Black Forest trifle

Black Forest trifle

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(24 ratings)

Prep: 25 mins Cook: 5 mins Plus cooling and chilling


Serves 8

James Martin's indulgent trifle won't keep you in the kitchen for long but will impress guests at your next get-together

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal723
  • fat52g
  • saturates31g
  • carbs62g
  • sugars55g
  • fibre2g
  • protein7g
  • salt0.34g
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  • 500ml tub ready-made chilled custard – look for one with real vanilla seeds
  • 100g plain chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 400g chocolate brownies
  • 2 x 390g jars cherries in kirsch or similar



    One of the delights of the summer, cherries are much loved for their succulent texture, flavour…

  • 300g tub double cream
  • 200ml tub crème fraîche
  • 25g icing sugar
  • grated chocolate, to decorate, and fresh cherries (optional)


  1. Put the custard into a pan with the chocolate pieces. Gently heat, stirring, until the chocolate has melted into the custard. Cover with cling film and cool.

  2. Arrange the brownies in the base of a trifle bowl. Drain the jars of cherries, reserving the liquid, and scatter over the brownies. Drizzle over 100ml reserved liquid. Spoon the cooled chocolate custard over and chill while you make the topping.

  3. Lightly whip the cream with the crème fraîche and icing sugar until soft peaks form. Chill until ready to serve, then pile on top of the trifle and decorate with grated chocolate and fresh cherries, if you like.

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Comments (45)

cvlewis1's picture

This is indulgent but very tasty and very easy to prepare. We used some very dense brownies - it would have been better if we'd chopped them into pieces about half an inch square as they didn't soak so well as they were - but still delicious. We've made this three years in a row now at christmas time and it's always been a big hit.

Maggieandlisa's picture

Followed recipe to the letter, chilled bottom of trifle, chilled topping. Unfortunately when I came to serve it it all separated. Very frustrated particular as I had done it for Christmas Day. Won't use it again. Grrh!

Raisin and Dates's picture

What am i doing wrong, is there a reply to any query/question on this site, I have read through a good amount of questions, included my own but there doesn't appear to be a response to any? Where or how do you get them if there are any??

Raisin and Dates's picture

Hi there can you use Amerena Cherries for this recipe? Cant wait to make it but wanna make sure these are ok?

nataliefiorenza's picture

Very late answer from someone but you could use any cherries in syrup for this!

Charlie24.93's picture

So yummy and indulgent! Mixed some blackcurrant jelly cubes with cherry liquor (heated) so the bottom layer set.

koolk_2009's picture

Had to use tinned cherries, but turned out well as children and non-drinkers were having it. It was very rich, but delicious. I might try chocolate cake next time as the brownies didn't seem to absorb the liquid.

sofababe's picture

I made this using muffins broken up rather than brownies, and I used a tub of frozen cherries (defrosted of course) with cherry juice drink as not everyone likes booze in puddings. It works so well and is a really easy but effective dessert. I took it to a friend's BBQ and it went down a storm. I don't like traditional trifle at all but I had more than one helping of this one, and so did a lot of other people.

Woody's picture

It's so easy to make, looks great & tastes even better! I've used muffins instead of brownies & they really work well! I've made it a couple of times & each time it's gone down really well. It's just delectable!

stirlingtheduck's picture

Use chocolate swiss roll (bought) for a lighter/cheaper option.. it works... and if you dont want to buy cherries in booze try one of non alcoholic coffee flavours ie vanilla or hazlenut... very nice, especially if kids are eating it.

heatherwillson's picture

This is so simple to make and looked great. I had trouble getting the cherries in Kirsch so I ended up using tinned pie filling and adding a liqueur to some of the juice. The juice is quite thick and I don't think I added enough liqueur so if I make it again ill revise the liquid part of this so the brownies are a bit more moist.

kaikins's picture

My husband is not a big fan of desserts but described this one as epic! I couldn't get cherries in kirsch or kirsch so used tinned cherries in a light syrup and a lot of cherry brandy to ensure the brownies were moist. Really gorgeous recipe that I will definitely do again.

caroline51279's picture

Hi, does anyone one know which bbcgoodfood cookbook this recipe is in?

alison100's picture

Hi, I know it's an old question, but it's in Make Ahead Meals.

siobainmoore's picture

Very easy dessert to make! Was delicious but a bit sickly! I would make again for a crowd though as it was very easy and impressive once put together.

championcat's picture

I plan to make a version of this for Christmas, but mine's not going to be an expensive version. A while ago I made a chocolate cake that didn't rise as much as it should have (I make celebration cakes for a living - cakes not rising NEVER happens to me!!) so I froze it. I plan to use this cake, a couple of bags of frozen cherries from Sainsburys, I have cherry liquer in the cupboard so I'll soak them beforehand. May spread the cake with jam to add sweetness, as I would when making a regular trifle. Contemplating a layer of choc mousse before the choc custard layer as I think the custard will be a bit heavy (or possible skipping the choc custard altogether). A ltitle cream on top, some grated choc, a couple of cherries and voila!

frankthetank's picture

This is definitely an expensive and rich dessert.
I made this for dessert when my partners colleagues came round for dinner and it went down a treat to say the least!
I had some trouble locating the cherries in Kirsch but eventually found them in Waitrose for £6.99 a jar, needed two of course.
I will definitely make this again. it was delectable!

woody4's picture

Help ! fresh custard mixed with the melted chocolate a disaster! would not set. Very expensive disaster :-\


Questions (3)

Lou_BT's picture

How far in advance can I make this? Many thanks

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi Lou_BT and Raisin and Dates, thank you both for your question. The chocolate custard can be made the day before and kept covered in the fridge until you want to serve but for best results finish the assembly of the whole dish, particularly the cream layer and grated chocolate just before serving. 

Raisin and Dates's picture

Hi there, was wondering if you got any response as to if you can make this in advance,,,,

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