Black Forest trifle

Black Forest trifle

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(37 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

    Chocolate ganache


    Chocolate ganache is a combination of chocolate and double cream. It's simple to…

  • 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)

    Chocolate ganache


    Chocolate ganache is a combination of chocolate and double cream. It's simple to…


  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, questions and tips

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17th Apr, 2020
Easy and delicious
16th Mar, 2020
Amazing - an easy recipe that is both delicious and looks elegant enough for a dinner party. I made it with shop bought muffins and added some extra cherries so it was remarkably light - a bit like a tiramisu in some ways. It is very rich as you might expect with all that cream and custard, but worth the extra trips to the gym!
Shelagh Garside's picture
Shelagh Garside
25th Dec, 2019
I made a batch of 'Best Ever Brownies' for the base. As these are so thick. I cut the squares horizontally and put them in the bowl squidgy side up. My kids had asked for jelly in their trifle, so I added the cherries, then poured the diluted jelly mixture over the top. Everything floated!! It did all set though, and wasn't obvious once dished up. The rest of the trifle went to plan :) I really like the cream topping; the creme fraiche really gives a little zing to it. We all loved this.
3rd Jun, 2018
Very easy, but didn't look it! Perfect pud for volume catering. Having read the comments (thanks everyone - so helpful!), I replaced the choc brownie with choc muffin as I wanted a lighter trifle. Choc custard was delicious. Nearly made an error with the cherries as I couldn't find the version in the recipe so picked up a couple of cans of tinned cherries, pinched one when I opened the tin - heck a stone! Bit daft, but hadn't been expecting that so quickly stoned them - didn't take long. Another time I might must use frozen stoned cherries which I usually have in the house anyway. Made up for the lack of kirsch by putting in some cherry brandy from the drinks cab. Topping was great, and the whole thing looked rather lovely with lots of grated choc on the top. Would definitely do again.
16th Mar, 2018
I end up making this nearly every Christmas time. I make a boozy Kirsch one for the grown-ups and a tinned cherry one for the kids. I also make my own egg custard and add dark chocolate to it. And for an A* pudding my husband makes the brownies, and yes chop them small. Its always a winner.
21st Dec, 2017
This is an easy, delicious dessert. Like a few people have suggested I used muffins on the bottom instead of brownies as I think brownies will be too dense to soak up any of the liquid. I could only get tinned cherries in light syrup which were lovely but think I will add a splash of cassis or raspberry liquor next time to just lift it.
26th Dec, 2015
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.
25th Dec, 2015
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
17th Dec, 2014
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
23rd Dec, 2014
Hi there can you use Amerena Cherries for this recipe? Cant wait to make it but wanna make sure these are ok?


22nd Dec, 2013
How far in advance can I make this? Many thanks
goodfoodteam's picture
22nd Dec, 2014
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
20th Dec, 2014
Hi there, was wondering if you got any response as to if you can make this in advance,,,,
9th Jan, 2018
Super easy and looks impressive. Better on day two as brownies had time to soak juices up. Added an extra layer or two of fruit too, to make it healthy.
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