Follow by Email

Search This Blog

Monday, February 21, 2011

Trifle/Punch Bowl Cake

Trifle is a dessert dish made from thick (or often solidified) custard, fruit, sponge cake, fruit juice or gelatin, and whipped cream. These ingredients are usually arranged in layers with fruit and sponge on the bottom, and custard and cream on top.

The earliest known use of the name trifle was for a thick cream flavored with sugar, ginger and rosewater, the recipe for which was published in England, 1596, in a book called "The good houswife's Jewell" by Thomas Dawson. It wasn't until sixty years later when milk was added and the custard was poured over alcohol soaked bread.
Research indicates it evolved from a similar dessert known as a fool or foole, and originally the two names were used interchangeably.

While some people consider the inclusion of gelatin to be a recent variation, the earliest known recipe to include jelly dates from 1747, and the poet Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote of trifles containing jelly in 1861.

Some trifles contain a small amount of alcohol such as port, or, most commonly, sweet sherry or Madeira wine. Non-alcoholic versions may use sweet juices or soft drinks such as ginger ale instead, as the liquid is necessary to moisten the cake layers.

One popular trifle variant has the sponge soaked in jelly (liquid-gelatin dessert) when the trifle is made, which sets when refrigerated. The egg and jelly bind together and produce a pleasant texture if made in the correct proportions.

Traditional trifles do not contain jelly. The Scots have a similar dish to trifle, Tipsy Laird, made with Drambuie or whiskey. In the Southern US, a variant of trifle is known as tipsy cake.

A trifle is often used for decoration as well as taste, incorporating the bright, layered colors of the fruit, jelly, egg custard, and the contrast of the cream.

Trifles are often served at Christmas time, sometimes as a lighter alternative to the much denser Christmas pudding.

In Italy, a dessert similar to trifle is known as zuppa inglese, meaning English Soup. Cadbury also produce a chocolate flavored trifle. Although this contains no fruit, the layering of sponge, (chocolate) custard and cream would indicate a trifle style dessert.

This recipe yields 12 servings.


• 2 boxes of Raspberry Jello

• 2 boxes of Strawberry Jello

• 4 cups of water to make Jello

• 4 cups of ice cubes to make Jello

• 1 bag of frozen strawberries

• 1 bag of frozen raspberries (I did not have raspberries so I used one big bag of Frozen strawberries, but it would be good to use both)

• 1 box of yellow or chocolate cake mix (I used Devil's food Chocolate cake mix this time)

• 1 and 1/3 cup of water for cake

• 3 eggs for cake

• 1/3 cup of oil for cake

• 1/4 cup of Kahlua

• 2 boxes of vanilla or chocolate pudding (I used vanilla this time)

• 4 cups of milk to make pudding

• 3-4 (8 oz) tubs of cool whip

• Chocolate shavings from your favorite one milk or dark chocolate bar.


• Dissolve all four boxes of Jello in 4 cups of boiling water.

• Add ice cubes, mix until melted.

• Add frozen sliced strawberries (save some whole strawberries for garnish) and whole frozen raspberries.

• Mix well.

• Let the jello set for 1-2 hours in fridge.

• Bake the cake in to two 8" round pans according to instructions on box.

• Once baked, let it cool.

• Make the pudding according to instructions on the box, set aside.

• Once the cake is completely cool, slice it in to 4 round parts.

• Take the jello out of fridge, mix it well so fruit and jello is evenly incorporated.

• In a punch bowl layer all the ingredients as follows:

• First place the cake in the bottom, drizzle it with few teaspoons of Kahlua.

• Spread the jello on top of cake.

• Spread the pudding on top of jello, followed by thick layer of cool whip.

• Repeat the process with all four slices of cake.

• Make the last topping of cool whip and sprinkle chocolate shaving on top and decorate with remaining whole strawberries and raspberries.

• Chill for 4-6 hours or overnight and serve chilled.


• I used chocolate cake and vanilla pudding, you can use chocolate cake and chocolate pudding or yellow cake and vanilla pudding.

• If using yellow cake, you may want use some other liqueur instead of Kahlua or you may want to omit the liqueur.

• I did not have raspberries in my freezer therefore I only used strawberries, but use both if available, you can use blackberries as well.

• If want to keep the calorie count low, you can use angel food cake and use low fat pudding and cool whip.

• I used 9" spring form baking pan, and sliced the cake in to four rounds, but if you have 8" round pan, it would be easier to slice them in to four rounds.

Trifle description source:

Recipe adapted and modified by Surekha from various recipes by family and friends.

Photographs by Surekha.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...