Ultimate Birthday Trifle

Prep Time:
30 minutes
Cooking Time:
1 hour
It was trifle week last night on The Great British Bake Off, and here is my take on a classic trifle – it’s the ultimate celebratory trifle for 2017. I designed this especially for Del Monte to celebrate their 125th anniversary and it’s a take on one of our celebration cakes in trifle form, a truly special dessert for any occasion.



  • 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 / desiccated coconut / 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 & edible flowers for decoration

NB: Ingredients and method for making your own Madeira cake and custard are below.

For the Madeira Cake:

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Cooling time: 40 minutes (approx.)

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 ½ tbsp milk


For the custard:

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes


  • 45g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 5 small egg yolks
  • 390ml double cream
  • ¼ vanilla pod or ½ tsp vanilla extract

To colour: pinch of pink food colouring, or crushed, freeze dried raspberry (optional)


  1. Soak the Madeira cake (see below for recipe) 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.
  6. Now it’s time to assemble your trifle! Gently place the first layer of soaked Madeira cake into the base of a 30cm x 30cm trifle bowl.
  7. Top the cake with a layer of Del Monte® Peach Slices making sure they are placed up to the edge of the sponge.
  8. Then add a layer of pink custard and another layer of cake.
  9. Top this with a layer of Del Monte® Fruit Cocktail making sure the fruits are placed up to the edge of the sponge
  10. Then add a layer of pink custard and another layer of cake.
  11. Repeat this pattern as many times as your bowl allows, ensuring you finish with a final layer of Madeira cake.
  12. Using a piping bag, pipe the top layer with the buttercream with extra dabs piped in a circle around the edge of the trifle.
  13. Place your decorated cherries where you have piped your dabs.
  14. Now decorate with fresh berries and edible flowers, arranged in a suitably celebratory design!


For the Madeira Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C /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 center comes out clean.


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.

This recipe has been created by London bakery owner, Lily Vanilli, to celebrate Del Monte’s 125th anniversary. For more recipe inspiration, please visit www.delmonteeurope.com.

Lily Vanilli