Untraditional Christmas Trifle Recipe

Untraditional Christmas Trifle Recipe
My Grandma Niederhauser often made a dessert that she called Trifle. It wasn’t really traditional English trifle, since it had no sherry, and she used regular yellow cake squares as well as squares of Jell-O. It was a good pudding, however, and I loved it when I was lucky enough to eat it at her house. The following Untraditional Christmas Trifle is similar to what I remember eating at her house, and since this has red and green squares of Jell-O, it’s a festive dessert to serve throughout the holiday season.
You can use any kind of cake you like – pound cake, yellow cake, sponge cake, even fruit cake--just whatever you happen to have. I soak the cake in a little cranberry or raspberry flavored coffee syrup (or liqueur if you like) to moisten it, and instead of fresh berries, I like to add whole cranberry sauce. I also like to add a few pomegranate arils if I have them. Even though this isn’t really much like real English Trifle, it’s good, and perfect for a tree-trimming party or a make-ahead dessert for a family get-together. It’s also easy and can be put together a day ahead.

16 Servings

1 3 oz. package lime gelatin, made according to directions and chilled in a 1 quart square dish
1 3 oz. package cranberry gelatin, (or other red gelatin) made according to directions and chilled in a 1 quart square dish

4 cups milk
2 3 oz. packages vanilla instant pudding mix

4 cups 1" cake cubes
1/2 cup red coffee syrup, cranberry, raspberry, etc. or red liqueur

1 15 oz. can whole berry cranberry sauce, or 2 cups homemade cranberry sauce

1/2 cup pomegranate arils, (optional)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar

  1. Cut the gelatin into 1/2" squares; set aside.
  2. Prepare the instant pudding with the milk and pour 1/2 cup in the bottom of a trifle bowl.
  3. Toss the cake squares with the coffee syrup; place about 1/3 of the squares over the pudding in the trifle bowl.
  4. Scatter 1/3 of the gelatin squares over the cake, spoon 1/3 of the cranberry sauce over, then sprinkle with a few pomegranate arils if using.
  5. Top with 1/3 of the pudding.
  6. Repeat twice, ending with pudding on top.
  7. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the pudding and refrigerate at least four hours or up to two days.
  8. Whip the cream with the powdered sugar until stiff peaks form; pipe the cream decoratively over the top.
  9. Garnish with fruit or gelatin pieces.

Amount Per Serving
Calories 352 Calories from Fat 114
Percent Total Calories From:
Fat 32% Protein 6% Carb. 62%

Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 13 g
Saturated Fat 6 g
Cholesterol 67 mg
Sodium 275 mg
Total Carbohydrate 55 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 13 g
Protein 5 g

Vitamin A 7% Vitamin C 2% Calcium 0% Iron 6%

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