Christmas pudding trifle

Christmas trifles are always an indulgent affair but this one is a little extra. Using Christmas pudding and madeira cake for the base and swapping jelly for tropical fruit makes it rich and sumptuous. Make sure you use a good, thick custard and leave time to allow it to set in the fridge.

Christmas pudding trifle


Makes 1 large trifle
Prep time
less than 30 mins
Cooking time
no cooking required


  • 250g/9oz Madeira cake, cut into chunks
  • 250g/9oz Christmas pudding, cut into chunks
  • 100–150ml/3½–5½fl oz ginger wine (or sherry if you prefer)
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and sliced
  • ½ small pineapple (or 1 x 220g tin pineapple), diced
  • 500ml/18fl oz custard
  • 300ml/½ pint double cream
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • 50g/1¾oz flaked almonds, lightly toasted
  • 1 orange, pared zest only
  • 10 good-quality marshmallows, to decorate (optional)


  1. Arrange the Madeira cake and Christmas pudding in a layer in the base of a trifle bowl. Pour over around half of the ginger wine (add as much of the wine as you think necessary – you don’t want it so soggy the cake is swimming in it).

  2. Arrange the mango slices over the top, then add the pineapple. Pour over the custard, making sure it is evenly smoothed over. If you have time, leave it to chill in the fridge for a couple of hours. This will allow the flavours to meld together and the custard to set.

  3. Put the double cream and vanilla in a bowl and sift the icing sugar on top. Whisk until soft and billowy, then pour over the custard.

  4. Decorate with toasted flaked almonds and long pieces of pared orange zest. If using the marshmallows, pile on top and toast lightly using a chef’s blow torch.

  5. Recipe tip:

    To make the trifle extra indulgent, you can fry the Christmas pudding first. Cut it into chunks, melt around 75g/2½oz butter in a frying pan with 25g/1oz brown sugar, then fry the pudding until it is crisp, brown, and caramelising on all sides.

  6. Optional:

    Glass Trifle Bowl available from Amazon