipped cream.
Continue layering in this order until your serving dish is full. To finish your trifle, top with a layer of whipped cream and fresh berries. Use one berry in each glass, or a few on a shared dish; you could get fancy and fan your strawberries or turn them into roses if it’s a special occasion!
Then there’s one last step: chill (and Netflix, even though the HP films aren’t available on the streaming service…). Take your trifle and chill it at least 30 minutes before serving. Once properly chilled, enjoy!
And there you have it – an easy trifle recipe that proves this easy trifle recipe is the opposite! Have any questions about this trifle recipe? Let men know in the comments!