The Cheat’s Chocolate Trifle..

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In most parts of Ireland, there’s a tradition that there’s always trifle for tea on Christmas Day.  This ‘tea’ of course can actually be served at virtually anytime on Christmas day, depending on when you had your Christmas dinner. We eat late, so I tend to just put everything, including the trifle, out on the kitchen table and let people drift in and out, as the mood takes them.

Other than that, I rarely give trifle a thought but late on Christmas night, I’m the woman standing by the light of the fridge eating the left-overs with a teaspoon. I know there’s some cook on the telly who has been known to do this kind of thing, but she learned all she knows about fridge-grazing from me!

If you’re looking for, or expecting, a old-fashioned trifle with jelly in it, then I’m afraid you’re going to be disappointed, but before you delete me from your friends list, would you just give this one a go? I’ve never met anyone who didn’t think this was amazing. Or maybe my friends and family are all ridiculously polite.. no, on second thoughts, it’s just a really good trifle!

Trust me, (ok, I know you don’t know me from Adam) but this is the best and easiest trifle ever!  If you make it, and taste it, you’ll be converted! I realise that this is post has a Christmassy feel to it, but you can pull this trifle out at any time of year, and it will be met with delight.


  • A large glass bowl, not too deep, respectable enough to bring to the table – I use clear glass, so people can see the layers. The bowl in these pictures is 24x24cms in diameter, and about10cms tall.
  • Electric beater.
  • Sieve
  • hand-held whisk
  • a saucepan which holds another bowl to melt the chocolate (or just use the microwave in 1 minute bursts like I do)


  • Packet of 4 large double chocolate chip muffins – the best quality you can get, or one half of my all-in-one Chocolate cake with out the icing
  • Jar of Morello cherry preserve, or raspberry jam if you’re stuck (no prizes for guessing which one I used 😉 )
  • 500g packet of frozen mixed Summer fruits, defrosted, then drained over a bowl.
  • Several tablespoons of Baileys liqueur – optional. This trifle doesn’t need it, it’s got masses of flavour.
  • 500g Tub of best quality ready-made custard (or make your own) I use Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Madagascan vanilla custard.
  • 100g bar of white chocolate (I use Milky Bar)
  • Whipping  cream, 250mls, whipped
  • Grated dark chocolate and fresh raspberries (optional) to decorate


  • Remove each muffin from its paper wrapper, and cut in half through its equator.
  • Put a liberal amount of the jam on the lower piece, then sandwich together again, and cut downwards into 3-4 slices.


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  • Arrange the slices of muffin around the base and walls of the serving bowl, use crumbs to patch up any holes. Don’t worry that the cake doesn’t come too far up the sides – it will be fine.

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  • If you’re using it, spoon the the Baileys evenly over the chocolate muffins in the bowl. The sponge should be only slightly damp – definitely not sodden.
  • Add the drained, defrosted fruit and using a spoon, help it up the sides of the bowl.
  • Melt the chocolate in a bowl, let it cool for a minute or two (white chocolate can be tricky) then add the custard, a little at a time, whisking it in, until it’s all combined. It can look like it’s going to seize up on you, but just keep beating and it will be grand.

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  • Pour the custard over the fruit layer. Spread it out evenly.

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  • Cover with cling film and refrigerate for as long as you can, but overnight is best.
  • When you’re ready to serve, top it with whipped cream, and sprinkle over the grated chocolate. I like to throw a handful of fresh raspberries on the top as well, but I’m going to leave the artistic bits to you..


  • This is a very forgiving trifle, and allows substitutes to be made at any stage – use frozen or fresh raspberries; use dark chocolate instead of white, use different kinds of muffins – I’ve been known to use half of my All-in-one-Chocolate cake All-in-one Chocolate cake instead of muffins, because I know it’s absolutely safe for our nut allergic daughter
  • When you’re serving this, use a long-handled spoon so that everyone gets a bit of all the goodies, right down to the bottom of the bowl.
  • At a recent family gathering, I made this in small individual glasses and it proved very popular, but I always find there’s a shortage of fridge space at Christmas, so I always make it in a bowl. Of course, a bowl of Trifle is a Christmas tradition!
  • If you wanted to make a lighter-tasting trifle, you could substitute things like passion fruit and mango for the fruit, a lemon-flavoured madeira sponge, with my delicious lemon Curd lemon curd and Limoncello as the liqueur, etc. etc. I’ll leave it up to your imagination.
  • The trifle in these pictures was going into work a while ago, so obviously there was no alcohol in it, but no one knew the difference. So this recipe is suitable for all the family.

I started writing down recipes in an old copybook when I was about 16. With 6 children at home, my Mother was always glad of a hand in the kitchen, and really allowed us to experiment - as long as we washed up afterwards, and left the kitchen immaculate! Having a tidy kitchen has followed me through my life, as has the habit of writing down my favourite recipes; except that these days I write them for my website, and add photographs when I can. The website really started when it occurred to me that my daughter might like to have these recipes when I've forgotten them. In my early days of cooking for family and friends, I used to phone my Mum all the time to ask her for the recipe for some of our favourite family dinners. She rarely had a recipe to hand - I think, like me, she made a lot of it up as she went along.. So welcome to Eating for Ireland - these are the recipes that my friends and family having been eating these past 40 years.. yes, I truly am ancient! They are tried and tested, and have worked for me for all that time - I have updated them as new ingredients became available - I really hope you'll find something that you can make into a family favourite of your own. You don't have to tell anyone where you found these great new dishes that you're serving up - it can be our little secret, but I'd really love it if you could give me a sneaky 'follow' on Facebook and Instagram.. So off you go - have a good rummage around, you're bound to find something new! My sincere thanks to all of you who have found a recipe that you liked and dropped me a line to tell me - I really do love to hear from you! Happy Cooking! Becks xx

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